Repacking the Community

 ~Contributed by the JEDI Committee


Summer RosettaCon JEDI Session: Repacking the community

At Summer RosettaCon 2021, we did not host an invited talk on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as we’ve done in previous meetings. Instead we facilitated a community-centered conversation entitled: Repacking the Community: defining what a Just, Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Rosetta community looks like and proposing how to get there. Our call to action encouraged all Rosetta Commons members to join us for a discussion structured for productivity to arrive at a shared vision. Herein we report on the outcomes of this session, and discuss the top community requests and how we’ve subsequently actioned around these calls with a new set of task forces within the JEDI group. 

What we did

First off, a brief description of the session to paint a picture that explains how we arrived at our conclusions. The session was an hour, we met over Zoom, no surprises there. Ashley presented slides prepared by herself, Parisa Hosseinzadeh, Liz Schneider, Joanna Macnar, and Bargeen Turzo. The presentation was about 10 minutes long and the goal was to bring all participants up to speed and “speaking the same language” by providing working definitions for the JEDI tenets: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. After the presentation, session participants were randomly assigned to breakout groups with unique prompts, asking them to consider one of the four JEDI tenets and propose either milestones/metrics or actions/steps to improve the Rosetta community in the context of the assigned tenet. The breakout room component of the session was highly structured. Participants self-assigned roles within their breakout groups and were led through a series of exercises to produce meaningful discussion. The final task for each breakout team was to transfer their ideas onto a JamBoard. During this step, breakout rooms were closed and the whole group of approximately 60 members rejoined to discuss emerging themes and ideas and to make a plan forward. For more information, refer to the Session Guide document. 

Session products

The Jamboard content was later evaluated: statements were collected in a google workbook and votes were tallied. The top favorite ideas are reported below along with a count of the votes each received. You can review the full analysis here

Vote count

Idea

13

 Location/lab size is not a predictor of training

11

Exit interviews to ask about how people felt about it as an anonymous form

10

Everyone's voice should be heard!

10

Incentives for getting people to sign up for mentoring.

9

Gender pay gap of people who graduate from Rosetta labs is reduced to zero

9

Coding events, virtual XRWs, regular online talks by other labs, other virtual training opportunities

9

Increasing student and postdoc representation at the table where decisions are made (the PI meeting, in example) by having student and postdoc representatives

8

Measure/survey how RC members deal with child care

7

Reducing barriers to entry to the Rosetta community could help new members integrate more easily.

7

Measure the feeling of inclusivity among the community

 

Three of these top proposed ideas are quite visionary and far reaching, we were pleased to have a smattering of big, long term goals, metrics to measure progress, and very tractable steps and recommendations. 

Reflecting on successes and challenges

Reflecting on the successes and challenges of the session from the follow up JEDI meeting. Additional contextualizing notes are in parenthesis. 

What worked:

  • Detailed worksheets were great (here’s an example). And having to choose moderators (within the breakout groups) was great. (In other words, organizers didn’t need to assign moderators or roles, it was okay for the team to self-assign jobs). 
  • Jamboard was a winner. Putting everything out there for everyone was great.
  • Attendance was impressive. We had ~60 people.
  • Attendance of younger PIs (9/14 PIs who attended were assistant profs)

What didn’t work:

  • Filling in the google form (session segment: “thinking independently”) was not communicated clearly or time wasn’t enough. We only collected 19 responses.
  • Some moderators had trouble managing their group, thus their session wasn’t as productive
  • As always, more time!
  • Bringing in PIs to the table. We had 14 PIs at the table only

Next steps: from SRC to the new year

From here, the JEDI team identified a set of projects that aim to address the favorite ideas from the SRC session, merged with existing projects. Each project will be spearheaded by a nimble task force. The JEDI monthly meetings following SRC through the fall of 2021 aim to organize around these task forces and maintain the momentum.The task forces are:

 

Affinity conference team. Well underway but as always, welcomes new hands and minds to assist and participate in conferences.

 

Demographics project. This project aims to answer the questions: who is in our community, are our demographics representative or homogenous, are they changing to be more diverse? 

 

High School Student programs and outreach. Many commons members are interested in the potential of early intervention and working with high school students. 

 

Intro to Rosetta videos to lower entry barriers: Rosetta itself, RosettaCons, XRWs, packaging bootcamp, use wiki as hub, JEDI-focus and assistance with expanding XRWs and boot camps etc, and JEDI developer interface.

 

Mentoring program task force. Well underway but as always, welcomes new hands and minds to assist with organization and directly, as more mentors are needed.

 

Professional development and ongoing workshop series. This team will plan and coordinate, and facilitate professional development workshops with the aim of helping trainees develop skill and form connections across labs. 

 

RosettaCon JEDI Keynote task force & JEDI presence at RosettaCons. Build sustainability and organization. Consider facilitating participant access in hybrid remote/in-person conferences.

 

However, one of our task forces has been tabled, no volunteers remain who have availability to assist:  JEDI funding disbursement. Create a system where Rosetta members can make mini grant proposals for funds from JEDI to facilitate small projects related to JEDI goals.

 

While attendance was high at the JEDI SRC session, participation in the subsequent meetings has dwindled. This is both understandable and disappointing. Actioning on these ideas requires person-power. We opened the SRC session with the proposal: that the mission of the JEDI committee is to become obsolete, to no longer be needed. But to indeed meet this goal of planned obsolescence, we need to continue working. It remains unclear how we can continue progressing but the first step is certainly to identify the problem, then we can start to find solutions. 

 

A huge thanks to all those who participated in the SRC Session and shared their perspectives and insights. You are appreciated! 

 

Acknowledgements

Parisa Hosseinzadeh, Joanna Macnar, Liz Schneider, Bargeen Turzo, and Ashley Vater formed the core team of organizers for this Session. The session was planned over a series of meetings from late May to Early August. Materials and content was developed collaboratively. Special thanks to Parisa for leadership and creating the graph showing changes in PI demographics over time, Joanna for international perspective and assistance with working definitions, Liz for meeting administration, and Bargeen for the name: “Repacking the Community” and the summary infographic linking the JEDI tenets. Ashley produced the worksheets and led the session.

 

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