Diversity @ KICP
Diversity Policy of the KICP
The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago recognizes the value of diversity in all of its activities and for the scientific enterprise more broadly. The KICP strives to provide an environment that encourages the richer exchange of ideas that a diverse group of members enables. The KICP provides a welcoming and inclusive environment to all of its members: undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, senior researchers, faculty, short- and long-term visitors, and staff. In accordance with University policy, the KICP does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a physical or mental disability unrelated to ability, veteran status, military status, unfavorable discharge from military service, citizenship status, genetic information, marital status, parental status, ancestry, source of income, credit history, housing status, order of protection status, actual or perceived association with such a person or other protected classes under the law. The KICP also embraces and adheres to the University's policy on Freedom of Expression.

As part of providing a welcoming environment for all within the KICP, harassment will not be tolerated. The KICP is a part of the University of Chicago, which possesses a comprehensive and well-defined set of policies and procedures for dealing with unlawful harassment. The KICP adheres fully to these policies and all reported cases of unlawful harassment will be investigated and handled according to these policies.

Visitors play a vital role in the scientific mission of the KICP; some come as short or long-term members to collaborate or present talks; others attend KICP organized or sponsored conferences or workshops, which may be held on the UChicago campus or at nearby hotels or institutions (e.g., UChicago's Gleacher Center, Fermilab or Argonne). The KICP embraces the guidelines for scientific meetings set out in the American Astronomical Society's (AAS) Anti-Harassment Policy for Meetings and Activities. Cases of alleged harassment at KICP-sponsored conferences, workshops, or other similar events will be handled within the context and spirit of these guidelines with the role of the AAS being replaced by that of the KICP. All meeting participants will be informed of this policy in their invitation letter and will be asked to contact the KICP's Assistant Director (Ted Ressell) to report any instances of harassment encountered at a KICP hosted event. The Assistant Director will then direct the complaint to the correct person/group to ensure that it is investigated and followed up.

As it is part of the KICP, all activities of the NSF-sponsored Physics Frontier Center (Pushing Cosmology to the Edge) are subject to our diversity policy.
Diversity Plan of the KICP
The KICP recognizes the importance and value of diversity to its scientific, educational and outreach missions and, more broadly, to the science enterprise. The KICP thus seeks to increase the participation of women and under-represented minorities within the KICP and in the wider area encompassed by the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The KICP has developed programs and procedures to advance diversity in all of its activities and to increase the representation of, and to promote opportunities for, groups traditionally under-represented in Physics and Astronomy, especially women and under-represented minorities within the KICP and beyond. Many of these activities are funded by the Physics Frontiers Center (Pushing Cosmology to the Edge) at the KICP. Below is a summary of some of our current programs and procedures designed to promote diversity.
KICP Scientific activities including visitors and meetings
  • The KICP strives to create a welcoming, inclusive, diverse, and professional environment for all of its members and visitors as they further their scientific careers and is always open to suggestions for improving our environment.
  • Committees responsible for inviting speakers and visitors to the KICP are charged by the Director to strive for a group of individuals that represent the full diversity of our scientific discipline (gender, under-represented groups, geographic and institutional).
  • The organizers of KICP-sponsored Workshops and Conferences are similarly charged to strive for a diverse group of attendees, invited speakers and session chairs.
  • To the best of its abilities, the KICP keeps self-reported statistics on the demographics of participants at all of its events so that it can track progress in diversity and identify areas of concern.

Education and Outreach Programs
  • The KICP employs a full-time Director of Education, Outreach & Diversity (currently Randall Landsberg) who initiates, coordinates and monitors our activities in these areas.
  • The KICP is committed to working with under-represented minority (URM) students from the Chicago Public School System to build interest in pursuing further education and careers in STEM fields. Our primary activity in this area is the longstanding Space Explorers program, which provides inner city youth over 100 hours per year of contact time with KICP researchers seeking to increase the student's appreciation of science.
  • The KICP is committed to creating research opportunities for women and URM undergraduate students. The KICP supports undergraduate students for research assistantships throughout the year, including the summer. As in all KICP activities, diversity is a goal in choosing students to participate in these assistantships. The KICP has partnered with the University of Texas at El Paso, an institution which serves a primarily URM student body, bringing in undergraduates to the KICP to participate in a Summer Research program each year. The KICP partners with The University of Chicago's Department of Physics' Summer REU program, which also focuses on women and URM's, to provide Summer Research opportunities for students.
  • The KICP sponsors and participates in activities to promote the UChicago Society for Women in Physics and to support their mission of increasing opportunities for women in the physical sciences.
  • The KICP participates in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge program, which targets URM students. Graduate Students participate in KICP research projects for a summer, exposing them to top tier experimental projects which may not be available to them at their home institution. In some cases, these short-term projects grow into long-term partnerships, resulting in dissertations from the student's home institution but based upon their research at the KICP.
  • The KICP reaches beyond its boundaries through a broad array of programs, special events, and partnerships with the Adler Planetarium, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other local partners. These activities in the multi-cultural city that Chicago is reach many students (and their parents) and help to promote broader participation in STEM careers.
  • The KICP currently hosts NSF AAPF Fellow Daniel Grin whose outreach program focuses upon underserved senior's communities in the Chicago area.
  • NSF AAPF and KICP Fellow Jason Henning's outreach efforts focus upon demystifying the research process for broader audiences including museum visitors and staff, inner-city youth and social media viewers.
  • NSF AAPF Fellow Doug Watson has focused on evaluating and improving KICP public outreach efforts at the Adler Planetarium and on creating a STEM mentoring program for underserved inner-city youth.

Hiring and operations
  • The KICP makes its operating Committees as diverse as its scientific population permits.
  • The KICP considers diversity when evaluating candidates for the PFC-supported KICP Fellowships and strives to achieve a cohort of KICP Fellows that reflects the full diversity of our field and of the candidate pool.

Champion and exemplar for diversity on the UChicago campus and beyond
  • While the KICP does not have the ability to make faculty appointments, its members are drawn from academic departments (largely Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics) that do make faculty appointments. We believe that our attention to diversity within the KICP and at the workshops or conferences that the KICP sponsors, will make these units aware of the importance of diversity and the diverse pool of candidates that are available for faculty jobs and thus will ultimately serve to increase the diversity of the professorate at UChicago.
  • The KICP and its members strive to be an exemplar for the value of diversity and the ability to improve the diversity at The University of Chicago and beyond.