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    I: Community Updates
            January is National Mentoring Month
            Diversity and Climate Updates
    II: Community News           
            Student-Led Climate Assessment
            3M Funding for St. Elmo Scholars
            Researchers need a Better Culture
    III: Upcoming Events
            Inclusive Lab Leaders
            Inaugural Chemistry Faculty Retreat                  
            weSTEM (Women Empowered in STEM)
    IV: Mentoring Resources 
            Chemistry Women Mentorship Network
            National Research Mentoring Network
            Advisor/Advisee Compacts



January is National Mentoring Month

Happy New Year, colleagues. Also, Happy Year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac! January is also significant in that we are celebrating one year since we started sharing this "Community, Culture and Climate" newsletter. Please review the 2019 Newsletters Archive to see what we have managed to accomplish as a community.

We hope the year is starting off well for you all, and that the busy-ness is manageable. Since January is National Mentoring Month, we want to share with you updates and resources on mentoring. Please review a recent report by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) titled, "The Science of Effective Mentoring in STEMM.According to the report, the quality, vigor, and innovation of the US STEMM enterprise depend on increasing the diversity of individuals, research teams, and leadership in STEMM fields. This, in turn, requires the advancement of women, individuals from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in STEMM, and first-generation students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Read More

Please find out new departmental initiatives aimed at cultivating the best practices of evidence-based mentoring in our community.


Diversity & Climate Updates

(a) The new faculty mentoring program is currently underway. Junior faculty are meeting monthly this Spring semester and discussing different evidence-based scientific leadership management practices from “Lab Dynamics: Management and Leadership Skills for Scientists.” The department purchased this resource for all faculty members. Here are the scheduled lunch discussions led by a senior faculty: 

      (i) January 2020: Wilfred van der Donk - Chapter 5, “A herd of cats: Managing Scientists.”
      (ii) February 2020: Greg Girolami - Chapter 7, “Team Meetings: Who’s in charge here.”
      (iii) March 2020: Martin Gruebele - Chapter 6, “How am I doing?"
      (iv) April 2020: Cathy Murphy - Chapter 9, “Win/Win with peers: Making Allies, not enemies.”

(b) Thanks to the student-led Wellness Coalition and the Climate Committee, who collaborated on drafting the Lab Manual/Policy Templates that guide faculty on developing their lab expectations to mitigate stress in trainees. Thanks to all the faculty who have already created their lab expectations documents. 

(c) CHEM 590c for third-year graduate students is underway this Spring, Mondays 12-1:20 PM in 301 Noyes from  01/27/20 – 03/16/20. Workshops in the class include "A Delicate Art: Manage Your PI", "Managing Gender Harassment in Research", "Mental Health and Resilience in Grad School," etc.; Please view the syllabus here.

(d) One of the recommendations for effective mentorship from the NASEM report is to make sure that departments reward effective mentorship and mitigate negative mentorship practices. To that end, the department started, in Summer 2019, requesting letters of recommendation from alum and current students for various campus faculty awards (e.g. teaching or mentorship awards, chairs, scholars, center memberships, and similar honors) that describe the effectiveness of mentoring strategies employed by their current/past PIs. The letters comment on faculty's leadership and management skills, teaching effectiveness, including mentoring abilities for students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, etc.

(e) It was a busy fall semester for most of the Diversity Committee members as they were attending the minority recruitment conferences, SACNAS, ABRMCS, and NOBCChE. Thanks to their efforts, the department received a large number of outstanding applicants from students from underrepresented backgrounds in chemistry. Admission offers were made to 43% women and 18% URM in chemistry (i.e., African American, Hispanic and Native American students).

(f) To increase the diversity of our graduate program, the department is currently collaborating with different units and organizations on and off-campus, including the ASPIRE program, SACNAS, ABRMCS, NOBCChE, East Central Illinois ACS Undergraduate Research Conference, Synder Scholars, and SROP, and building partnerships with minority-serving institutions. 

(g) Check out the St. Elmo Brady documentary "Twenty Whites & One Other". Thanks to the School of Chemical Sciences and the Department of Chemistry for funding this initiative. The documentary was premiered at the University of Illinois Celebration of Diversity Breakfast on November 8, 2019, at which St. Elmo posthumously received the Sankofa Award.  

(h) Please stop by the Department of Chemistry Administration Office (Noyes 109) and pick up your "You are Welcome Here Stickers" Let's show that our community is welcoming and inclusive. 




Student-led climate assessment promotes a healthier climate

Students from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin−Madison developed a climate survey to assess, advocate for, and improve the well-being and mental health of graduate students and postdocs. The goal of the study was to illustrate how students, with the support of departmental faculty, staff, and existing on-campus mental health resources, can take the lead to investigate and assess issues related to the challenging graduate school environment. Read More


Department receives 3M Company funding to support the HBCU summer program

The Department of Chemistry recently received $30,000 to support the St. Elmo Brady Scholars Program. The initiative provides summer research opportunities to undergraduates from Tougaloo, Howard, Fisk, and Tuskegee—four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) whose chemistry programs Brady founded after he completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at Illinois in 1916.

The first installation of the Brady Scholars program took place in summer 2019, supported by a generous gift from Dow Chemical and the Graduate College’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). Enleyona Weir, from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, was the first Brady Scholar. Read More


What researchers think about the culture they work in

The research sector is widely seen as producing great work, but there are concerns about the culture that has developed to support this. Are policies, incentives and assessment processes, leadership approaches or other factors undermining research?

Researchers are passionate about their work and proud to be part of the research community – they see it as a vocation, not just a job. Culture varies a great deal from place to place, and different individuals have very different experiences, with underrepresented groups experiencing the most challenges. Researchers say that their working culture is best when it is collaborative, inclusive, supportive and creative, when researchers are given time to focus on their research priorities, when leadership is transparent and open, and when individuals have a sense of safety and security. But too often research culture is not at its best. Read more




FOR FACULTY: Inclusive Lab Leaders

The Inclusive Lab Leaders workshops are a new program by the 21st Century Scientists Initiative at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology. The goal of this program is to help PIs, new and veteran, become more effective at managing their research groups.

(i) Leading an inclusive, productive lab
Friday, February 14, 9:30-11:30 AM, Room 1005, Beckman

(ii) Transforming conflict into collaboration
Friday, March 6, 9:30-11:30 AM, Room 1005, Beckman

(iii) Recognizing and navigating power dynamics in research
Friday, April 10, 9:30-11:30 AM, Room 1005, Beckman

(iv) Creating sustainable systems to support our work
Friday, May 8, 9:30-11:30 AM, Room 1005, Beckman

Inaugural Chemistry Faculty Leadership and Management Triennial Retreat 
Monday, August 10, 2020, 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Confirmed Workshop Facilitators
(i) Prof. Rigoberto Hernandez, John Hopkins University, “Managing Inclusive Excellence
(ii) Prof. Vicki Magley, “Workplace Incivility Interventions and Gender Harassment

Saturday, February 8, 2020

weSTEM (Women Empowered in STEM) is a one-day conference designed to inspire and connect current and aspiring STEM leaders. Invited speakers will share experience and insight from their diverse career paths following a graduate degree in STEM. The conference features lectures, workshops, and breakout sessions that showcase successful career paths of women and men in STEM and facilitate the discussion of topics unique to the graduate student experience.


MENTORING resources


Chemistry Women Mentorship Network (ChemWMN)

The goal of this organization is to create a national network of women in chemistry to provide support, encouragement, and mentorship for young women considering continuing their education or pursuing careers in academia.

National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN)

Consider the myNRMN, a social networking platform for students and researchers to connect with one another for anything from general questions about research and professional development as a scientist to scheduling more formal mentorship appointments one-on-one or as a group.

Advisor/Advisee Compacts
Graduate Student and Advisor Relationship Compact 
Postdoc and Advisor Relationship Compact

Please find frameworks for making sure that both the PI and the postdoc/graduate student's interests are aligned. This resource describes what the advisor expects of their postdoc/graduate student and what the postdoc/graduate student expects of their advisor. Please find an example of such a contract by Dr. Trina McMahon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.