Task Force Charter


In the context of ASTC’s vision, purpose, and strategic direction, the Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force (the “Task Force”) is an ad-hoc, time-limited task force of the ASTC Board of Directors (the “Board”) that provides strategic leadership and recommendations to the Board and staff of the association. The Task Force is charged with developing a set of shared principles to inform ASTC-members’ commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice. The principles developed by this task force are intended to provide ASTC members with a shared vision and common direction for their work to advance racial equity and social justice within their organizations and communities.


The Board Chair will have the power to appoint a Chair for the Task Force from the ASTC Board of Directors. The members of the Task Force, who may include staff at ASTC-member institutions as well as non-member representatives, shall be appointed by the Board Chair. The Board Chair shall have the power at any time to fill vacancies of, change membership of, or discharge the membership of the Task Force.

The Task Force will comprise no fewer than ten (10) and no more than fifteen (15) members, including the Chair, of which at least two Committee members will be Directors currently serving on the Board. Task Force members shall serve for the full term of this time-limited task force. Task Force members may serve on other ASTC Committees and task forces. The Chair will endeavor to ensure that the membership of the Task Force reflects and represents the breadth of ASTC member institutions and includes a broad range of professional expertise and experience that is required to evaluate the full range of conference session proposals.


The primary focus and responsibilities of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Task Force will include:

  • Developing a set of shared principles to inform ASTC-members’ commitment to advancing racial equity and social justice.
  • Gathering insights on the equity and justice work already underway in ASTC-member institutions and seeking to understand the challenges to advancing their work.
  • Taking into consideration the broad diversity of institutional types, sizes, and geographies across ASTC’s North American and global membership, the Task Force will consider the different ways that ASTC will deploy these principles across our membership, and how members may adopt and implement these principles in their institutions.
  • Share relevant research and resources broadly with the ASTC membership to help inform their practice.
  • Make recommendations to the ASTC Board of Directors and ASTC staff for programs and initiatives—which may include training and capacity building, data collection and benchmarking, research, and more—that can support ASTC’s members’ efforts to advance racial equity and social justice.
  • Seek feedback from other ASTC committees and task forces.
  1. Conduct Consistent with Bylaws. As an ad-hoc committee of the Board, the Task Force will conduct its activities in a manner consistent with ASTC’s bylaws. The business of the Task Force will be conducted as nearly as possible in the same manner as provided by the ASTC Bylaws for the Board, unless otherwise provided for by the Board in rules for the Committee’s business.
  2. Advisory Capacity with No Power to Bind. The Task Force may advise the Board, any committee of the Board, or ASTC staff. The Task Force shall have no power or authority to bind ASTC or the Board on any matter.
  3. Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest and Recusal. Task Force members will disclose any conflicts of interest and be recused from any matters on which they have a conflict of interest, in accordance with ASTC’s conflict of interest policy.
  4. Meetings. The Task Force will meet via telephone or videoconference at the discretion of its Chair, or at the request of the Board Chair. A majority of the members of the Task Force 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 Task Force. The Committee will keep such records of its meetings as its Chair shall deem appropriate.
  5. Commitment to Diversity, Accessibility, Inclusion, and Equity. The Task Force and its members will conduct committee business in a manner consistent with ASTC’s diversity policy and stated commitment to diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity.
  6. Ad-Hoc Working Groups. The Task Force Chair may form working groups (including those consisting of a single member), as it deems appropriate from time to time.
  7. Reports to Board. The Task Force will report on an as-needed basis to the Board.
  8. Term. The initial term of this Task Force shall be 6-months, beginning October 2021 and running through March 2022. The Term of the Task Force may be extended at the discretion of the Board Chair.

Task Force Membership

  • William Harris, Task Force Chair, Space Center Houston
  • Kippen de Alba Chu, Fort Worth Museum
  • Frederic Bertley, COSI
  • Paul Blackhouse, Heritage and Environment Resources Office for the Seminole Nation in Florida
  • Jason Cryan, Natural History Museum of Utah
  • Rena Dorph, The Lawrence Hall of Science
  • Larry Dubinski, The Franklin Institute
  • Robert Firmhofer, Copernicus Science Center, Poland
  • Tara MacDougall, Discovery Center at Murfee Spring
  • JoAnn Newman, Orlando Science Center
  • Catherine Paisley, Ontario Science Centre
  • Tim Ritchie, Museum of Science, Boston
  • Auntaneshia Staveloz, Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture
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