Ocean Currents 1/12/21
From the Director
Last week was a difficult one. I recognize that national events impact our ability to accomplish things in our academic lives, and I hope that you are all coping and managing to find a way to be productive and move your personal education and research forward in spite of national tensions. I believe brighter days are ahead.
I want to take a moment to reflect on the actvities of the School since May of 2020, when I first became acutely aware of some of the deep imperfections in our School. We, the faculty and administration of the School, have taken time to learn from and evaluate the letters sent to us by our trainees (graduate students, postdocs, undergraduates) and we have moved some things forward. Others remain for the future. Progress has at times has seemed slow, but there is growth, and recognition, of the work that is in front of us if we want our School to be a welcoming place for all oceanographers regardless of their backgrounds or unique situations.
Accomplishments by members of the School, and committees within the School, include our postdocs and grad students starting and maintaing the Race Talks sessions, and the DEI committee working to establish best practices for faculty hiring (now being expanded for all hiring). The Faculty Council has released the first draft of an approach to improve mentoring in our School that includes new ideas for soliciting and implementing feedback. Faculty received mentoring training this past fall and the School has committed to annual training opportunites. We also participated in our first annual culture survey (sorry for the delay in getting the report out, but the data remains available on the website). I'm proud to be part of a community that has come together to try and improve itself, even if the process is at times painful and slow.
If you want to participate more directly and haven't yet found a way to do so, just send me an email and I'll help you find the right place to make an impact. Together we are going to make our School #1 in every way imaginable.
Afloat: Work/Life Balance
This week we highlight Assistant Professor Randie Bundy who, in addition to being a wonderful member of our academic community, finds time for an amazing array of outdoor activities including surfing and hiking. Congrats on hiking a portion of Blewett Pass this weekend. For those who don't know, Blewett Pass is part of the old Yellowstone Trail, debated to be the first transcontinental road in the US, running from Plymouth, MA, to Seattle. The Lincoln Highway was also charted at the same time, and that road runs from New York to San Francisco. I think we can all agree that the Yellowstone route is the best one!
We will continue to highlight some of the personal accomplishments submitted by your fellow oceanographers. We need more submissions. A call will go out soon or you can email Michelle Townsend at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is not too late to participate in the Winter Quarter Race Talk meetings. This quarter the meetings focus on issues related to Indigenous Identity, Sovereignty, and History, and how these intersect with our work in the academy. Meetings are bi-weekly on Mondays at 11 a.m., and the next one will be January 25th. As part of our work this quarter, each person will read one book over the course of the quarter and participate in discussions related to that book with other participants reading the book, and report out to the rest of the group on what they are learning. To participate, please register for the meetings here. You can see the book options (and sign up to read one) here. All of these books are available for free from the UW Library.
If you would like to see examples of what we have discussed in previous meetings, you are more than welcome to look in our Google folder, where we have compiled resources and slides (with notes) from previous meetings.
As we adjust to a difficult new normal, how to help ourselves and others can be unclear. Here’s a resource provided by the UW that may be of help: Working during COVID-19/Caring for self and family/Self care.