Annual Luncheon Showcases Flourishing SEEDS

UM Scientists and Engineers Joined Provost LeBlanc for the 5th Annual SEEDS Luncheon

The 5th Annual Luncheon for the SEEDS (Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success) program brought attendees opportunities to network, celebrate, learn, and reflect.

SEEDS Luncheon attendees discussing the Climate Survey

At the University of Miami-wide event keynote speaker Provost Thomas LeBlanc acknowledged the deep impact of the You Choose Leadership awards, which supported over 50 faculty projects aimed at creating new institutional structures to improve UM’s research climate and policies. This year, the program received support from the UM College of Arts & Sciences to fund projects beyond STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields and include the arts.

The provost also recognized specific initiatives across UM, which are helping the University move “Beyond Bias and Barriers, ” as cited in a recent National Academies Report. These initiatives – the Facilitating Academic Success program in the College of Arts & Sciences; the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmoshpheric Science (RSMAS) School Council’s "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" Committee; the Grantsmanship and Mentoring Program at the Miller School of Medicine; and the Distinguished Visiting Mentors Program at the College of Engineering – are yielding results on all three UM campuses.  

“We are making progress, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said LeBlanc.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Brian Blake has made great strides since arriving at UM just over a year ago. He discussed strategic initiatives for the next year and beyond; one is the Task Force: Faculty Recruitment, Application, and Hiring, which will compare demographics on applications, interviews, and offers; work to maintain an environment conducive to recruitment; and create a body to oversee faculty equity issues.

Kathryn Tosney, SEEDS director and chair of the  Biology Department in the UM College of Arts & Sciences, presented the Executive Summary of the Climate Survey which measured how women and men scientists and engineers experience their working environments.  The attendees discussed the survey results along with a recent UM Faculty Survey, analyzed by gender.

The luncheon concluded with a SEEDS Interactive Theatre Sketch: “Chemistry,” presented by Director Jennifer Burke, Theatre Arts, with student actors Alan Goodman, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pharmacology; Mona Pirnot, Theatre Arts; and Andres Bustamante, Psychology.

After the sketch, audience members engaged in dialogue with the actors, who continued to play their roles while answering questions and making comments. Trained Facilitator Mark Mocahbee provided professional expertise and guided the dialogue.

Supported by Provost Tom LeBlanc, SEEDS uses a policy of inclusion to create and foster an interactive and highly effective UM-wide community. It was created through a NSF ADVANCE for Women in Science Grant.

April 10, 2014