Aug 16 2016 Published by under academia, gender

I love seminars. For real, no sarcasm. I go religiously, and I expect everyone in my group to show up every week unless they have a good excuse. There are so many times that I learn things in (seemingly unrelated) seminars that open up new ways to think about our research. New techniques, new insights ... all the new things!

This is why I take my seminar series committee appointment so seriously. It's not just for me - I want to make sure that every seminar is awesome. I want to make sure that we bring in a diverse group of speakers - diverse in research topic, in race/ethnicity, in what institutions they work, etc.

My diversity goal is a little selfish - I want to hear ALL the coolest things. But also, I believe that it is very important to have a diverse seminar series for the graduate students. I want students to see that lots of different kinds of people can be successful and do cool things. One easy way to start on the path to this goal is to make sure that you have a good representation of women and under-represented minorities giving seminars.

The argument I hear a lot is that there just aren't enough "good" women/URM to invite for a seminar. I think this is bullshit - it just is not an ingrained response to think of the non-white-dude. So, a while ago I made a post just to list women that give awesome seminars. I hope you will go add to that list, so everyone can use it. And feel free to add URM speakers, too (regardless of gender)!

I was motivated to post this because Dr. Zen mentioned me on twitter in response to a question about how to pick good seminar speakers. Thank you, Dr. Zen!!


One response so far

  • Zuska says:

    If I had a dollar for every just-average-level white dude seminar speaker I've heard I could go to Jamaica for a month's vacation.
    Not sure why non-white non-dude seminar speakers have to be THE AWESOMEST EVER!!!! SO AMAZING!!! to qualify as worthy.

    As a friend of mine is fond of saying, true equality is when the rest of us are allowed to be average, too.

    When people [=prejudiced people] say there aren't enough "good" women speakers, they are saying bullshit, because they have sat through plenty of average and below average white dude seminars and made nary a peep about how standards are being lowered just to keep the number of white male speakers extraordinarily high. Or how not even white dudes should get to give seminars unless they are "good enough".
    Of course they don't say that...because everything sounds so smart and fresh when it's said by a white dude. You can babble like an idiot and people will think you are a fresh genius and want to elect you president. #TrumpEffect

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