OCPD's Academic Career Resources for Countering Systemic Inequity

Help counter systemic inequities in academia

These OCPD Academic Career programs can help fortify your efforts and create an action plan to stop perpetuating inequity in academia.

For the past six years, the OCPD has developed academic career programs to help trainees navigate and counter inequities in academia. 

They include programs that 1) equip trainees to navigate professional situations that are not sufficiently inclusive (navigating inequities) and 2) prepare trainees, as current mentors and future faculty and managers, to teach, hire, train, and supervise their own trainees inclusively (countering inequities).

All of these programs offer practical, actionable solutions to change the way we teach and mentor in academia, in an effort to build a more diverse scientific workforce.

Navigating Inequity as a Trainee

If you are a graduate student or a postdoctoral scholar, you may feel you need support to navigate the inequities you are experiencing. The Manage Up programs will help you at multiple steps in your professional development:

Choosing the right place to work:

The first step to success starts with identifying a workplace that is the right fit for you and your values, and assessing whether it is inclusive of all trainees. Whether you are choosing your thesis lab, your postdoc lab, or changing labs, there are steps you can take to ensure the environment is inclusive, and supportive of your career goals.

Asking for clarity and transparency: 

Clarifying expectations is key to any healthy professional relationship, but it is particularly vital to leveling the playing field between trainees and to mitigating biases for those who make important hiring or promotion decisions. Whether you are looking for a postdoctoral position or preparing for a faculty position, you will want to request transparency and clarity around training expectations.

  1. Know where you are going:
    Start by exploring your faculty career options with our Exploring and Preparing for Faculty Careers workshop.
  2. Find out how to get there: 
    The ACRA (Academic Career Readiness Assessment) brings some transparency to the faculty hiring process. Use the ACRA to find out what faculty look for when they are hiring, and then use it to develop your training plan.
  3. Have a conversation with your current (or future) advisor: 
    Go over your career goals and your training plan with your mentor to let them know what your goals are, and to hear if they align with their expectations. If you are concerned about having the conversation, find out how to discuss your career goals with your research mentor.

Balancing power differentials:

If you find that the power dynamics with your advisor or PI come in the way of having difficult conversations with them or hinder your progress towards your career goals, you will need to build a solid network of mentors, and learn to manage relationships across power differentials.

Make your exit if needed:

If you want to consider another more inclusive environment but are concerned about the impact on your academic career, schedule a counseling appointment with us. Our conversations are confidential and our counselors have experience navigating complex career situations.

Countering Inequity as a Research Mentor or Teacher

If you are in a position that involves mentoring or teaching students (or will be in the future), your action plan should include learning to manage the power involved in these roles and learning to use practices that have been demonstrated to be inclusive of all students.

Becoming an inclusive research mentor: 

Our team has developed a novel, more comprehensive framework to describe the role of a research mentor and training that provides practical approaches to become an inclusive research mentor.

  1. Change your mindset:Graphic illustrating that the Academic Career Development programs at OCPD focus on raising awareness, developing knowledge and building skills.
    Look closer into the three roles of a research mentor, the power they confer to the mentor, and the inclusive practices that they require in this peer-reviewed article authored by our team.
  2. Learn the theory:
    Attend our 4-workshop TRAIN-UP Introduction to Mentoring program, and learn about evidence-based practices in hiring, training, and supervising that will help you counter your biases and successfully work with scientists who are not you.
  3. Build the skills:
    Practice applying the principles you have learned with the UCSF-CCSF Inclusive Mentoring Fellows hands-on experience in inclusive mentoring with interns from City College of San Francisco.

Becoming an inclusive educator in the classroom:

  1. Change your mindset:
    Watch this video series developed by iBiology under the leadership of three experts in evidence-based scientific teaching.
  2. Learn the theory:
    Attend our 4-workshop STEP-UP Introduction to Pedagogy program, and learn about evidence-based practices that result in deeper learning, better engagement, and higher success rates for students of diverse backgrounds.
  3. Build the skills:
    Practice applying these principles through one of our teaching residencies.

About these programs:
As part of the OCPD Academic Career Development program mission to develop future faculty who represent diverse backgrounds and experiences and who can support the development of new generations of scientists from all backgrounds, our office has been developing resources that enable students and postdocs to counter systemic inequity for over six years.