It’s easy to get caught up in what we do day-to-day (or day-to-night-to-day) that we sometimes forget to step back and look at how, or why, we do what we do.
This month, I’m pleased to tell you a little bit about three initiatives that do just that. They are aimed at evolving our culture – our methods and motivations.
Women in STEM
In the next week, and for the next several years, you will hear more about an NSF ADVANCE grant for $3 million to increase the number of women in STEM fields.
Sez Atamturktur, in Civil Engineering, spent two years working with more than 50 people on campus to spearhead this grant, with the full support of our provost, Bob Jones.
Congratulations to Dr. Jones, Dr. Atamturktur and the many, many others who helped secure this grant.
At Clemson, the percentage of women in STEM fields is similar to that of many other universities. However, every university can, and should, strive to do more. Clemson’s goal for ADVANCE goes beyond increasing the number of women in STEM fields; it will help our culture evolve into one that embraces, values and actively seeks diversity and inclusion.
In September, Provost Jones created a task force to address the issue of research safety. This was in
response to an initiative of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which called for all its members (Clemson is one of them) to dedicate time to improving the culture of safety in our laboratories, workshops and other facilities.
Once again, this goes beyond looking at quantifiable data to the more difficult, but equally important, goal of evolving our culture. Safety has to be integral to everything we do.
Tracy Arwood, assistant vice president for Research Compliance, is chairing the task force. She and her committee members will reach out to others across campus to gauge the perception of our research climate. They will identify ways to improve the climate and how we communicate about safety, and they will propose ways to keep us moving forward.
If you are contacted by the safety task force, please assist them at your earlier convenience.
Finally, we recently celebrate two events intended to improve our culture of research customer service. On Sept. 26 the Division of Research office sponsored a pizza party in recognition of Research Administrators’ Day, and on Oct. 7 we sponsored a social hour in our offices in the Strum Thurmond Institute.
The Division of Research, its offices and personnel, are here to help facilitate your work. We invite you to visit with us, and we will continue to do our best to serve you, our customers and constituents, in the most effective and appropriate ways possible. Let us know how we can help you.