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APS has a long-standing interest in improving the climate for women and other marginalized groups in physics departments (and their equivalent in national labs or large scientific collaborations). Site visits are a proactive tool for helping departments, national or private-sector laboratories, and physics consortia better understand conditions and actions that can be taken to improve the environment for everyone. Once approved, site visits require engagement of faculty, staff, and students in a process that includes a two-day visit. A set of written recommendations follows and there are opportunities at all stages to tap the extensive experience of site visitors for insights on creating a more inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment. The site visit program is overseen by the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) and the Committee on Minorities (COM).
The goals of these visits are two-fold:
Site visits are conducted only at the request of the department chair or their equivalent within national labs or scientific collaborations. Students or others interested in having a site visit occur should work with their department to raise concerns, or if that is difficult or not an option, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further suggestions or strategies.
Please use this form to request an APS site visit. Site visits typically occur about 9 months after the request is made.
If you are interested in serving as a Site Visit Group (SVG) member, please complete the SVG member interest form.
APS will provide some training prior to site visits. Generally, experienced reviewers are paired with novice reviewers to help everyone become more aware of strategies for conducting effective site visits and addressing climate concerns.
Three groups are involved in this effort: a departmental team that includes the chair, a group of visitors from the APS, and the APS Site Visit Subcommittee overseeing this work. The departmental team produces a short self-study before the visit, and responds to the site visit report. In addition, prior to the visit, department stakeholders are asked to complete a confidential survey on issues that inform the visiting group. The visiting group will be composed of representatives from academia and / or industry and / or government laboratories as appropriate and selected by the APS Site Visit Subcommittee and the Site Visit Group leader. During the two-day site visit, the site visit group interviews department stakeholders and administration. After the visit, the departmental team receives a report with recommendations, and is asked to create an action plan that responds to the recommendations. APS will follow up with the department a year after the visit to evaluate the impact of the visit and to help improve the site visit program.
Data collected during the site visit are kept confidential. The final report and recommendations are sent to the departmental team for their use and consideration.
Additional information on site visit procedures is available here.
Costs of the APS site visit are the responsibility of the requesting department. Typical site visits include 3-4 people (more for larger organizations or collaborations), and cost about $5,000-$7,000 (costs include a management fee of $1,500 and travel/food/lodging expenses for site visitors). This does not include a recommended $1,000/person honorarium for visitors.
Suggestions to assist departments in finding and keeping women physics faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students.
"What Works for Women in Undergraduate Physics"
Barbara Whitten, et al., presents the results of site visits to nine undergraduate physics departments with high participation by women.