SC16 Salt Lake City, UT

How to Build Diverse Teams for More Effective Research

Authors: Toni Collis (EPCC at the University of Edinburgh)

BP Abstract: Most of us recognize that diverse teams are good for productivity and output. But do you know how to improve diversity and build a more inclusive environment? Have you ever heard of unconscious bias, stereotype threat, or imposter syndrome? Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough to be in the community or feel like a ‘fraud’? This BoF will discuss the real effects of these three topics on the workplace, providing the audience with an introduction to each theme, how they may affect you, and how they impact employers, employees, advisors, managers, or your peers.

Long Description: Run by Women in HPC ( this session aims to raise awareness of the impact unconscious bias, stereotype threat and imposter syndrome on the HPC workforce and implications this has for individuals who attend the session both as an employer and as an employee. All three terms ‘unconscious/implicit bias’, ‘stereotype threat’ and ‘imposter syndrome’ are often discussed as some of the ‘difficulties’ we all face in providing a diverse community. However, these terms are often misused and misunderstood. The aim of this session is to provide an overview of these three terms in relation to supercomputing, their impact on employers and every individual in the HPC community. The session will start with an introduction to each of the topics followed by the opportunity for the audience to discuss with the panel the topics raised and methods that work to address the difficulties introduced by these topics: Unconscious/implicit bias. Everyone has unconscious biases - they are a fact of life. They are “mental shortcuts based on social norms and stereotypes” and most crucially are hidden to us. Unfortunately, they have negative consequences when we make assumptions that we aren’t aware of making. This discussion will focus on how this affects hiring, promotion, peer review, acceptance at events etc. Stereotype threat refers to the possibility that academic performance can be affected by being made aware or belonging to a self-characterised, negatively stereotyped social group. More importantly recent research indicates that experiencing stereotype threat can lead to physiological, cognitive, affective and motivational changes causing ‘spill-over’ to executive functions. This discussion will explain more about this concept and highlight mechanisms for minimising the effects to your workforce and students. Imposter Syndrome. Have you ever felt like you were a ‘fraud’ or that you aren’t good enough to be in your workplace? You may be experiencing imposter syndrome! Up to 70% of people experience this at some point in their career, and the feeling can be overwhelming until you learn that you are not alone. In this BoF we will discuss what Imposter syndrome is and the importance of discussing this with your colleagues.

Conference Presentation: pdf

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