Department Climate

As members of the Princeton Astrophysical Sciences community, we will treat each other with respect, dignity, and professionalism, such that our work is productive.

We work to create an inclusive environment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate, regardless of gender identity, sexuality, nationality, disability, or racial, socio-economic and religious background.

We commit to sustain an environment free of misconduct and harassment, enabling and supporting all community members to do their best work.

We adopt these Ground Rules to promote respectful department discussions.

Climate Committee for Equity and Inclusion

This department committee works to improve equity and inclusion in our department, by assessing the climate, making recommendations for improvement, and tracking actions. Our charges can be found here: at this link.

The following are current members of the committee, composed of students, post-docs, staff, and faculty:

   Jenny Greene (chair, faculty), Jo Dunkley (chair, faculty), Michael Strauss (ex-officio as dept chair)
   Roohi Dalal, Rodrigo Córdova (grad students)
   Sinclaire Jones, Satuye Lacayo (undergrads)
   Polly Strauss, Mami Akiyama (staff)
   Matthew ColemanAllison Strom (post-docs), Tea Temim (research scholars)

You can contact us on astro-climate@princeton.edu, or reach us individually. The group email goes to all committee members. To reach the members without including the Dept Chair and Director of Graduate Studies, contact astro-climate2@princeton.edu.

Previous committee members include Josh Winn (Faculty), Sean Johnson, Evan Schneider, Adrian Price-Whelan, Ahmad Nehmer, Rémy Joseph (post-docs); Goni Halevi (grad student), Camille Liotine, Emma Louden, Juliana Pulsinelli (undergrads).

Department Climate Surveys

We ran our first department climate survey in Fall 2018 and produced a department-internal report in Spring 2019. This was discussed in town halls among cohorts in the department, and in department-wide discussions, and produced a set of actions that we continue to work on. A summary of the report and subsequent actions can be read here

We repeated the survey in early 2021; the results are summarized here

We plan to repeat these surveys every two years.

Expectations for Professional Conduct

The Climate Committee, with consultation and feedback from the whole department, and advice from the Provost Office, has prepared a document entitled, Community Expectations for Respectful and Professional Conduct.  Quoting from the opening statement, "We, the members of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University, including students, faculty, staff, post-doctoral researchers, and research scientists, strive for an equitable, respectful, and professional environment. We recognize that doing excellent research and learning in the classroom and from one another require a positive climate. Thus, we commit to abide by the following expectations, designed to foster a climate in which all of us may reach our full potential."

Departmental Actions

We are committed to increasing the inclusivity of our department and have taken the following steps to do so:

Equity Programs and Activities

Climate initiatives

  • We convene and support affinity groups to provide visibility and community for under-represented people in the department.
  • We recognize climate and equity work with a yearly departmental prize.
  • We have established new mentorship structures between undergraduate and graduate students, graduate students at different levels, graduate students and postdocs, and graduate students and faculty.
  • We have provided visibility around mental health challenges along with discussion of available resources.
  • We promote a family-friendly work environment; our weekly colloquium is at 11 AM and no regular talk series runs after 4 PM.
  • We have organized a series of ‘Outside Academia’ career events to help department members pursue non-academic career paths.
  • We hold a biweekly student-led “astro-justice” discussion group on issues of social justice, equity and inclusivity in our department and in our field more broadly.

Feedback

The Climate Committee welcomes comments and suggestions from members of the department.  As well as the committee's direct email (astro-climate@princeton.edu) you can use the Anonymous Google Form. Alternatively, you can use this anonymous google form to send comments directly to Michael Strauss as Department Chair.  While these forms are anonymous, they require login to Google with your @princeton.edu email address.  This is the link if you need to create a Princeton Google account.  The form is monitored by the Committee Chair, and responses are by default shared with the members of the Climate Committee as listed above, unless requested otherwise. These department feedback mechanisms are not intended to displace any University policy or existing University-wide reporting mechanism.

Links to university and other resources

Princeton Women in Physics - https://wip.princeton.edu/
Princeton Undergraduate Women in Physics - https://phy.princeton.edu/department/women-physics 
Princeton Graduate School Access, Diversity and Inclusion Team - https://gradschool.princeton.edu/diversity
Student Affinity Groups - https://gradschool.princeton.edu/diversity/student-resources/student-affinity-groups
University Centers and Offices - https://gradschool.princeton.edu/diversity/student-resources/university-centers-and-offices
Astronomy and Astrophysics outlist  - https://astro-outlist.github.io 
Princeton University Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Initiative - https://gradschool.princeton.edu/diversity/pre-doctoral-fellowship-initiative