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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Vera C. Rubin Observatory is the first ground-based US national observatory to be named after a woman scientist. We don't shorten the name to an acronym because that would prevent exposure to Vera Rubin, we continually celebrate her through use of the Rubin name.

Rubin Observatory Construction is an AURA Center; AURA is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. 

The following sections describe the various ways in which the Rubin Observatory team, from leadership to staff at every level, engage in day-to-day work that contributes to a diverse and inclusive environment for staff and beyond.

Rubin Directorate Commitment

Rubin Observatory’s commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and culturally positive environment starts with our leaders, who not only enact policy and support staff-led initiatives, but also model the behavior we expect from all staff members including anti-racist behaviors.

Hiring practices

Rubin Observatory works closely with AURA Human Resources (HR)  to ensure that recruitment practices contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The first step in the hiring process is the formation of a Hiring Committee. Inviting people with a broad range of diverse characteristics to participate, instead of just those with domain knowledge, increases the likelihood that the committee will thoughtfully consider a more diverse candidate pool. During the recruitment process AURA HR coordinate and communicate with with the hiring committee to ensure fair and unbiased execution of the process, including training each committee member on unconscious bias.

Inclusive Workplace Culture

Equity and Inclusion Council

This Council is Directed by AURA’s Chief Diversity Officer, Ameerah McBride. Rubin Observatory also participates in AURA-developed programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broadens participation, and encourages the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Rubin Observatory is represented on the AURA Equity and Inclusion Council by a diversity advocate (these are term appointments). We are invested in developing and improving policies and practices that create a welcoming and productive work environment that benefits staff directly. 

Workplace Culture Advocates

The Workplace Culture Advocates, led by Sandrine Thomas, Rubin Observatory Project Scientist for Telescope & Site, operate as ambassadors to the team beyond the normal HR departments at each institution. The Workplace Culture Advocates initiative resulted from acknowledging the importance of the communication required to establish and maintain the desired broad participation and inclusive environment of the Project. The initiative includes action items articulated in the Workplace Culture Improvement Plan. Conduct, staff recognition and giving everyone a way to be heard, are just a few areas in which improvements have been implemented as a result of this plan.

Spheres of influence

This joint Project and Community initiative was kicked off at the annual Project and Community Workshop 2020 and continues with a monthly focused discussion of a particular area (sphere). Topics cover a breadth of subjects ranging from conduct during meetings to classroom education. These discussions result in implementable, measurable and time-bound action plans aimed at building a foundation for persistent diversity and inclusion impact throughout the Rubin Observatory ecosystem.

Broader Impacts

Education and Public Outreach (EPO)

The tools, interfaces, and outreach materials being developed by EPO are intentionally designed to consider the input, needs, and desires of underserved and marginalized communities. This includes meeting web accessibility standards for those accessing our online products with non-standard web technologies. EPO plans to build partnerships with organizations serving audiences traditionally under-represented in STEM fields to test the effectiveness of EPO products. 

The Community

Community Engagement

Engaging with scientists to ensure that the Rubin Observatory’s data products and services are equitably accessible to everyone in the data rights community -- which includes a diverse range of resources, experience, and expertise -- is a main goal of the Rubin Community Engagement Team. Wherever possible, barriers to participation in Rubin science that are faced by individuals who are under-represented in astronomy, or who are at underserved institutions, are sought out and minimized by, e.g., facilitating communication and inviting collaboration and partnership.

Science Collaborations

The Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Science Collaborations(SC) are committed to creating environments that foster diversity and inclusion in order to enable members of the wider Rubin community to thrive scientifically and personally.  Each SC has its own initiatives to foster Diversity. Equity and Inclusion(DEI) and an overall DEI council oversees and coordinates the commitment across Science Collaborations.

Multimessenger Diversity Network

Rubin Observatory has representation in The Multimessenger Diversity Network (MDN), a community of representatives from multimessenger astronomy research collaborations focused on increasing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in the field. The MDN shares knowledge, experiences, and training and develops resources and practices around broadening participation. The MDN provides structure through organizational principles and tools; opportunity to go beyond individual accomplishments; legitimacy in broadening participation efforts; presence at conferences, on websites and media outlets; training for members of the network; support from each other and for current, and future, STEM professionals.


 

Financial support for Rubin Observatory comes from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Cooperative Agreement No. 1258333, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515, and private funding raised by the LSST Corporation. The NSF-funded Rubin Observatory Project Office for construction was established as an operating center under management of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).  The DOE-funded effort to build the Rubin Observatory LSST Camera (LSSTCam) is managed by the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science. NSF supports basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
NSF and DOE will continue to support Rubin Observatory in its Operations phase. They will also provide support for scientific research with LSST data.   




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