Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies: Changing Mental Models to Promote Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive STEM Systems Change

WCER Working Paper No. 2021-8

Gretalyn Leibnitz, Robin McC. Greenler, and Donald L. Gillian-Daniel

leibnitz.accessplus@gmail.com

November 2021, 11 pp.

ABSTRACT: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional societies (ProS) are uniquely positioned to foster national-level diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) reform. ProS serve broad memberships, define disciplinary norms and culture, and inform accrediting bodies, thus providing “excellent leverage with which to design and promote change” (National Academy of Sciences et al., 2005). ProS could be instrumental in achieving the DEI culture reform necessary to optimize engagement of all STEM talent by leveraging disciplinary excellence resulting from diverse teams. Inclusive STEM culture reform requires that underlying “mental models’’ be examined (Kania et al., 2018). The Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies (IPF:Societies) can help ProS change leaders (i.e., “boundary spanners’”) and organizations identify and address mental models hindering DEI reform. IPF:Societies uses four “I’s”—Identity awareness and Intercultural mindfulness (i.e., equity mindset) on which Inclusive relationships and Influential DEI actions are scaffolded. We discuss how IPF:Societies complements existing DEI tools. We explain how IPF:Societies can be applied to existing ProS policy and practice associated with common ProS functions (e.g., leadership, membership, conferences, awards, and professional development). Next steps are to pilot IPF:Societies with a cohort of STEM ProS. Ultimately, IPF:Societies has potential to promote more efficient, effective, and lasting DEI organizational transformation, and contribute to inclusive STEM disciplinary excellence.

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keywords: Diversity, equity, inclusion, inclusive professional framework for societies, intercultural mindfulness, identify awareness, mental models