ADVANCEGeo Workshop - Strategies for Improving Workplace Environment in the Geosciences
Convener: Taru Sandén | Co-conveners: Jörg Schnecker, Alix Vidal, Cordula Vogel
Mon, 08 Apr, 14:00–15:45
Room -2.31

Sexual and racial harassment and other hostile behaviors, including bullying and other forms of discrimination and incivilities, have wide-ranging detrimental effects on mental and physical wellbeing, including anxiety, depression, and physiological responses akin to trauma and can result in decreased motivation and work productivity. The tolerance of hostile behaviors can affect the community beyond the individual or individuals being targeted, and create negative work environments in entire research groups and departments. Traditional hierarchical structures within academia that create strong power imbalances allow for the potential for abuse in research and educational environments. Despite this, scientists often do not receive mentoring or training in how to address, respond to, and prevent these types of behaviors. Questions including “What behaviors are appropriate at work?”, “How do we create a work environment where people of different age, gender and sexual identity, culture, religion, ethnic origin and social class feel respected and included?” and “What can I do personally against bullying and sexual harassment at work?” are important topics that are not discussed enough in academia. Promoting conversations about these topics and identifying ways to prevent unwanted behavior are important steps towards building respectful and productive work environments.
This interactive short course explores academic practices and institutional structures that allow for harassment and other hostile behaviors to persist, discusses initiatives to address harassment as scientific misconduct, and provides training in personal intervention strategies to protect and support targets of harassment through real world scenarios. As a result of this session, participants will be able to identify:
(1) Different ways in which harassment can manifest in research environments;
(2) Strategies for bystander intervention, and
(3) Resources for cultural change in the office, laboratory, at conferences and in field settings.
This workshop was developed by ADVANCEGeo ( with a U.S. National Science Foundation ADVANCE Partnership award in collaboration with the Earth Science Women's Network, the Association for Women Geoscientists and the American Geophysical Union. We welcome participants from a diverse background of Geosciences, career stages and countries in order to enable sharing of experiences and facilitate opportunities for cooperation among participating scientists.

Presenters: Erika Marín-Spiotta, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe

Details to presenters:
Erika Marin-Spiotta
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lead PI of ADVANCEGeo Partnership
Leadership Board Member Earth Science Women's Network

Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Associate Professor
University of California-Merced
Co-PI of ADVANCEGeo Partnership
Leadership Board Member Earth Science Women's Network