Women and Girls in Science – The Digital Communication Edition

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

Truly women and girls have made tremendous advances in the sciences, however the UN reports that women still only make up less than 30 percent of researchers worldwide. This means we must do more work to ensure that this type of work is welcoming to women, and doesn’t push them out. While many initiatives focus on growing the pipeline for women and girls in science by providing new opportunities to involve girls in science and STEM, and while this is certainly a laudable goal, there a fewer initiatives that address the stresses women face as women who enter traditionally male-dominated fields. This is what I’d like to address here.

Science Careers in Search of Women 2009
“Science Careers in Search of Women 2009” by Argonne National Laboratory is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0

Continue reading “Women and Girls in Science – The Digital Communication Edition”

Women and Girls in Science – The Digital Communication Edition

Diversity in Canadian Science: Not yet there

I have spent the bulk of my week at a fantastic academic and policy related conference that brings together scientists and leaders from a wide variety of fields. What’s really been great about this experience is it’s commitment to engaging with a variety of disciplines. We’re not just seeing health scientists, researchers from STEM fields, or social scientists and humanities scholars, but truly a variety of perspectives from across the research spectrum. Another strength of this conference, which I realize now has not been part of my general conference experience is I’ve noticed a real effort to balance gender representation on the panels. Most of the panels I have attended have either had equal numbers of men and women present, or had greater numbers of women and men, reflecting their attendee balance, which identifies as about 60% women.

A sheet of paper with different colored lines and the text "Diversity makes everything more interesting"
“Bill Bernbach diversity scholarship posters” by Juan Carlos Pagan, Brian Gartside is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

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Diversity in Canadian Science: Not yet there

How can Universities Ensure We’re Providing Social Support?

In a recent Vancouver Sun Op-Ed, SFU President, Andrew Petter makes the compelling argument that universities are vital contributors to their communities, writing, “Canada’s public universities, colleges and institutes have an obligation, as well as an opportunity, to harness the instruments at our disposal to the greatest extent possible to benefit the communities we serve”. I, and many of my colleagues at institutions of higher education across Canada, could not agree more with this sentiment. The university of the future will absolutely have a strong role to play in creating the kind of communities that we all want to live in, and also in fostering the kinds of citizens who want to actively contribute to those communities for the good of all. I agree with Petter, and as an Ashoka U change leader and the program head of the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads, I have seen this work firsthand. As a result of my work at a university that, like SFU, is pushing the boundaries of education, I can see that providing social support within community means changing the ways we deliver education, so that our raison d’etre in higher education is centered around the good of the communities we serve.

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How can Universities Ensure We’re Providing Social Support?

Just Because I Grade You, Doesn’t Mean I’m Judging Your Intelligence

Just in time for the term to end, and grading to begin at many institutions, I wanted to write about how I, and almost all other instructors or professors I know, view the grading process. I think it’s important as a student to approach assignments with this view in mind, as it will help you to let go of some of the feelings or road blocks that may be currently holding you back.

A stamp on plywood stating "Grade B" in large block letters
Grade B: Upper Queen Street, Ruined House. By wonderferret. Available on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/33XsFf

Just because I grade your work, doesn’t mean I judge your intelligence, or your abilities, or your worth as a human being or contribution as an individual. That’s not what grading assignments is about at all. At least, not to me. Continue reading “Just Because I Grade You, Doesn’t Mean I’m Judging Your Intelligence”

Just Because I Grade You, Doesn’t Mean I’m Judging Your Intelligence

Access Denied? Public Scholarship and the peril of being a woman

Social media and web 2.0 have presented exciting new possibilities for sharing research with the world. While our research in the academy is often confined to discipline specific conferences and academic journals, stuck behind paywalls and accessible only to others in the academic community, self publishing our work on blogs, twitter, facebook, or other platforms allows researchers to communicate their work to a broad audience.

This trend is exciting. As you can see on this blog, I can, with no intermediary, share in plain language, why I think my research is important. People can access my work from around the world, and we can engage in debate or take research in new directions. Furthermore, it’s in the interests of society as a whole. As an academic, my work is at least in part funded by tax dollars. Thus it can be argued that I have an obligation to make my work available and accessible to the public who helps to fund my work.

With these social and scholarly benefits, it’s no wonder that many are advocating that all academics turn to social media platforms to share their research. Unfortunately, however, the question of whether or not to discuss your work in public online is neither simple nor straightforward for many women and people from marginalized populations – particularly those who work in critical gender and race studies, game studies and STEM.

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Access Denied? Public Scholarship and the peril of being a woman

Hello World: On Writing and Scholarship in Public

Writing longhand “Writing Longhand” by R. Crap Mariner on Flikr

As with any new WordPress blog, the first post you see when you load it up for the first time is the ubiquitous “Hello World” post. I’m thinking of leaving that post on my blog as I write this. Not to indicate a lack of familiarity with how to edit a blog, or to demonstrate a lack of professionalism, or a sort of ambivalence to blogging, but rather, because that phrase sums up an insecurity that I think we all have regarding public writing and public scholarship in particular.

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Hello World: On Writing and Scholarship in Public