1. Frazier Benya
  2. Senior Program Officer
  3. Sexual Harassment in the Scientific and Technical Workforce And its Effects on the Careers of Scientists, Engineers, and Medical Professionals
  4. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/shstudy/index.htm
  5. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and...
  1. Arielle Baker
  2. Associate Program Officer
  3. Sexual Harassment in the Scientific and Technical Workforce And its Effects on the Careers of Scientists, Engineers, and Medical Professionals
  4. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/shstudy/index.htm
  5. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and...
  1. Irene Ngun
  2. Associate Program Officer
  3. Sexual Harassment in the Scientific and Technical Workforce And its Effects on the Careers of Scientists, Engineers, and Medical Professionals
  4. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/shstudy/index.htm
  5. National Academy of Sciences
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 05:04 p.m.

    How can academic institutions improve in the #MeToo era? This video presents the top four tips for how organizations can prevent and address sexual harassment in academic settings, and specifically in science, engineering, and medicine. Together, we can do better to discourage all forms of sexual harassment (including sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and gender harassment). What is your institution (or others) doing to fulfill the report’s recommendation to:

    1. Integrate values into the system
    2. Change the power dynamics
    3. Support the targets of sexual harassment
    4. Improve transparency and accountability

    Share your thoughts, questions, and ideas with us in the discussion thread below.

  • Icon for: Sehoya Cotner

    Sehoya Cotner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 08:20 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing. I especially like suggestions under #2, as they seem like the easiest to implement, and RIGHT NOW. I'd love to know your thoughts on how to integrate values into the system. What does that look like? What steps to we take?

  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 01:34 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions, Sehoya. The National Academies report on the Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequence in Academic, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018) recommends that university policies and procedures embody the values of inclusion, diversity, civility and respect. It found that a number of concrete steps that can be taken by institutions to help integrate these values into their systems, which  include (but are not limited to):

    1. Taking explicit steps to achieving greater gender and racial equity in hiring and promotion
    2. Improving the representation of women at every level
    3. Combining anti-harassment efforts with programs to promote civility
    4. Using training approaches that aim to change behaviors and focus on developing skills to intervene when inappropriate behavior occurs

    We recommend checking out Interventions to Preventing Sexual Harassment, a handout developed based on the findings and recommendations of the report. It provides additional specific actions institutions can take based on the four recommendations in the video.

  • Icon for: Sue Jacobs

    Sue Jacobs

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 11:19 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your work. I agree with previous comments on the importance of power dynamics and focusing on institutional values and working to understand inclusively the values that students, faculty and staff bring to institutions and science and engineering from their various culturals and personal intersected identities. Please visit and comment on our project on Native American Engineering Faculty.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Irene Ngun
  • Icon for: Isabelle Herde

    Isabelle Herde

    Researcher
    May 13, 2019 | 12:47 p.m.

    Thank you for the work you do. This is so important. I think #ScienceToo is a brilliant way to draw attention to a specific need and facet within the #MeToo movement. 

    I wonder what research and efforts are being put forth by you all concerning an intersectional approach to sexual harassment in science, engineering and medicine. 

  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 03:46 p.m.

    Great question, Isabelle! The research documented in the report shows that women who have multiple marginalities – for instance, women of color and sexual and gender minority women – experience certain kinds of harassment at greater rates than other women. This is because the cultural context in which people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds operate can have effects on how they experience sexual harassment. The research shows that sexual harassment experienced by women of color often manifests as both racial and gender discrimination, leading to overall higher rates of harassment in these populations. Interviews commissioned by the committee demonstrate the complexities of this. The respondents noted an inability to disentangle the discrimination and bias as stemming from their gender or their intersecting identities. 

    The committee noted that more data and research is needed to fully understand the experiences of women in underrepresented and/or vulnerable groups, including women of color, disabled women, immigrant women, sexual and gender minority women, postdoctoral trainees, and other. More research is needed on the experiences of these populations to ensure that the recommendations from the report do not only improve the environment for straight white women.  

    For more information see: p. 41, 44-46, 77-78, 124-126 of the report on Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequence in Academic, Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018)

  • May 13, 2019 | 01:54 p.m.

    These recommendations are great (and I echo previous comments that the diffusion of mentor-mentee relationships to be more networked seems like an actionable first step). I was wondering whether there were any incentives at the institutional level that might encourage them to implement these guidelines, and what kinds of supports might be needed (especially for smaller institutions) to help them enact organizationwide change? Alternatively, are these any ramifications you envision happening at the organizational level if an institution doesn't adhere to or implement certain aspects of the proposed guidelines?

  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:19 a.m.

    Thanks for your questions Camelia. The report notes that there is one promising incentive mechanism already in use for incentivizing departmental and institutional change toward improved gender representation. It is known as the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) program, which begun in the United Kingdom. The departments and institutions work to be awarded a bronze, silver, or gold status based on the work they have done to address gender equity issues. Currently AAAS is developing a United States version, which they are calling SEA Change and it is addressing gender and racial diversity issues.

    For assisting institutions in making this change, the National Academies has launched an Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. This is an effort to bring together leaders from academic institutions and key stakeholders to work toward targeted, collective action on addressing and preventing sexual harassment across all disciplines and among all people in higher education. This Action Collaborative creates an active space where colleges, universities, and other research and training institutions will identify, develop, implement, and research efforts that move beyond basic legal compliance to evidence-based policies and practices at the individual and systems levels for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment in higher education.

    The report did not recommend any specific ramifications for institutions, but instead presents the research that shows that if these recommendations are not implemented then institutions will continue to enable sexual harassment to thrive.

  • Icon for: Jake Foster

    Jake Foster

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 02:40 p.m.

    It is a powerful message and call for change, particularly when articulated so well by the National Academies and supported with thoughtful strategies for enactment. It would be great to see an initiative to encourage higher education to implement such strategies. Recognizing that the National Academies are advisory, I can understand why this video doesn't go beyond the call for change. The federal government does, however, have an important role in STEM research funding. Perhaps implementation of some of the National Academy recommendations or strategies, such as changing the power dynamic or increasing transparency, could be encouraged through a coordinated effort of federal STEM funding agencies. Might the various federal funding agencies be able to encourage, or even require, implementation of some of these strategies as a condition of STEM funding? (This might be the essence of Recommendation 13d in the 2018 report linked above?)

  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:25 a.m.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments! One outcome of this report has been the creation of an Action Collaborative to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. The action collaborative is designed to be an active space where colleges, universities, and research and training organizations can research and develop efforts that move beyond basic legal compliance to evidence-based policies and practices for addressing and preventing all forms of sexual harassment and promoting a campus climate of civility and respect. Please stay tuned for more developments on this front!

    In regards to the role of federal funding agencies, there certainly is opportunity for federal agencies to support and encourage these changes in higher education and some of this work is beginning in the federal agencies. There is currently proposed legislation in the House Science Committee that would create an interagency group to examine how all the federal agencies handle issues of sexual harassment among their grantees. Additionally NSF and NIH have made recent announcements about changes or work they have initiated in response to the report. Lastly, we had a great conversation with federal funding agencies (including NSF, NIH, and NASA) about this at our most recent convening on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education on November 9, 2018.

  • Icon for: Sherri Turner

    Sherri Turner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 13, 2019 | 04:59 p.m.

    It is so hard for people who have not experienced sexual harassment to understand the devastating consequences regarding not only the emotional and psychological pain experienced by the individual who was harassed, but also regarding how others (not just her harasser) then treat her. This is so much part of the glass ceiling that women and others experience. This video highlights an issue that is critical to women's health and well-being.

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Irene Ngun
  • Icon for: Breanne Litts

    Breanne Litts

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 07:16 p.m.

    This is really important work. Thank you for doing it. The video is a strong, convincing call to action. I'm curious what brought you to these 4 recommendations presented in the video. How were they identified and developed? Moreover, in your experience implementing these recommendations, what are some practical strategies institutions can use to implement them? 

  • Icon for: Arielle Baker

    Arielle Baker

    Co-Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 06:08 p.m.

    Thank you, Breanne, for bringing forward this important question. 

    The four recommendations presented in the video are from the 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study report “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine”. These recommendations, and 11 others, were identified and developed by members of the special ad hoc study committee of researchers, academic and business leaders, and others with expertise on this topic to investigate the issue and how sexual harassment could be addressed. When examining policies, strategies, and practices for preventing and addressing sexual harassment, committee members reviewed research on training, institutional policies and procedures, and institutions’ legal obligations. The committee examined the national structures for handling sexual harassment, including federal research misconduct policies and processes; cross-institution and federal agency systems for reporting, preventing, and responding to sexual harassment; and the role of professional societies and organizations in addressing these issues.

    There are a number of practical strategies that institutions can use to implement them. These include:

    • Creating diverse, inclusive, and respectful environments
    • Improving transparency and accountability
    • Diffusing the hierarchical and dependent relationship between trainees and faculty
    • Providing support for the target

    More information on practical strategies for combatting sexual harassment at the institutional level can be found here.

  • Icon for: Erin Kraal

    Erin Kraal

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 08:18 a.m.

     Thanks for sharing this important work here.  Does the report have any specific recommendations with regard to evaluation for things like hiring as well as tenure and promotion - especially where external evaluations (such as letter, student evaluations of teaching, etc) can have bias?

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Irene Ngun
  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 04:59 p.m.

    Thanks Erin. The committee recommends that institutions  prevent and address sexual harassment by updating hiring, promotion, and tenure processes so that they reflect the values of diversity, inclusion, and respect, for instance focusing evaluation and reward structures on cooperation, respect, and professionalism rather than on solely individual level performance. I recommend the material in Chapter 6 of the report, where the committee dives into faculty hiring, evaluation, and reward practices. 

  • Icon for: Mark Bellcourt

    Mark Bellcourt

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 15, 2019 | 09:12 a.m.

    Irene:  Too often, those who do not fit nicely into the "stereotypical" STEM profile are discouraged in many ways.  Sometimes I think subtle or microaggressions are the worse.  In Minnesota, we call it "Minnesota Nice."

  • Icon for: Regina Werum

    Regina Werum

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 03:35 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this toolkit -- I just shared it with administrators. :)  Wondering -- changing institutional culture is very hard. The "holy grail" if you need a metaphor.  Which of these strategies tend to be more easily implemented (with less pushback or resistance)?  Would help with the where-to-start problem. It seems to me that there is a trend towards overwhelming reliance on Title IX officials these days, and thus a law enforcement rather than a preventive and intervention-based systematic strategy. Thoughts?

     
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    Irene Ngun
  • Icon for: Irene Ngun

    Irene Ngun

    Co-Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 04:50 p.m.

    Great question, Regina! One of the most important messages of the report is that the legal system alone is not an adequate mechanism for reducing or preventing sexual harassment, and institutions need to move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate.

    The flaws with the legal system are with the interpretation of Title IX and Title VII. The committee that authored the report points out two issues:

    1) The inaccurate assumption that a target of sexual harassment will promptly report the harassment without worrying about retaliation

    2) The way it has incentivized organizations to create policies, procedures, and training on sexual harassment that focus on symbolic compliance with current law and avoiding liability, and not on preventing sexual harassment

    The committee recommends that judges, academic institutions (including faculty, staff, and leaders in academia), and administrative agencies should rely on scientific evidence about the behavior of targets and perpetrators of sexual harassment when assessing both institutional compliance with the law and the merits of individual claims. The committee also recommends that federal judges should take into account demonstrated effectiveness of anti-harassment policies and practices such as trainings, and not just their existence, for use of an affirmative defense against a sexual harassment claim under Title VII.

  • Icon for: Regina Werum

    Regina Werum

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2019 | 04:58 p.m.

    Thanks for prompt and detailed feedback.  Short of relying on Title IX procedures, what are the most effective points of intervention within an academic organization, in your view? In other words, what is best initiated at the department vs. college or institutional level?

     

  • Icon for: Arielle Baker

    Arielle Baker

    Co-Presenter
    May 17, 2019 | 08:01 a.m.

    Regina,

    Your point is well taken: the study committee of the 2018 Sexual Harassment of Women report found that legal compliance is necessary, but not sufficient, to address and prevent sexual harassment. They found a number of effective points of intervention, both at the departmental and institutional level, including (but not limited to):

    • Taking explicit steps to achieve greater gender and racial equity in hiring and promotions
    • Focusing training on changing behavior, not on changing beliefs
    • Creating mentoring networks or committee-based advising that allows food a diversity of potential pathways for advice, funding, support, and informal reporting of harassment
    • Developing ways research funding can be provided to the trainee rather than just the principal investigator
    • Providing alternative and less formal means of recording information about the experience and reporting the experience and reporting the experience
    • Making the reduction and prevention of sexual harassment an explicit goal of your leadership tenure

    More information on practical strategies for combatting sexual harassment at the institutional level can be found here.

  • May 17, 2019 | 11:44 a.m.

    Thank you for this video and for the clear strategies that can be used to make institutional change.

  • Icon for: Suzanna Rose

    Suzanna Rose

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 19, 2019 | 04:59 p.m.

     Thanks for doing this important work. I especially appreciate your recommendations concerning transparency and accountability. We recently held our 9th annual Women Faculty Leadership Institute focusing on #MeToo in Academe. The expectations for how gender and sexual harassment will be treated within the university are much higher among women now, but the procedures for the most part, are those of the "old" era. It is taking a concerted effort to make change there. However, your point about putting more emphasis on the professionalism of the faculty is useful. Change cannot all take place via Title IX complaints. In our ADVANCE IT grant, we are working here at Florida International University to get faculty to take more individual responsibility to notice and intervene (or report to a higher authority) in cases of gender and race bias. Thank you for laying out such a clear road map for us.

  • May 20, 2019 | 08:30 a.m.

    I am impressed by the thorough study and clear recommendations that are summarized in this video. It is also valuable to learn about the Action Collaborative and SEA Change initiatives. Thank you for helping academic institutions address this serious problem.

  • May 20, 2019 | 11:29 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your project! Very important work and I am happy that your project is getting visibility and through this platform. 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.