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.
The Department of Astrophysical Science has prepared an action plan to remove the barriers within the department limiting the number of Black, Latinx, and other under-represented minorities (URM) who become astrophysicists. The first version of the plan was produced in October 2020 based on department-wide discussions on actions we can take; the version linked here reflects updates in May 2022. The work described in the plan is coordinated by Professor Jenny Greene as the department’s Equity and Inclusion Coordinator. This plan will be updated regularly.
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), Michael Strauss (ex-officio as dept chair)
Jo Dunkley, Jeremy Goodman (faculty)
Eden Girma, Rodrigo Córdova (grad students)
Savannah Pobre, Kate Macakanja (undergrads)
Polly Strauss, Mami Akiyama (staff)
Chang Hahn, Teji Sharma (post-docs), Tea Temim (research scholars)
You can contact us on [email protected], 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 [email protected].
Previous committee members include Josh Winn (Faculty), Sean Johnson, Evan Schneider, Adrian Price-Whelan, Ahmad Nehmer, Rémy Joseph, Matthew Coleman, Allison Strom (post-docs); Goni Halevi, Roohi Dalal (grad students), Camille Liotine, Emma Louden, Juliana Pulsinelli, Sinclaire Jones, Satuye Lacayo (undergrads).
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.
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."
We are committed to increasing the inclusivity of our department and have taken the following steps to do so:
Equity Programs and Activities
We are a participating university in the National Astronomy Consortium (NAC) program, which offers summer research experiences for students from demographics under-represented in Astronomy.
We offer a pre-doctoral fellowship, which provides an extra year of preparation for promising graduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
In collaboration with the Physics and Geosciences Departments and the Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, we have instituted the Future Faculty in the Physical Sciences postdoctoral fellowship, to promote exceptional scholars with unique backgrounds and insights, whose work will contribute to the promotion of groups that have been historically, and are presently, under-represented in physics and related fields.
We support the activities of the TiCUP (Towards an Inclusive Community of Undergraduate Physicists) and the Women in Physics groups at Princeton University.
We have a regular presence at annual meetings of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP).
We are building a scientific partnership with the Physics Department of Delaware State University, a Minority-Serving Institution within two hours drive of Princeton.
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.
The Climate Committee welcomes comments and suggestions from members of the department. As well as the committee's direct email ([email protected]) 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.
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
2023 Prize Winners: Rodrigo Córdova, Graduate Student, Class of 2024, Roohi Dalal, Graduate Student, Class of 2024, and Polly Strauss, Academic Program Administrator, read about their contributions to the department here.
2022 Prize Winners: Goni Halevi, Graduate Student, Class of 2022, Erin Flowers, Graduate Student, Class of 2022, and Sinclaire Jones, Undergraduate Student, Class of 2022, read about their contributions to the department here.