Equity & Diversity Committee Charter

Mission:

The ASTC Equity and Diversity (E&D) Committee is responsible for ensuring continuing progress toward the vision of the Association’s equity and diversity initiative. The Committee will set priorities and provide guidance to ASTC in the design and implementation of a dynamic suite of activities and resources to help ASTC members gain the skills necessary to meet the needs of and reflect the diverse communities they serve, recognizing that truly effective equity and diversity work is never finished. The Committee will ensure that equity and diversity activities are closely aligned with ASTC strategic priorities and responsive to the diverse needs and capabilities of ASTC members. The Committee will actively encourage ASTC members to participate in and contribute to these activities. In recommending new programs and products, the Committee will take into account and seek to address the resource implications of these activities.

Vision:
  • ASTC is recognized as a model organization with respect to equity and diversity, as reflected in its staff and its activities, by its members and external partners.
  • ASTC provides resources that help member institutions implement policies and practices which ensure that boards and staff at every level reflect, welcome, celebrate, and benefit from diversity.
  • ASTC equity and diversity resources and programs result in the development of innovative and inclusive exhibits, programs, and materials that reflect and engage diverse audiences.
  • Participation in and adoption of programs and products are recognized as indicators of the highest level of institutional commitment to equitable and inclusive practice.
  • Ensure that all equity and diversity activities are global in scope and leverage the perspectives of international members to enhance cross-cultural competence.
  • Through these activities, we believe that ASTC members will be recognized as truly inclusive and welcoming institutions with staff and policymakers who bring innovative ideas and approaches to fulfilling our mission.
Roles and General Responsibilities:

The Committee will work with ASTC staff to:

  • Develop an annual action plan, setting priorities based on the six pillars of the ASTC Equity and Diversity Initiative: leadership support, assessment, professional development, communication, program and exhibit development, and science center workforce development
  • Assist the ASTC Board and other Board committees in incorporating equity and diversity into the association’s strategic goals and objectives
  • Participate in the design and implementation of the Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows program
  • Monitor the progress and process of equity and diversity work
  • Maintain a global and inclusive view of diversity.
Structure and Membership

The Board of Directors establishes the Equity and Diversity Committee with the following terms and considerations: Chairmanship of the Committee shall be approved by the Board of Directors on the basis of nominations put forth by the ASTC President and CEO and on recommendation of the Equity and Diversity Committee itself. The committee shall consist of a minimum of five members, with membership including not fewer than two Directors. Committee members will serve terms of three years. The Board of Directors may delegate to the committee some or all of the Board’s powers to the extent permitted by the laws of the State of Maryland. Except as the Board of Directors may otherwise determine, the committee may make rules for the conduct of its business, but unless otherwise provided by the Board of Directors in such rules, its business shall be conducted as nearly as possible in the same manner as is provided by these Bylaws for the Board of Directors. Vacancies on the committee will be filled by a process of nomination and approval by the committee itself. The Board of Directors shall, however, have the power at any time to fill vacancies in the committee, to change its membership or to discharge the committee. The designation and appointment of any such committee and the delegation of authority thereto shall not operate to relieve the Board of Directors, or any individual Director, of any responsibility imposed upon it or him or her by law.

Procedures and Administration
  1. Meetings. A majority of the members of the Committee will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the affirmative vote of a majority of those present shall be necessary for any action by the Committee. The Committee will keep such records of its meetings as it shall deem appropriate. Members not able to attend meetings must designate a proxy to represent their opinions and who are empowered to vote on their behalf.
  2. Subcommittees. The Committee may form and delegate authority to one or more subcommittees (including a subcommittee consisting of a single member), as it deems appropriate from time to time under the circumstances.
  3. Reports to Board. The Committee will report regularly to the Board. The Committee should join with the Conference Program Planning Committee in reviewing with the full Board decisions taken with respect to the substance and conduct of the ASTC annual conference.
  4. Charter. At least annually, the Committee will review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
  5. Annual Self-Evaluation. At least annually, the Committee will evaluate its performance. The Chairman of the Committee, together with ASTC’s Board Chair, will determine the form and nature of the annual self-evaluation. The Chairman of the Committee will report the results of the evaluation to the Board.
Timing and Communication:

The Committee will meet quarterly via conference call or otherwise as deemed necessary to meet responsibilities in appropriate timeframes. The Committee will meet at least once annually for an in-person meeting at the ASTC Annual Conference, or other location as appropriate. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, the Committee should communicate regularly in order to maximize its impact.

ASTC Equity and Diversity Committee Implementation Strategy

The ASTC Equity and Diversity Committee is charged with overseeing and supporting progress toward achieving the vision of the ASTC Equity and Diversity Initiative. General Committee roles and responsibilities are to:

  • Develop an annual action plan and set annual priorities
  • Assist the Board in implementation
  • Serve as a resource for ASTC staff
  • Monitor progress and process
  • Maintain a global view of diversity.

The Committee will fulfill these obligations by focusing on the six pillars of the association’s equity and diversity initiative: leadership support, assessment, communication, professional development, career pipeline and recruitment, and program and exhibit development.

1. Leadership Support

Objective: Provide ASTC’s Board, directors, and other senior leaders of member institutions with information, strategies, and tools to enable them to lead this initiative and monitor its progress.

Specific Actions:

  • Organize a diversity-related session for senior leaders at every annual conference.
  • Schedule workshops for Governing Member CEOs and other senior leaders.
  • Modify Governing Member Peer Consultation process to include equity and diversity indicators.
  • Collaborate with other organizations committed to diversity.
  • Identify and maintain a distinguished panel of advisors to serve as resources to support diversity work of science centers.
  • Collaborate with AAM and other organizations on national and international diversity museum initiatives.
2. Assessment

Objective: Create a system for collecting data and monitoring changes in the status of diversity in the science center field by working with the Analyses and Trends Committee.

Specific Actions:

  • Modify and conduct ASTC workforce survey to elicit relevant data on staff, volunteer, and board diversity.
  • Modify and conduct ASTC Member Survey to include basic E/D measurements on audience and/or program participation.
  • Analyze and publish survey results, including compilation of diversity-related data into special reports to ASTC membership and board.
  • Develop self-assessment guides for members that incorporate a review of the mission statement and a framework for developing strategies and goals.
  • Provide samples and tools to help members quantify the diversity of their audience.
3. Communication

Objective: Develop vehicles to present the case for this initiative to multiple audiences, to gain buy-in from ASTC members, to disseminate information, to publicize professional development resources, and to disseminate best practices of members.

Specific Actions:

  • Update and disseminate information to ASTC membership.
  • Utilize INFORMER, ASTC Dimensions, listserv, Exhibit Exchange, etc. to keep members updated on the initiative’s activities.
  • Redesign, maintain, and integrate equity and diversity content on ASTC’s web site.
4. Professional Development

Objective: Create and employ multiple vehicles to move science center employees from awareness of the need for diversity to knowledge and action by working with the Leadership and Professional Development Committee.

Specific Actions:

  • Utilize keynote speakers, pre/post workshops, etc. at the annual conference to introduce new models and strategies for achieving diversity.
  • Encourage and fund the ASTC Diversity and Leadership Fellowship program.
  • Implement a diversity training program for ASTC staff.
  • Organize job specific seminars and workshops to enable science center professionals at all levels to focus on diversity issues specific to their work areas and regions.
  • Review and update a Diversity Tool Kit with visitor/participant survey models, bibliography, resource list, etc.
5. Career Pipeline

Objective: Develop and implement short- and long-term strategies to meet the field’s current and future workforce needs, as well as introduce cohorts of pre-college youth to careers in science education and science centers, and a multifaceted program for recruiting new professionals from under-represented groups.

Specific Actions:

  • Help ASTC members establish partnerships with other organizations committed to workplace diversity.
  • Broadcast job openings through web sites targeting colleges with high percentages of minority seniors.
  • Produce recruitment tools (brochures, templates, checklist, etc.) relevant to all ASTC members.
  • Use the annual conference as a vehicle for introducing this field to professionals from underrepresented groups residing in the host city.
  • Encourage opportunities for a youth strand at the annual conference.
  • Share effective practices on engaging and retaining pre-college youth in the science center field.
6. Program and Exhibit Development

Objective: Help ASTC members develop programs and exhibits that reflect and address the diversity of the audience they serve, and provide opportunities to understand a global perspective.

Specific Actions:

  • Encourage the development of traveling science exhibitions for ASTC members that address diversity issues and are inclusive in their approach.
  • Through the community web site ExhibitFiles, encourage sharing of exhibit case studies and reviews to help members address accessibility, appeal to diverse audiences, and include content related to equity and diversity worldwide.
  • Encourage members to develop and share information about educational programs that address diversity issues and are inclusive in their approach.
  • Continue to feature an equity/diversity strand at the annual conference and involve presenters that together represent multiple national perspectives on exhibits and programming.