Our vision is to establish Stony Brook University at the forefront of data and computing in science, engineering, the arts and humanities by advancing vibrant interdisciplinary research and education programs, providing broad leadership across SBU and SUNY, and delivering economic benefit to New York State.
To realize our vision, IACS faculty and students will pursue leadership in our academic disciplines through the development, dissemination, and facilitation of computation, including high-performance computing, simulation, and data science. IACS-affiliated researchers collaborate on high-impact, interdisciplinary problems with application scales spanning from laptops to supercomputers and the cloud. On campus, IACS will advance Stony Brook University through multiple actions including provision of world-class computing resources and staff, eliminating barriers through support and training for students and faculty, and our strong commitment to diversity. Beyond campus, IACS seeks international recognition for excellence in both research and multidisciplinary training of new generations of researchers.
IACS Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (May 2022)
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are foundation stones for IACS. The National Science Foundation reports  that African Americans (or Blacks), American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics (or Latinos), Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented at many career stages. Individuals from these groups are underrepresented when compared to their age-cohorts in science-baccalaureate earners, among science-PhD earners, and in the workforce overall. Women and members of the LBGTQ+ communities are also underrepresented in many disciplines, and all underrepresented groups face discrimination and inequity. These disparities are exaggerated within elements of the computer and computational science disciplines and career paths, which are of special interest to IACS.
All IACS activities and investments already emphasize both DEI and excellence, and we have committed, for example, funds and resources toward the creation of pathways for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students from underrepresented and minority backgrounds to engage in computational science. However, since IACS spans multiple units and programs on campus, much of our work must be in partnership with others. Unfortunately, an honest assessment of our status is that, despite our sincere efforts to date, we have not significantly changed the status quo on campus. Despite Stony Brook University’s mission for socioeconomic advancement, our university’s statistics are mostly just average when compared with peer institutions. Thus, while working with campus leadership to drive broader change, we must also focus on specific attainable objectives. There is much more work to be done and a great deal of learning and growth that must take place in order to create an inclusive community for all.
Our plan focuses on three high-level objectives:
- Increase the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty through enhanced recruitment;
- Support the success of students, staff, and faculty by eliminating barriers to participation, and through mentoring and professional development; and
- Promote an inclusive culture within IACS that values diversity, including establishing policies, procedures, and structures to support and enable our vision.
For each of these we provide more details including metrics, targets, and concrete actions.
Goal 1: Increasing diversity
Our long-term commitment is that IACS reflects the composition of our larger society.
Metrics and targets: Over the next 5 years, we aim for the diversity of our student body to be in the top 10% of those on campus, and to have at least a half of all IACS faculty/staff searches result in diverse hires with a specific goal of increasing the number of faculty of color and the number of women participating in computationally-oriented research and scholarship.
- Partner with leaders on campus including the Office of the Vice President of Equity and Inclusion (OVPEI), Enrollment Management (EM), the Stony Brook WISE program, and the Center for Inclusive Education (CIE) to grow the number of URM graduate students and postdoctoral trainees at IACS, with an emphasis on both diversity and excellence. We will explore providing fee/tuition waivers to address economic barriers to advanced degrees.
- IACS will continue to support 50% of a Diversity Outreach Coordinator (dependent upon available budget and impact) to act as both a liaison and recruiter. OVPEI and EM have already committed to this joint position, continuing the previous position joint with CIE. IACS will also continue to pay for IACS members to participate in recruiting events (e.g., trips to University of Puerto Rico, Richard Tapia conference, SACNAS, and local colleges).
- We will partner and coordinate with academic units on admissions processes to promote recruitment and admission of computationally-oriented URM students. Elimination of relevant barriers is discussed below.
- The IACS New Recruit and Junior Researcher Awards, the IACS Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowships, and other recruiting mechanisms will be evaluated, modified, and re-implemented as necessary to best serve these goals.
- Especially aiming to increase the number of faculty of color and the number of women participating in computationally-oriented research and scholarship, IACS will actively work with the Provost’s office and academic units to create and execute multiple pathways and opportunities to recruit and retain URM faculty. We will explore coordinating the IACS Postdoctoral Fellowship with an expanded version of the CAS IDEAS Fellowship. IACS has already contributed $20K startup funds for the very first IDEAS Fellow who will also be appointed as an IACS Affiliate. We will ensure a diverse applicant pool for academic and staff positions including by advertising on job boards of BIPOC focused professional organizations.
- Through and with on-campus partners we will strive to create and sustain strong K-12, university and industry partnerships to engage students from all backgrounds and ability levels, including creating pipelines for URM students into computational disciplines and careers. IACS will expand our two summer camps for high school students (IACS Computes! and Summer Youth Camp for Computational Linguistics, SYCCL) that include fee waivers as needed. We will explore expanding and redirecting our COVID-era online activities for K-12 enrichment to increase access and participation. IACS will expand partnerships with local high schools, and will resume pre-COVID in-person visits.
Goal 2: Supporting success
Our students, faculty and staff should thrive and experience that IACS works proactively to support their success as well as their personal and professional growth.
Metrics and targets: Over the next 5 years we aim for our student graduation and retention rates to be in the top 10% of those on campus. Our surveys of IACS staff, faculty, and students including alumni should provide strong evidence of their engagement and positive perceptions.
- IACS is committed to removing barriers for URM students, staff and faculty. Some recognized barriers include lack of academic preparation, financial hardship, admissions requirements especially for doctoral programs, lack of suitable mentors, and stereotype threat. Partnering with the graduate school and CIE, we will work directly with each collaborating department and graduate program to address barriers specific to each program, elevating solutions to be institute wide where possible.
- Building upon the graduate student surveys, the Professional Development Program will be continually refined and adapted to the changing needs of our community. This course of 10 career and 10 technical classes provides graduate students with the soft and technical skills necessary to be successful in their science professions. Elements to build an inclusive community and address other barriers will be woven throughout PDP.
- We will expand our program of internships and alumni visits, with an emphasis on minority students, to assist in creating career pathways and to address multiple barriers in entering the workforce.
- The IACS graduate student association will receive at least $5K/year to support inclusive events directed towards community-building and student success, and the leader of the association will participate in staff and faculty monthly meetings and the annual retreat. The committee works closely with the IACS Educational Program Manager including to weave inclusion throughout all program elements.
- IACS will complete its roll out of the 3-mentor model and will formally assign peer and faculty mentors to all students when they enter IACS. All current and incoming IACS Core and Affiliate Faculty who are advising graduate students will complete the mentoring workshop developed for STRIDE/IACS by Dr. Christine O'Connell (formerly of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science) and Dr. Jennifer McCauley.
Goal 3: Promoting an inclusive culture
IACS will ensure it fairly supports all members, of all backgrounds, genders, ethnicities, and sexualities, so that they feel they can succeed, are heard and empowered, and are actively engaged with leadership.
Metrics and targets: Our surveys of IACS staff, faculty, and students including alumni should provide strong evidence of their engagement and positive perceptions.
- IACS will implement an outcome-oriented and data-driven approach to establishing all elements of this plan, including establishing an annual survey(s) of students, staff and faculty (as well as finer-grain surveys of events and communities) to inform formative assessment of our programs. This will build upon success in using these tools in our STRIDE program, and will assist in tracking outcomes of expenditures and future planning.
- The Diversity Outreach Coordinator serves as a co-Chair of the IACS DEI Initiatives Committee of faculty, staff, and current graduate students that reports to the Leadership Team. The committee will meet regularly to review all ongoing and planned activities for alignment with our DEI objectives including retention, and to propose new activities. All programs and activities will be examined. For instance, IACS Seed Grant Funding applications might be required to describe broader impacts and how projects will contribute to diversity and/or inclusion within the lab, academic department, the IACS and the discipline, with additional funds available to support such efforts
- The Diversity Outreach Coordinator serves on the IACS recruiting committee, reporting to the IACS Leadership Team.
- IACS will evaluate, formalize, and expand its program in diversity and inclusion, building on prior activities directed towards persons of color, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, and women. Prior events include STRIDE-Con sessions directed towards inclusion and the LGBTQ+ panel event that provided an intimate setting for sharing lived experiences, finding support, and learning.
- All IACS staff, faculty and students will participate in implicit bias training offered by the university, with this training being repeated/expanded for those responsible for leadership, recruiting, or admissions . For IACS Faculty serving on admissions committees, this will provide resources to educate and reduce instances of bias in the review and evaluation of graduate applications from underrepresented and graduate applications from domestic, diverse candidates.
- IACS will include in core faculty performance evaluation their participation activities directed towards increasing inclusion and diversity, and ensuring the success of underrepresented students, staff, and faculty. For instance, an in-person or virtual college visit, attendance at a national conference such as the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, assisting with the coordination of a recruitment or research talk by initiating connections with prominent faculty in the field, serving on the admissions committee within their academic department, and advocating for IACS recruits in the admissions review and selection process. Essentially, in one's service to their discipline, IACS faculty should be including DEI activities, and that service to one's community will represent part of one's IACS evaluation. We will create a set of metrics for the evaluation that will be discussed with Faculty and their home departments.
- We will add a session to the PDP that enhances cross-cultural understanding and communication skills (being sensitive not singling out the female and URM graduate students), as well as educating domestic and international students on how to be an ally for diversity and inclusion in their respective fields.
- We will identify key performance indicators for self-assessment, for comparison with similar organizations, and to make data actionable.
 Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation, 2019.