At the Board of Directors meeting in July 2020, the DEI Committee submitted a working list of ideas for improving DEI in SSAR [pdf of initial idea list].
The DEI Committee has continued to grow this list, and SSAR has begun putting some of these ideas into practice – see below for actions taken so far.
In 2021, SSAR conducted a membership diversity survey. Here are links to the full report and a shortened version:
List of actions SSAR has taken to improve DEI, as of August 2022:
- Providing a free manuscript review service for authors whose first language is not English [link to manuscript review service]
- Funding symposia on topics relevant to DEI
- Updating symposium proposal guidelines in spring 2022 to 1) require a description of how the symposium will broaden participation of underrepresented groups at JMIH and/or in herpetology more generally, and 2) encourage symposium organizers to apply for additional external funding (e.g., NSF) to support DEI activities and travel support for students from underrepresented groups
- Adding candidate diversity statements to the ballot for 2020 officer elections, and requiring diversity statements for subsequent elections
- Issuing an official statement committing to equity, diversity, and inclusion as foundational and pervasive principles in all Society matters [link to statement]
- Creating and disseminating a survey in spring 2021 to assess membership diversity and collect member feedback, and making the report publicly available in spring 2022 (see above for links)
- Participating in an SSAR/ASIH/AES/HL joint fundraiser in spring 2022 to offset the costs of childcare to parents who would like to attend JMIH 2022 in Spokane, Washington. We also plan to support childcare into the future by establishing an endowment, so please stay tuned for long-term fundraising efforts.
- Creating a sign-up sheet for established professionals to take students out to meals at JMIH 2019 in Snowbird; expanding this initiative by making the sign-up a Google sheet and promoting it more proactively at JMIH 2022 in Spokane (61 established members and 110 students signed up!)
- Running a Pre-College Scholars Program that hosts monthly virtual meetings with such topics as “Herping with a Purpose” and “Herpetology for All,” and provides financial support for up to five pre-college students to attend SSAR’s annual meetings [link to more information on the pre-college program]
- Hosting an alcohol-free game night at JMIH 2022 in Spokane
- Enhancing the JMIH mentorship program by giving mentees and mentors the option of being paired based on personal identities in addition to professional interests [link to more information on the mentorship program]