Charge to the Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee

Purpose:  To work towards making the community of planetary scientists an environment in which professional merit is the only criterion that determines each person’s success. 

Mission: To consider and recommend actions that the DPS Committee can take to promote a broadly inclusive professional community characterized by respect, honesty, and trust, so that people of diverse backgrounds are – and perceive themselves to be – safe, welcome and enabled.


  1. What need does the Subcommittee fulfill?  In order to optimize the scientific productivity of our professional community, the DPS leadership asks a Subcommittee to convene with purpose and mission as stated above.
  2. How is the Subcommittee’s work important to the Division?  The activities of the Subcommittee will create an awareness of our community’s norms and values and of the work that remains to be done to live up to them. As advised by the Subcommittee, the DPS Committee will take action from time to time to mitigate factors other than professional merit that prevent members from being successful.
  3. How does this work align with the purpose of the Division and what will be its long-term impact? The outcome of the Subcommittee’s efforts will enhance the performance of the Division by making it more inclusive and by encouraging participation and engagement of members with a wide diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.   This will ultimately result in greater success in our investigations of the solar system and other planetary systems.

Time frame:  The Subcommittee will serve at the request of the DPS Committee, with the Subcommittee chairs serving a two-year term.

Tasks: To be reviewed and modified as needed each year with the DPS Committee and leadership.  Examples include:

  • Promote community values and cultural norms through division communications throughout the year and at the annual meeting.
  • Recommend mechanisms for training opportunities pertaining to diversity and inclusion for the DPS leadership and DPS membership.
  • Work with AAS staff and DPS Committee to meet Subcommittee’s goals. Assess results of DPS meeting exit survey for questions related to professional climate and culture at our annual professional meetings.
  • Recommend to the DPS meeting Scientific Organizing Committee a speaker on a topic of interest and relevance to DPS members related to professional culture and climate.
  • Request funds with justification from the DPS annual budget to meet the Subcommittee’s goals.

Communication/Sharing of Results: The Subcommittee shall report to the DPS committee no less than twice annually: once at the Washington DC Committee meeting, usually in spring (May) of each year, and again at the annual meeting in the fall.  The Subcommittee is encouraged to share information with the general membership through the DPS newsletter, the DPS web site, and the Division’s social media channels. The Subcommittee chairs will maintain communications throughout the year with DPS leadership by requesting time on the DPS Committee telecon agenda and via open communications with DPS chair.

Subcommittee membership:

  • How large is the subcommittee and why?  Between 7-10 members, to seek representation from a broad cross-section of the DPS membership.
  • Who can serve on the Subcommittee? Any active DPS member.
  • How is membership determined? Nominations (including self-nominations) are sought annually, and the Co-Chairs select membership with the goal of achieving broad representation from the DPS community.  The final membership list will be approved by the DPS Committee.
  • What is the term of service on the subcommittee?  Two years, with the option of renewing for a single additional term.
  • If a member cannot serve her/his full term how can members be replaced?  Co-Chairs may designate replacements from people on a waiting list or from suggestions within the Subcommittee.