Diversity, Inclusion & Power Dynamics

Diversity, Inclusion & Power Dynamics

faculty talkingSince the 2017-2018 academic year, DIBS has supported seminars and symposia on timely topics related specifically to increasing diversity and translating that diversity into authentic inclusion in neuroscience, as well as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.

Our first programs grew out of a grassroots effort led by junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows to discuss gender-equity issues in the Duke neuroscience community. DIBS subsequently received a Faculty Advancement Seed Grant from the Duke Office for Faculty Advancement to pursue equity issues more formally. The award letter noted the proposed programming, “exemplifies the innovative and promising faculty development activity that the seed grant program is meant to support.”

In March 2020, COVID-19 restrictions required significant programming alterations. The planning group quickly pivoted to virtual events addressing the new, stressful realities for faculty, students, and staff. Since the first DIBS workshops, more than 500 individuals have participated in one or more in-person or virtual programs. Pre- and post-session surveys indicate that most attendees felt they gained knowledge about the subject matter covered. We are pleased Faculty Advancement continues to support the now-annual series. 

DIBS also collaborates with other campus groups looking at equity issues. One of those is Scientists Promoting Equity and Knowledge (SPEAK), a group of early-career researchers at Duke University who are committed to grappling with issues of equity and power in academia and promoting a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment. We are supported by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology & Neuroscience, and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. You can learn more about SPEAK here, and in this Nature Careers article.

2021-2022 Events

  • October 6, 9:30-11:30 a.m. OR November 8, 2:00-4:00 p.m, held virtually. "Rx Racial Healing Circles facilitated by the Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation." Please join us for an Rx Racial Healing Circle to promote racial healing and relationship-building. Participants will engage in a storytelling experience to work toward dismantling racism by embracing our common humanity. Advance registration is required; please click HERE to register.

  • November 18, 10:00-11:00 a.m, held virtually. "Equity in Action: Leading From Where You Are." Speakers will lead participants in a reflective experience to promote growth as equity-minded leaders and practitioners. During the session, participants will learn strategies to lead equity efforts from their current roles, positions, and individual equity journeys. Presented by Courtnea Rainey, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Assessment and Evaluation, The Graduate School at Duke University; Angela Davis, Ed.D., Vice President, Chief Talent and Equity Officer, Durham Technical Community College; and Abraham Dones, M.S., Assistant Dean & Registrar, Durham Technical Community College. Advance registration is required; please click HERE to register.

  • January 19, 2022, 1:30-3:00 p.m, virtual and in person, location TBA. "Point of Reckoning Panel Discussion." Theodore D. Segal, author of Point of Reckoning: The Fight for Racial Justice at Duke UniversitySegal will share his research and reflections on the 1969 protests for racial justice at Duke. Following his talk, an expert panel moderated by Adriane Lentz-Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of History and scholar of the Civil Rights Movement, will discuss the past and current perspectives on racial equity and inclusion at Duke.

The event will be held in Penn Pavilion from 1:30 to 3:00 pm, with a book signing and time for continued conversation following. Zoom link will be available for those unable to join in person. Please register in advance here for in person or virtual attendance.

Point of Reckoning can be downloaded for free from DukeSpace (PDF) or Amazon (Kindle) and hard copies are available from Duke University Press (use code E21SEGAL for a 30% discount) or wherever books are sold. A document containing highlights, key topics and excerpts to guide readers through the book is available here.


Spring 2021 Virtual Events

  • March 10, 1-2:30 p.m. "Enhancing Leadership Behaviors for Efficiency & Effectiveness in the Lab." Sim Sitkin, PhD, Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics, Duke's Fuqua School of Business. People become academic scientists based on their technical excellence, research productivity, and knowledge of the field.  Yet there is almost no preparation for a research career that draws upon scientific studies of what makes effective leadership in getting the work done.   This session will focus on specific leader behaviors that have been found to have predictable effects on team members.  The framework of the session is based on rigorous research, but the focus will be on practical, easily implemented actions that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of lab leadership. Advance registration is required; please click HERE to register.

Spring/Summer 2020 Virtual Events 

Dr. Sip presents a DIBS virtual seminar.

April 27, "Coping with COVID-19." Led by Melissa Segal, planning team member, trained social worker, Neurobiology senior business manager and diversity and inclusion leader.

  • May 15, "Effective Leadership during Trying Times." Neuroscientist Kamila Sip, PhD, Director of Neuroscience Research at NeuroLeadership Institute, discussed science-based strategies for leaders during this interactive Zoom presentation.

In June 2020, Melissa Segal facilitated follow-up group discussions on three topics: Inclusion Matters, Maintaining Balance (at home and work), and Addressing Power Dynamics



Spring 2020 In-person Workshops

Picture of Inclusion and Power Dynamics promotion postcard

  • Jan. 31, 3-4 p.m., Soc/Psych 130 (Zener) "Bullying in Academic Science," Sherry Moss, PhD, Organizational Studies, Wake Forest  University 
  • Feb. 24, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., DIBS Multipurpose Room, B035, Levine Science Research Center. "Enhancing Leadership Behaviors for Efficiency & Effectiveness in the Lab," Sim Sitkin, PhD, Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics, Duke's Fuqua School of Business
  • March 3, 8:30-10 a.m., DIBS Multipurpose Room. "Promoting Equity through Allyship: Exploring Bias Literacy, Power Mapping," Lamercie Saint-Hilaire, MD, Family Medicine & Community Health, Duke School of Medicine
  • POSTPONED due to COVID-19 restrictions: "Training Bystanders to Respond Effectively to Harassment Incidents," Ada Gregory, MA, Duke Student Ombudsperson and Associate Director, Duke's Kenan Institute for Ethics. 


Stephen Lisberger, PhD, Professor and Chair of Neurobiology in the School of Medicine, participates in a Theater Delta workshop.

Fall 2019 Workshop Series
  • Navigating Difficult Conversations from a Low-Power Position--Speaking persuasively and effectively, and approaching disagreements with positive expectations. Gina Rogers & Don Shortslef, Duke Learning & Organization Development
  • Mentoring Diverse Groups: How to Bring Out the Best in All"--Skills for all mentors: active listening, providing constructive feedback, recognizing and mitigating bias, and maximizing equity and inclusion. Facilitator: Leonor Corsino, MD, MHS, Office for Faculty Mentoring, Duke School of Medicine. 
Spring 2019 Workshop Series
  • Interactive workshops on “How to Be an Effective Ally,” led by Theater Delta, a local acting troupe dedicated to social-equity programming. These were designed for faculty and students/trainees/staff, respectively.
  • March 1 seminar featuring Damian Stanley, PhD, Psychology, from Adelphi University: “20+ Years of  Implicit Bias Research—Behavior, the Brain, and Open Questions”
Fall 2018 Workshop Series
  • Duke Resources for Dealing with Unprofessional Behavior in All Its Forms
  • Interactive Session on Power Dynamics with Theater Delta
  • Having Those ‘Difficult’ Conversations, facilitated by Dr. Ann Brown, Vice Dean for Faculty, Duke School of Medicine, and Dr. Cathie Siders, a psychologist specializing in organizational consulting and executive coaching.

DIBS also supports other organizations by publicizing to the DIBS community research symposia focused on women and underrepresented minorities:

  • 2018 Annual Symposium hosted by Duke's Women in Science and Engineering, “STEM Equity and Access: Increasing Diversity in Senior Positions in Academia and Beyond,” April 29.
  • The inaugural “Women of Color Research Network Annual Symposium,” May 31, 2018, at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, in Research Triangle Park.

Junior Faculty, Postdocs Led the Way

Rosa Li

DIBS junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows began the discussions on gender-equity issues in the Duke neuroscience community. Early organizers were Professors Jennifer Groh, PhD, and Greg Samanez-Larkin, PhD, Psychology & Neuroscience; Assistant Professor Kathryn Dickerson, PhD, and Postdoctoral Associate Shabnam Hakimi, PhD. DIBS Chief Operating Officer Nicole Schramm-Sapyta, PhD, helps lead the group.

Tweet from Rosa Li, PhD, then a DIBS postdoctoral associate, (in photo at right), after initial session: "Great that @DukeBrain is sponsoring a discussion (feat. @JMGrohNeuro, @GregoryRSL, @kat_heller & others) on gender & power dynamics in #academia. Hope other institutions can take note and do the same!