North Temperate Lakes (NTL) is committed to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) both internally and in the broader communities in which we operate. As we work to understand and address environmental problems that affect society, we recognize that our efforts are strengthened by engaging people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

We work closely with the Center for Limnology’s (CFL) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee to achieve our DEI goals. There is substantial overlap between the NTL and CFL communities with 67% of principal investigators, 100% of staff, 100% of postdocs, and 61% of graduate students part of the NTL project also members of the CFL. Additionally, many training and professional development opportunities for the NTL community are hosted through the Freshwater and Marine Sciences Graduate Program weekly seminar series. Over 75% of NTL PIs that are able to serve as graduate advisors are faculty of the Freshwater and Marine Sciences program. 

CFL Committee on DEI

Mission Statement: The CFL Committee on DEI aims to promote and support a diverse and inclusive CFL. The committee initiates actions that foster diversity, equity and inclusivity, with emphasis on representation, equity, access and belonging. 

Committee makeup: The committee includes broad representation in terms of age, career stage, employment category (graduate students, postdocs, academic staff, University staff, faculty), race, ethnicity, nationality, background, gender and ability. To support continuity of efforts and multi-year initiatives, the chair for the subsequent year’s committee will be selected from the current year’s members. 

Overarching Goals

  • To increase diversity* among undergraduates, graduate students, and staff – both at CFL itself and within the discipline of Limnology
  • To take actions to make both the physical environment and the community itself more welcoming and inclusive, particularly for new students and staff
  • To motivate other CFL committees to address diversity, equity inclusivity, and climate issues
  • To provide training and education opportunities relating to diversity, equity and inclusivity, and to assess and address new and emerging climate issues

*We consider diversity in the broadest sense to include gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, sexual identity, religion, educational background, nationality, geographic origin, ability

DEIJ Actions

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are vital to the success of the NTL LTER. We are committed to creating an inclusive space where all members feel valued and respected, and we recognize that this is an ongoing process that requires continuous work and evaluation. By implementing these actions, we hope to increase and maintain a diverse and dynamic workforce that is empowered to carry out our mission of advancing ecological knowledge.

We will actively seek to expand the diversity of our research team, including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. We will conduct targeted recruitment efforts to reach underrepresented groups. We will also create more opportunities for professional development and mentorship, and establish support structures to enhance retention rates.

Action items

[1] Develop a transparent recruitment strategy that includes outreach to diverse student groups and networks. Establish partnerships with programs that target underrepresented groups in STEM fields such as:

Recent Effort: Undergraduate job announcements have been distributed to a variety of job boards. NTL PIs listed in Life Sciences Research Opportunities for Underrepresented Students on campus. 

[2] Link to databases of available opportunities, scholarships, fellowships, and other resources for underrepresented students, and regularly communicate these opportunities to potential applicants.

[3] Maintain a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone can thrive regardless of their background or identity.

Recent Effort: Climate Survey of Center for Limnology personnel in April 2023 used to identify areas for improvement in culture, belonging, and inclusion. Analysis and action plan based on the survey results are in development during summer 2023.

We will provide opportunities for education, training, and professional development that address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This will aid in creating a more inclusive community that will prove beneficial for all our employees.

Action items:

[1] Provide ongoing training and support for all faculty, staff, and students to address equity issues and create an inclusive space.

Recent Effort: AdvanceGEO bystander training for NTL project members, Nov 2022.

[2] Encourage research group meetings to include discussions on diversity and inclusion and provide materials for facilitating these discussions.

Recent Effort: NTL leadership contributed to collation and promotion of DEI Resources to facilitate lab group discussions

[3] Provide workshops on subjects like gender inclusion, anti-racism, cultural competency, and disability awareness.

Recent Effort: Center for Limnology seminar on Interrogating Power and Privilege, Feb 8th 2023: Social Justice Workshop, led by UW Madison Offie of Inclusion Education.

Hosted Virtual OBFS workshop LTER partners

  • OBFS Q&A with Prof. Jay Garvey on Improving Gender Inclusion at Field Stations (YouTube)
  • Gender and Inclusive Field Facilities – Prof. Jay Garvey (YouTube)

NTL will strengthen relationships with communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups by actively engaging with these communities in our research and outreach initiatives.

Action items:

[1] Collaborate with communities on research projects that are co-designed and co-evaluated by local stakeholders.

Recent Efforts: Wingra watershed salt stakeholders meetings and Community Water Monitoring Network.

[2] Reserve a spot in our weekly colloquium for an outside speaker to discuss environmental and social issues.

Recent Effort: Funded and launched DEI Scholar Award seminar in Freshwater and Marine Sciences weekly seminar in Spring 2023. Speakers are nominated by members of the Center for Limnology community and brought to campus for a 2 day event. The first scholar will be hosted Spring 2024. 

[3] Collaborate with Native American tribes to include their knowledge and perspectives on environmental issues in our research.

Recent Effort: TLS postdoc Ray Allen hosted PhiN workshops in coordination with Lac du Flambeau. 

We will analyze our workforce data to understand where we are thriving and where we are lagging behind when it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion. We will use this data to make informed decisions on where to focus efforts to achieve our diversity goals.

Action items:

[1] Collect workforce data (race, gender, sexual orientation, ability status, etc.) of research group members, analyze them, and interpret them to determine actionable next steps. If possible, share data openly, while maintaining anonymity.

Recent Efforts: Committee that read and aggregated climate survey data and shared with community.

[2] Increase transparency when it comes to hiring, retention, mentoring, or professional development initiatives aimed at promoting equity, diversity, and inclusivity.