IoT4Ag is committed to creating, sustaining, and promoting a diverse community of students, scientists, and staff. As such, IoT4Ag recognizes value in creating its own Diversity and Culture of Inclusion (DCI) activities, while also leveraging resources and initiatives at all partner universities. DCI is a pipeline, which involves recruiting as a first step, followed by developing a climate that seeks to retain IoT4Ag members (from students to advisory board members), and creates an environment where all can thrive. DCI requires partnership with local programs to meet the needs of different student populations and center-wide programs to foster a sense of belonging to the IoT4Ag program and Center identity. Through continuous improvement, IoT4Ag successes will strengthen DCI for affiliated organizations and partners, and ultimately, the scientific community.
IoT4Ag will build on and establish partnerships with national scholars’ programs and minority serving institutions and engage students by sharing IoT4Ag research, education, inclusion, and innovation at meetings of national, minority serving societies and organizations. The Center will create a new signature Pathway to PhD (PPP) program. PPP is a 2-day workshop and network building program designed to address the often-observed lack of awareness by under-represented minority (URM) and first-generation low-income (FGLI) students about graduate school. PPP will prepare students to apply to graduate programs and fellowships, and to connect students to faculty and peer mentors in support of their future.
The Center will initiate, organize, and monitor activities that aim to create and sustain a positive climate and an inclusive environment where all can thrive. To this end, the Center will create educational and training sessions/modules on topics related to implicit bias, sexual harassment, and conflict resolution (in workplace), and other topics. Hierarchical peer-to-peer (between graduate and undergraduate students) and faculty-student mentoring programs will be developed and assessed via triannual teleconference check-ins. The check-ins are intended to build a sense of belonging to the Center, and to facilitate a positive climate and inclusion. IoT4Ag will explore diversity and inclusion topics at its meetings and workshops, build and value diversity through social and professional gatherings, and feature IoT4Ag students, faculty, staff, and professionals on our webpage and through our newsletters and social media. In early CY2021, the DCI team will host implicit bias training for Center members, which will kick off the DCI training presentations that will be held quarterly.