1. Build sustained partnerships with colleges and universities that educate a significant number of minority students.
Contact and first-hand experience with individuals increases their likelihood of being hired by NCAR. Therefore, NCAR should expand our partnerships with minority institutions engaged in research and education in atmospheric and related sciences through the following mechanisms:
- NCAR should expand on existing MOUs or create new ones to establish a robust and sustained program with approximately five minority serving institutions (MSIs).
- UCAR should recruit additional MSIs to become members or affiliates and contribute to NCAR governance.
- As part of the program with each MSI, NCAR should fund sabbaticals for faculty and opportunities for students as a high priority. NCAR should also promote opportunities for NCAR scientists to visit these universities. Providing job opportunities for individuals who are known to NCAR and have demonstrated excellence has served NCAR well, and these efforts will expand our network of participants and opportunities to engage in socially relevant science.
- NCAR should work with MSIs in order to take advantage of funds dedicated to educational deployments of NSF’s lower atmosphere observational facilities (e.g., aircraft, radars, sounding systems, and profilers). These deployments are designed to excite and motivate the next generation of users.
2. Expand the NCAR graduate fellowship (GRA) program and reach out to diverse graduate students.
NCAR should fund approximately ten new GRA positions a year, at least two positions for each of the five MSI partners. The graduate fellowship experience is particularly important in competing for postdoctoral positions, which are a gateway to a scientific appointment.
3. Continue to expand summer undergraduate intern programs.
Each NCAR laboratory should maintain a summer undergraduate internship program. NCAR programs should work collaboratively with Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS), which has 14 years of success in supporting and encouraging students from under-represented groups to seek careers in the atmospheric sciences. NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory and Computational and Information Systems Laboratory currently target their programs to engineers and computer scientists, respectively. The response, as measured by the number and diversity of the applications, has been highly positive (e.g., EOL’s undergraduate engineering program in 2009 received 252 applications—53 female, 24 Black, 19 Hispanic, and 1 American Indian).
4. Articulate a set of guidelines for promoting recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.
To the extent possible, all search and selection committees should be composed of both males and females and include ethnic diversity and staff with disabilities.