CSEE BIPOC Spotlight Library Microgrants

One barrier to entry of underrepresented minorities, including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour), into STEM is the shortage of visible models.  CSEE can help by drawing attention to BIPOC ecologists and evolutionary biologists.  This project will build a library of short videos by both emerging and established BIPOC scientists, and make that library available to university and K-12 instructors, youth groups, etc. across Canada.  By shining a spotlight on BIPOC models – who are underrepresented, but not absent – the library will create opportunities to support better representation in future.  It will also help our community diversify its teaching, its seminar series, and so on.  The program will also address another barrier to increasing BIPOC participation in science, which is financial; the library microgrants will provide direct remuneration plus no-cost membership and conference registration.

The microgrants

CSEE offers a microgrant to ecologists or evolutionary biologists who identify as BIPOC (up to the program’s budget limit).  A microgrant consists of $200 cash a free 2-year membership in the Society, and reimbursement of registration fees for one CSEE annual meeting within the 2 years following the award.

Microgrant recipients are asked to make two short videos of themselves:

  • One (2-3 min) video of them talking about who they are; what their current position is; how they got interested in E&E or their study system and (optionally) something about the path they’ve taken to their current position; and mentioning one exciting question in E&E they’d like to answer in their career.
  • The other (6-10 min) would include the same elements PLUS one question in E&E (big or small) that the recipient has answered, or is answering, in their work (not a Powerpoint, simply video of them).

The two videos constitute different resources for the community. The shorter videos will be appropriate for use at any level, and stress membership in the scientific community.  Because they are short, they will lend themselves well to being shown in combination.  The longer videos will be more appropriate for use in classes at the high school or postsecondary level, and demonstrate in addition contributions to knowledge.  It is perfectly appropriate for the content of an applicant’s shorter video to be reprised in the longer one – that is, we expect the two videos to overlap considerably.

Both videos should be pitched to a non-specialist audience – even if they are used in postsecondary ecology courses, a non-specialist pitch will make them accessible to all students. The editorial committee will supply advice on making a video like this (e.g. equipment, things to consider before/during filming, minor editing) and is happy to provide feedback or advice on proposed content, etc.  Applicants will also be connected with each other, when possible, so they can swap tips and experience.

All the videos will be shared on CSEE social media, hosted on the CSEE Youtube and made available on our web site for use in classes and presentations by professors, high-school teachers, outreach groups like Pint of Science, Let’s Talk Science, and youth groups like Scouting, etc.  CSEE will actively reach out to these organizations to publicize the video library.

Applying for a microgrant

Applicants should send a very brief proposal (no more than 200 words, describing very briefly the videos’ intended content) to the Chair of the Editorial Committee, peter.soroye@gmail.com.

Applicants should be members of CSEE, or non-members of CSEE who are Canadian or working or studying at a Canadian employer or institution.  Applicants are welcome from any career stage, but CSEE will seek to balance awardees between faculty, industry professionals, and students.  Should senior applicants wish to participate while waiving financial compensation, CSEE will use the budget room to recruit more early-career participants.

Editorial committee

CSEE Council will establish a committee of 3 Society members, at least 2 of them BIPOC, to provide guidance and insure that submissions align with the goals of the project.  It will report to the chair of the Awards Committee.  This is the same committee that will handle Resources Library submissions (see below).  BIPOC members of the editorial committee who do not serve on CSEE Council will receive a stipend for their service.

Budget

CSEE has budgeted $3000 in 2020 for this initiative (but we envision the project continuing into future years).  The cash payment portion of the microgrant is crucial, because it is unfair to ask BIPOC to do unpaid work to fix a problem that isn’t of their making. The cash amount is intended to represent fair market pay for the labour involved.

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CSEE BIPOC Resources Library Microgrants

One barrier to inclusivity for underrepresented minorities, including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour), in STEM is that most course materials lack representation of contributions from BIPOC. Similarly, most resources available for early-career researchers (or those mentoring them) do not reflect the experiences and additional challenges that BIPOC might face in STEM.  CSEE will commission the creation of two kinds of written materials: (1) articles highlighting research contributions of BIPOC researchers (worldwide, past or present) to E&E, that can be used as examples in undergraduate and/or K-12 curricula, and (2) articles written to help BIPOC navigate experiences in undergraduate or graduate school or in the field. Via our website and via direct outreach, CSEE will make these resources available to instructors, researchers, and departments of biology and cognate fields across Canada. The program will also address another barrier to increasing BIPOC participation in science, which is financial; the library microgrants will provide direct remuneration plus no-cost membership and conference registration.

The commissions

CSEE will commission the creation of (1) “Foundational research” articles and (2) “Navigating” articles.  While we suggest topics of interest below, CSEE is open to all proposals.

  1. “Foundational research” articles.
    • These will highlight foundational contributions by BIPOC researchers in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. An applicant might write about any BIPOC researcher, worldwide, past or present.
    • Articles should include appropriately licensed photos or other illustrations, and should be relevant to commonly covered topics in introductory biology, ecology, evolution, or conservation courses. Photos of living human subjects must have photo releases.
    • An article could emphasize a particular piece of research or a researcher’s career contributions.
    • We encourage contributions from non-BIPOC authors, but these will be on a volunteer basis (non-remunerated). We encourage all career stages to get involved.
  2. “Navigating” articles. These will provide guidance for BIPOC navigating common situations in ecology and evolution, whether in learning or research.
  • Articles could address navigating situations in field work as a BIPOC; navigating situations in undergraduate study as a BIPOC; or navigating situations in grad school as a BIPOC.
  • “Navigational” articles are authored by, and share the views of, BIPOC members. We encourage all career stages to get involved.

 “Foundational Research” essays should be 500-1000 words, and BIPOC contributors will be paid $200 per essay.  “Navigating” essays can be longer upon agreement of the editorial committee, and will be paid at the rate of $200 per 1,000 words.  These rates are competitive with open-market freelance writing rates.

Applying for a microgrant

Applicants should send a very brief proposal (no more than 200 words, describing the article’s intended content/message) to the Chair of the Editorial Committee, peter.soroye@gmail.com.

Applicants should be members of CSEE, or non-members of CSEE who are Canadian or working or studying at a Canadian employer or institution.  Applicants are welcome from any career stage, but CSEE will seek to balance awardees between faculty, industry professionals, and students.  Should senior applicants wish to participate while waiving financial compensation, CSEE will use the budget room to recruit more early-career participants.

Editorial committee

CSEE Council will establish a committee of 3 Society members, at least 2 of them BIPOC, to provide guidance and insure that submissions align with the goals of the project.  It will report to the chair of the Awards Committee.  This is the same committee that will handle Spotlight Library submissions (see above).  BIPOC members of the editorial committee who do not serve on CSEE Council will receive a stipend for their service.

Posting and promotion

Materials will be made available online as they are approved, with promotion on social media etc. Links will be periodically sent to CSEE membership, and created materials will be promoted during the CSEE annual meeting. Applications will be accepted year- round (until all budgeted grants are awarded).

“Navigating” essays will have a two-week public comment period, after which the author would be asked to make any appropriate revisions. Public comment will help each article reflect multiple voices and lived experiences, without diminishing the experiences of the main author.

Budget

CSEE has budgeted $3000 in 2020 for this initiative (but we envision the project continuing into future years).  The cash payment portion of the microgrant is crucial, because it is unfair to ask BIPOC to do unpaid work to fix a problem that isn’t of their making. The cash amount is intended to represent fair market pay for the labour involved.

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2020 CSEE AGM

CSEE Council will hold the Annual General Meeting June 22 at 11 am-12:30 pm PDT (2 pm-3:30 pm EDT) over Zoom.

Our current By-Laws do not allow for an AGM by electronic means, and so CSEE council has moved two changes to the Bylaws to allow for an electronic meeting.

Please see the following items for discussion at the 2020 AGM:

1. Minutes from the 2019 AGM in Fredericton
2. Two (2) proposed changes to the By-Laws, and one change to the Standing Rules.

Agenda and Zoom invite for the 2020 AGM to follow by email.

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The inaugural winner of The President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement!!

Here’s happy news for a change…

The CSEE is delighted to announce that the inaugural winner of The President’s Award for Excellence in Societal Engagement is …. drum roll please….

Dr Justina Ray!!!!

Dr. Ray is the co-founderay_headshot2018r, president, and senior scientist of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada. She is an indefatigable advocate for caribou. She has played key roles in strengthening federal impact assessment and in the conceptual development and identification of Key Biodiversity Areas in Canada. She is also an exceptional mentor who is helping to train the next generation of Canadian conservation scientists.

Congratulations Dr Ray!

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CSEE members lead engagement with Species At Risk Act regulation updates

CSEE Biodiversity and Conservation Committee

Environment and Climate Change Canada posted a suite of draft policies related to the implementation of the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  The public consultation period on these policies is open until March 31st 2017. A working group comprising  CSEE members Jeannette Whitton, Jeremy Kerr, Scott Findlay, Sarah Otto, Jeff Hutchings, and Arne Mooers authored and submitted a policy critique which is available as a pdf here.

While noting that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has recognized some of the problems and has taken initiatives to address them through the proposed policy suite, their analysis identified a number of limitations in the proposed policy suite that they judge will continue to reduce the efficacy of SARA.

To follow up, contact Jeannette Whitton, chair of the CSEE Biodiversity and Conservation Committee.

 

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Make a difference: Run for CSEE Council!

Do you want to advance the profile of ecology, evolution, and conservation in Canada? Do you want to get things done on behalf of the broader community? Do have ideas, energy and a little bit of time?  Then run for CSEE Council!

The positions

With four Council members nearing the end of their terms, the Society for Ecology and Evolution is now seeking nominations for the positions of:

  1. Secretary
  2. Regular Councillor 1
  3. Regular Councillor 2
  4. Graduate Student Councillor

What the jobs entail

Councillors contribute to directing the business of the CSEE and advise the Executive Council as to how to advance the purposes of the CSEE.  These positions are not unduly time-consuming.  At the minimum, they involve two council meetings a year (in December and at the CSEE spring/summer meeting).  Councillors are occasionally asked to vote on proposals (via email) and every councillor joins at least one sub-committee (Membership, Awards, Outreach, Biodiversity & Conservation, Newsletter, or Website).  Regular Councillors are appointed for a  three-year term; Graduate Student Councillors, for a two-year term.

The Secretary is member of the Executive Council, and as such, has more responsibilities. These include communication with the membership, keeping the records and archives of the Society and the list of members, giving notice of Council meetings and the General Business meetings, administering elections, taking minutes of the Council meetings and the General Business meetings and distributing these to the Council. The Secretary is appointed for three years.

We expect Council members to become the CSEE spokesperson for their institution, which means sending the occasional internal email to advertise our summer conference or other activities.

The perks?

Being on Council is a great opportunity to play an active role in the largest scientific society in Canada – one that advocates for the importance of ecology, evolution and conservation. Of course, it also looks great on your CV, and you get to know and hang out with the rest of the cool people on the Council.

The positions are voluntary, but the CSEE provides financial help to the Graduate Student Councillor to attend the council meetings.  You have to be a CSEE member to serve on Council.

How to nominate yourself (or someone else) and nomination deadline

It’s dead easy! Email a short bio (7-10 lines about you, what you will bring to the CSEE, and what you hope to accomplish) and a headshot to the CSEE Vice-President (Isabelle Côté, imcote@sfu.ca). You can nominate someone else (if they agree).

Nominations will be accepted until 7 December 2016.

Election timeline

The nominations will be posted on the CSEE website soon after the deadline.  Elections will be held in March 2017.  New positions start at the Annual General Meeting (in May 2017).

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Policy news and updates from the CSEE President

Policy news and opportunities

by Jeremy Kerr, President

CSEE researchers at all career stages can participate in communicating their research to the public and to policy-makers but there have been challenges in bringing evidence to public and policy discussions. Remarkably, the scientific community is now being asked to add its voice to three federal consultations that are currently underway. To the extent that members have felt excluded from federal discussions in the past, these consultations represent an opportunity to make our voices heard.

It is an opportunity to put forward our best ideas. Please consider submitting something to these reviews.

Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

Minister of Science, Dr. Kirsty Duncan, has launched a panel to review the whole science funding landscape in Canada. Whether you are a student, postdoc, new or established researcher, your voice can matter. How should fundamental research evolve? The portal for submissions can be found at: http://www.examenscience.ca/ (French page) or http://www.sciencereview.ca (English page).

The Innovation Review

The second review at Innovation, Science, and Economic Development includes areas where members may wish to contribute (notably “Global Science Excellence”, and “World-leading Clusters and Partnerships” but other areas may also interest members). Please see: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/fra/accueil (French) or http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/home (English) for more information.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Ideas for how to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts can be submitted to: http://parlonsactionpourleclimat.ca/ (French) or http://letstalkclimateaction.ca/ (English).

Gender diversity and equity

The society’s longstanding commitment to our Symposium for Women Entering Ecology and Evolution Today (SWEEET) has provided a forum in which these issues have been discussed since 2008. SWEEET will continue to be an essential part of our Annual General Meetings. Yet, CSEE does not have formal policies around gender diversity and equity. It is time to have a broader conversation around this topic. To this end, I will encourage a representative group to consider best practices in other scientific societies and to suggest the key ingredients for a CSEE position. We hope to be able to discuss this issue at the December meeting of council, but it is up to members to engage. If interested to be part of such a group, which might meet virtually over the coming months, please contact the President: Jeremy Kerr, jkerr@uottawa.ca.

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