Below is a list of items to consider when creating the required DEIA plan for team proposals.

Below this list is an example a DEIA plan from the North Dakota NEBP team and below that are additional items to consider.

Organizational

              Questions

  • Does your institution participate in campus-wide DEIA assessments and efforts?
  • Have staff undertaken implicit bias training?

              Exemplary Practices

  • Review team composition & training
  • Institute policies for identifying, reporting, and intervening in inappropriate situations

Recruitment

Questions

  • How will recruitment welcome students of all backgrounds?
  • Can we consider “cluster recruiting” – inviting students as groups or pairs rather than individuals?
  • Might we be able to recruit students regardless of past academic achievement?

              Exemplary Practices

  • Ensure recruitment focuses on reaching diverse communities, emphasizing historically underrepresented and/or marginalized groups
  • Recruit beyond those with a pre-existing interest in STEM

NEBP Team Personnel

Questions

  • Are you prepared to participate with cultural humility? (Cultural humility is “a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of their own beliefs and cultural identities.)

Exemplary Practices

  • Staff should take part in ongoing DEIA training and discussion
  • Understand the culture of NEBP participants

NEBP Team Design

Questions

  • What physical location would allow students of all backgrounds to participate?
  • Is inclusive language used?

 Exemplary Practices

  • Utilize contexts that are relatable and/or important to students of all backgrounds
  • Practice and encourage active listening, productive struggle, & multiple pathways for diverse learners

Example DEIA Plan from North Dakota Space Grant

The NDSGC team is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) to foster an open and welcoming environment for all. As stated in the NDSGC’s DEIA mission statement, the NDSGC celebrates different perspectives, backgrounds, identities, and experiences, and recognizes that these differences strengthen and enrich our NEBP program.  

The NDSGC team identifies as members from underrepresented communities in STEM and are committed to serve as positive role models and advocates to other students. The team is trained in Title IX training, leads DEIA-focused professional development workshops, and are active members of SciGirls in Space!, FabFems, and LGBTQ+ mentorship programs.  

Highlighted Recruitment and Engagement Methods to promote DEIA 

To promote a welcoming environment for all participants, the NDSGC aims to:  

  • Encourage ND community colleges and Tribal colleges to participate 
  • Provide faculty stipends to honor their time and effort mentoring students  
  • Provide leadership trainings for student participants that promote DEIA  
  • Use inclusive and culturally responsive practices during all NEBP programming  
  • Provide accessible resources to students and use varying teaching strategies, including the development of eclipse tactiles 
  • Encourage students to explore multiple skill sets throughout the course of the campaign, promoting diverse STEM career skills and technical training 
  • Engage interested students, including non-STEM majors and all experience levels 

NDVS/SB 

The NDSGC ballooning team will partner with the North Dakota Vision Services and School for the Blind (located in Grand Forks, ND), leading student-centered eclipse lessons and atmospheric science investigations for students who are blind or low-vision. The NDVS/SB students will explore radiosondes, atmospheric science, and learn how they can use all their senses to experience eclipses. An NDVS/SB student-designed project will be integrated into the activities of each eclipse day. 

Assessments 

To ensure all students have a positive experience, regular formative and summative assessments will be captured through anonymous mid-semester surveys, regular check-ins, student reflections, and final reports. NDSGC leadership will integrate student and faculty feedback to continuously close the feedback loop. 

Some Issues Related to Inclusive STEM Culture from The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Toolkit

The Breakthrough Inclusive Action Toolkit is a resource developed by Science Friday and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to provide guidance for advancing STEM inclusion. The full Toolkit is available at: https://www.breakthroughfilms.org/toolkit/

Below, we borrow from the Toolkit to offer brief descriptions of issues of potential relevance to partners and participants in the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. We encourage partners and participants to download the Toolkit to explore these topics further. Additional references are also provided within the Toolkit.

Marginalization is a state of exclusion where a person or a group’s participation in society, rights, power, and/or privilege is limited.

Minoritization is the social construction of underrepresentation and subordination in social institutions that is imposed in certain situations and institutional environments.

Underrepresentation denotes that the representation of certain groups of people in science and engineering education and employment differs from their representation in the U.S. population.

Conscious (i.e., explicit) and unconscious (i.e., implicit) bias impact the educational experiences of marginalized, minoritized, and underrepresented students.

People with personal identities including (dis)ability, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+ experience bias and discrimination in science and engineering contexts.

These issues (e.g., marginalization, etc.) can impact retention and/or completion of an individual’s educational and professional experiences.

Inequity in funding processes and outcomes have been shown to disproportionately affect women and minoritized groups. Word-of-mouth dissemination and recruitment tactics are intrinsically biased.

The idea of fit is often used to eliminate non-majority applicants.

Recommendation letters have been found to be subject to biases that favor males and more privileged applicants with connections to powerful letter writers.

Microaggressions are brief phrases or actions that communicate (sometimes subtle) slights or insults against a group of people (e.g., Where are you “really” from?).

Gaslighting is when a hearer tells a speaker that the speaker’s claim isn’t that serious, or that they’re overreacting, being too sensitive, or not interpreting events properly (e.g., They didn’t mean anything by it.)

Weed out practices and courses disproportionately lead first-generation college students and students of color to change their major or even their institution.

Culturally relevant practices that connect curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the experiences, cultures, and traditions of students from racial and ethnic minorities can provide educational benefits to all students.

The contributions of women, Black, Indigenous, people of color, and those with LGBTQ+ identities are often omitted from STEM learning experiences.