Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity

An enormous body of research details the importance of a diverse and inclusive scientific community. In addition to being the right thing to do, such a community is shown to have greater innovation, higher order thinking, stronger publications with higher citation rates, greater ability to tackle complex geoscience research problems, increases in public trust in our research, the development of more relevant questions and solutions to communities most affected by environmental change and severe weather, and the engendering of widespread public Earth and environmental science literacy. Despite these incredible benefits, the geosciences continue to lag other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in the engagement, recruitment and retention of people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and those who are at the intersections of these identities. 

In 2016, the NSF developed a new program to address this problem: Geoscience Opportunities for Leadership in Diversity (GOLD). GOLD funds five pilot projects that each take a distinctly different approach to increasing the participation and belonging of those with minoritized identities. In addition to teaching about diversiy, equity, inclusion & social justice, the GOLD projects also focus on skills in leadership and change management that are critical to achieving sustained progress in our institutions and our field. The individual projects are outlined below, while the GOLD program as a whole (including this website) is designed to create an ongoing community of practice among all parties who are invested in this endeavor. 

In the menu above you will find links to journal club articles that we are discussing with participants from one of our project groups (GeoDES), reports from each of the projects, links to each project page (including the URL of their external pages to sign up to participate), a blog that will feature monthly contributions from our projects, and resources that the GOLD project staff have found useful in teaching about inclusion & social justice and in working to transform our own institutions. We welcome additional resources and feedback - please send comments, criticisms, suggestions, and additional resources by submitting the Contact Us form

We hope that you will find this site useful in your work. 


GOLD Projects


Active Societal Participation In Research and Education (ASPIRE) aims to cultivate a generation of geoscientists with the leadership knowledge and skills to reframe the geosciences as socially relevant and thereby broaden participation in these fields. This generation of geoscientists will do so by using place based science as a vehicle to bridge longstanding divides that impede access to and inclusion in the geosciences.



FIELD logo


The FIELD project aims to make field geoscience more diverse and inclusive. We would like the amazing experience of doing field work accessible to anyone who has the desire and motivation to engage.




We test new research-based methods for providing professional development in equity and inclusion for geoscientists using new mixed-reality role-play simulations designed to teach the cohort to develop and practice skills for recognizing prejudice and effectively intervening in geoscience-specific scenarios. This new ability to act will also be harnessed in our leadership curriculum by focusing on institutional work to minimize the effects of prejudice on gatekeeping decisions.



Hearts of GOLD logo

Hearts of GOLD

The goal of Hearts of GOLD is to help develop champions for diversity in the geosciences by targeting established leaders in scientific research who have a history and interest in diversity, despite little or no training on the topic.



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Sparks for Change

Sparks for Change is an effort to increase the diversity of the geosciences by improving departmental culture and support of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty, using small groups as change agents.



This page last updated 10 Dec 2017 - 8:20pm