Explore the Academy's efforts to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in our offices, on the museum floor, and everywhere we do science.
We believe firmly that the Academy cannot be successful in regenerating the natural world unless we foster a healthy, regenerative environment—and we remain committed that this work must start in our own house.
At the start of 2021, the Academy welcomed The Mosaic Collaborative (TMC) on board as consultants and partners in guiding our work to understand and identify the needs and opportunities within our institution, build a measurable action plan for integrating DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access) into all facets of the Academy’s culture and strategy, and scale up how we measure progress, set meaningful goals, and ensure accountability as part of this critical, multi-year work.
Beginning this past summer, TMC has held monthly workshops with staff addressing issues that help foster a deeper understanding and dialogue around complex societal and cultural concepts. Learn more about the Academy staff workshops here.
From February through July of this year, TMC worked with staff and volunteers from across the Academy on an organization-wide listening tour. This comprehensive process, including an array of listening sessions and a comprehensive survey, was designed to capture candid and anonymous input from staff and volunteers across all levels, departments, roles, and tenures.
This listening tour included many personal perspectives, opinions, and experiences bravely and openly shared by Academy staff, and several themes emerged that demonstrate that this critical work must start internally. While some of the feedback and findings outlined in TMC’s report are difficult, they are reflective of the challenging conversations that must take place in order to make meaningful progress—and we will not shy away from these conversations and the actions necessary to correct them.
- All staff interviewed expressed a desire for increasing staff diversity and equity, together with inclusion of marginalized groups such as BIMPOC (Black, Indigenous, Mixed-race People of Color), transgender and gender nonconforming people, and people who are immigrants.
- Many staff members expressed a desire for change in our organizational culture and policies, with increased attention to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at almost every level—recruiting, hiring, retention, grievance, follow-through, promotion, and furloughs.
- Staff frequently referenced challenges like excessive hierarchy, siloed departments, a culture of secrecy and fear, and discrimination and harassment in the workplace. At the Academy, we have zero tolerance for any form of discrimination or harassment. All complaints are investigated thoroughly and brought to resolution. The process for reporting a complaint or concern will continue to be re-communicated to staff and volunteers regularly, to ensure all staff are aware of how to report and escalate a concern.
- Several also expressed a feeling that DEIA efforts until very recently have been performative. Others argued that the Academy is rooted in a White supremacist culture, and is not inviting or equitable towards people of all identity markers. Several staff members explicitly called out such behaviors as gatekeeping, hoarding power, punitive practices, paternalism, defensiveness, dismissiveness, deceitfulness, abuse, and gaslighting, and expressed extreme fear of retaliation.
- Several expressed their belief that a fair, equitable, and accessible future for the Academy lies in organizational restructuring, training at every level, and a commitment from senior staff.