Tag Archive | "SEEDS"


SEEDing Diversity and Inclusion

SEEDS Program uproots biases to grow a garden of empowerment for all at the University of Miami

By Michael R. Malone
UM News

2018 SEEDS Annual -21

President Julio Frenk and Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, a lecturer and director in the Department of Geography and Regional Studies, discuss the symposiums and workshops SEEDS has sponsored.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2018)–“Stop!” several voices called from the audience, unable to contain their angst and discomfort at the scenario unfolding on stage. Though the “interview”—a department chair appraising a tenure candidate—was staged, the insinuations, mixed messages, and inappropriate, bias-laden questioning had hit their mark: People were riled.

Interactive Theatre, a powerful teaching tool, played out as a major and enlightening part of the SEEDS Annual Networking Dinner on March 21 at the Newman Alumni Center. With its “bottom-up” approach, the SEEDS program serves to advance the careers of faculty—especially women and minorities—through mentoring and leadership opportunities; celebrating diversity and inclusion; and eliminating biases based on gender, race, and ethnicity.

As part of the interactive teaching module, attendees first observed, then discussed among themselves the missteps they were observing, and finally they intervened—replacing the actors on stage—to redirect the process.

“Unfortunately, too much of what we’re seeing on stage hits close to home—we still experience this too much in our real world,” one woman commented. Her candor was echoed by others.

President Julio Frenk served as the keynote for the annual event, now in its ninth year, and applauded the role of the SEEDS program. He was joined by Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, Lourdes Dieck-Assad, vice president for Hemispheric and Global Affairs, and several deans from the SEEDS Steering Committee.

“SEEDS is a fantastic initiative with a great name—it embodies the whole idea for the culture of belonging,” said Frenk, referring to the university-wide effort to create a climate where “everyone is valued and everyone adds value.”

The president and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Leonidas Bachas, who is on the steering committee, both highlighted progress in the terrain of diversity—including an increase in female faculty from 88 to 112, a 75percent increase in African-American students to 11 percent of the student population, and steps to address concerns of the LGBTQ community. But the president added that “we still have a long way to go still facing many hidden biases and many that are not so hidden in our society.

“We have a lot in our favor—Miami is a city comfortable with its diversity,” Frenk said. “But being comfortable is not enough, we have to continue to invest effort and resources.”

SEEDS Director Villy Kourafalou welcomed guests and highlighted that the initiative has recently broadened its scope and impact, from an initial thrust of supporting women in the sciences, to now promoting diversity at schools, colleges, and units around campus. Seventeen grantees have received $2,500 each to support a range of projects that advance SEEDS goals.

“SEEDS focuses on supporting faculty, yet these programs benefit students and the entire University community,” said Kourafalou, a research professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Program Manager Marisol Capellan said that SEEDS will continue to sprout new inclusion and empowerment in the year ahead.

“We plan to collaborate with even more departments, helping faculty from each campus and individual college to advance their career and research initiatives. As a result, we plan to build on our successful efforts of this academic year, to further involve the deans and their staffs, for various planning and projects,” Capellan said. “We remain committed to making UM an even more welcoming institution that hires, prepares and retains women and minorities for faculty and staff advancement.”

Lisa Beal, professor at the Department of Ocean Sciences, with Amy Clement, professor of atmospheric sciences, received a SEEDS grant for a mentoring workshop designed to identify common issues from the perspective of both graduate students and faculty, and provide powerful strategies for improving mentor-mentee relationships.

Miriam Lipsky, senior learning and facilitation specialist in the UM Office of Institutional Culture, was recently awarded a SEEDS “You Choose” Leadership Award and used it to facilitate a workshop, cosponsored by the UM Women’s Commission and the School of Education and Human Development, to explore how social identities influence workplace engagement.

Creative Writing Professor Chantel Acevedo and Osamudia James, vice dean and professor in the Law School, recently used a SEEDS grant to advance the One Book, One U common-book initiative that has offered a series of events based on the Make Your Home Among Strangers novel that explores the first-generation college experience and themes of inclusion, identity, and immigration.

President Frenk suggested that the University, through the SEEDS initiative and other campus efforts to promote inclusion, create metrics to chart progress and, as part of that goal, become an “observatory of belonging.”

SEEDS, administered through the Office of Faculty Affairs, champions mentoring, leadership, peer networking, research initiatives and interdisciplinary faculty career workshops in empowering women and strengthening diversity.

For more information, contact SEEDS Program Manager Capellan at 305-284-2971 or email  mcapellan@miami.edu

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SEEDS Announces ‘You Choose’ Leadership Awards for Cultural Transformation

By Marisol Capellan
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 8, 2017)—The SEEDS Program has awarded 17 monetary awards to support faculty development, promote diversity and inclusion, and foster a culture of belonging and career satisfaction throughout the University of Miami.

The awards of up to $2,500, which have no pre-designated use, can be used to fund a variety of activities, including but not limited to professional skills workshops, mentoring programs, seminars, leadership training, grant-writing workshops, and visits by distinguished speakers.

This year’s awards were co-sponsored by the following deans, centers, and individuals, and went to the following recipients.

By College of Arts and Sciences Dean Leonidas Bachas to:

  • Chantel Acevedo, associate professor, Department of English, with Osamudia James, professor, School of Law
  • Brendan Balcerack-Jackson, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy
  • Julia Dallman, associate professor, Department of Biology
  • Sunxiang Huang, assistant professor, Department of Physics
  • Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel, professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures with Donette Francis, associate professor, Department of English, and Kate Ramsey, associate professor, Department of History
  • Laura Rikard, assistant professor, Department of Theatre
  • Justin Stoler, assistant professor, Department of Geography and Regional Studies
  • Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, lecturer, Department of Geography, with John Twichell, lecturer, Department of International Studies
  • Lucina Uddin, associate professor, Department of Psychology

By Miller School Dean Edward Abraham to:

  •  Lillian Abbo, associate professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, with Rose Maria Van Zuilen, associate professor, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
  • Sheila A. Conway, associate professor, Division of Orthopedic Oncology

By Roni Avissar, dean of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, to:

  •  Amy Clement, professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, with Lisa Beal, professor, Department of Ocean Sciences
  • Cassandra Gaston, assistant professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences

By Isaac Prilleltensky, dean of the School of Education and Human Development, to:

  • Miriam Lispsky, lecturer, Department of Teaching and Learning

By Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the College of Engineering, to:

  • Ramin Moghaddass, assistant professor, Department of Industrial Engineering

By Nick Tsinoremas, director of the University of Miami Center for Computational Science, to:

  • Athina Hadjixenofontos, director of engagements, Center for Computational Science

By SEEDS to:

  • Osamudia James, professor, School of Law

For more information about SEEDS and to get involved please contact Marisol Capellan, SEEDS program manager, at mcapellan@miami.edu.

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Writing about New Science with Integrity, Authority and Imagination

By Marisol Capellan
Special to UM News


Princeton’s Judith Swan shares her knowledge on writing persuasive grant proposals at a SEEDS Program workshop.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 1, 2017)—When writing grant proposals to the National Institutes of Health or any other organization, think like a reviewer. That was the advice Judith Swan, a leading authority on grant-writing techniques, gave faculty, post-docs and graduate students who attended a daylong career workshop presented by the SEEDS Program on October 28.

“In addition to including the expected outcomes of your proposals, you must also include the unexpected outcomes,” Swan, the associate director for Writing in Science and Engineering at Princeton University, said at the workshop on Persuasive Proposals: Writing about New Science with Integrity, Authority, and Imagination. “This demonstrates to the reviewers that you are failure-proof.”

Swan, who developed and oversees Princeton’s writing programs for graduate students and post-docs, also emphasized the importance of ensuring “that your aims are not dependent on each other.” Her research focuses on writing development during scientific training and on the ways language shapes the interpretation of emerging science.

The SEEDS Program, which supports initiatives that promote faculty advancement and is institutionalized under Faculty Affairs in the Office of the Executive VP and Provost, hosted Swan’s visit with the College of Arts and Sciences’ Scientific Writing Programs. Led by Professor Joanna Johnson, the writing program offers a range of services to help faculty in all disciplines and on all campuses write grants, publish peer-reviewed articles and make compelling presentations.

SEEDS also collaborates with UM’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Vice Provost for Research, and the School of Education and Human Development’s Department of Educational and Psychological Studies, chaired by Laura Kohn-Wood.

All SEEDS events are open to all faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. For more information about SEEDS and to get involved please contact Marisol Capellan, SEEDS program manager, at mcapellan@miami.edu.


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SEEDS: Reproducibility in Science

Special to UM News


Panelists discuss one of the greatest challenges in contemporary science—the failure to reproduce or replicate research results.

MIAMI, Fla. (April 25, 2016)—One of the greatest challenges in contemporary science—the failure to reproduce or replicate research results—was tackled by a first-ever symposium that linked reproducibility and the responsible conduct of research.

The SEEDS “You Choose” Awards and the Miller School’s Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy presented “Reproducibility in Science: Writing, Data and the Growth of Knowledge” on April 24 at the Mailman Center for Children Development, with a keynote talk by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the California-based Science Exchange and co-director of its Reproducibility Initiative.

“It is rare and reassuring to see institutional leadership take such a supportive role” in fostering reproducibility, Iorns said during a subsequent panel discussion with John Bixby, Ph.D., vice provost for research and professor of pharmacology and neurological surgery; Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., executive dean for research and research education and professor of medicine; and Joyce M. Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for translational research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of medicine, and director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute.

The program was chaired and the panel was moderated by SEEDS grant recipient Joanna Johnson, Ph.D., director of writing in the College of Arts and Sciences, who described her work on a project that identifies poor, boastful, and hedging scientific prose as a potential contributor to failures of reproducibility.

What has been called a “crisis” in science, repeated failures to reproduce complex and costly experiments is thought to be an obstacle to public trust in science, especially worrisome in times of budget uncertainty.

Iorns discusssed ways of measuring and incentivizing reproducible research, and included results from the first replication studies published by the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. Iorns was an assistant professor at the University of Miami before starting Science Exchange in 2011. Bixby, Jayaweera, and Slingerland addressed efforts at UM to improve reproducibility and made clear that such efforts are an important component of the responsible conduct of research—and a key element of National Institutes of Health compliance rules for academic institutions.

SEEDS (A Seed for Success) “You Choose” Awards support investigator-initiated activities that enhance the awardee’s community and career. The event was co-sponsored by the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

For more information about SEEDS, please contact Marisol Capellan, SEEDS manager, at mailto:mcapellan@miami.edu.


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Fighting a Different Climate Change

At SEEDS’ Annual Networking Dinner, UM President Julio Frenk encouraged faculty to “persevere” through federal budget cuts that threaten to reduce research funding 

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News


With SEEDS director Kathryn Tosney, President Frenk reviews exhibits featuring faculty research made possible by SEEDS You Choose Leadership Awards.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 4, 2017)—Despite President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts that would nullify Obama-era climate change efforts and slash funding to the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent, investigators conducting research on global warming, disease, and other pressing global problems should continue to press forward to show that “scientists do know what they’re talking about,” University of Miami President Julio Frenk said last Tuesday at a gathering of about 200 UM faculty.

“Our job is to persevere, to not give up,” Frenk said at the annual SEEDS (Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success) Networking Dinner with the President, held at UM’s Newman Alumni Center.

Now in his second academic year as UM’s sixth president, Frenk warned faculty that in addition to the significant threats global warming poses to our environment and ecosystems, society now faces a new type of climate change, one of “skepticism in the most powerful halls of this country about the value of scientific research, of quantifiable facts, and of accessible education.”

Disregard for the important roles people of different ethnicity, race, and gender play in representing the true spirit of America is also at the heart of the new climate change, making initiatives like SEEDS, formed by outgoing UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc to combat stereotypes and achieve greater diversity in University-wide programs, even more important, Frenk said.

SEEDS, Frenk said, represents a major step in UM’s efforts to confront and deal with the challenges faced by women, especially those of color, who are at different stages in their education and careers in STEM disciplines. “Educators have been working for over 20 years to encourage more girls and women to participate in science from childhood on,” he said. “But the insidious effects of gender bias are still with us. So we have to be constantly aware of those effects—and combat the environment in which they take root.”

UM’s Culture of Belonging initiative, a key component of the University’s Roadmap to Our New Century, is another way of changing that environment, Frenk said.

He called SEEDS an important part of the University’s STEM@UM Roadmap Initiative, noting that the new Frost Institutes for Science and Engineering, created with a landmark $100 million gift from longtime UM philanthropists Phillip and Patricia Frost, will include multidisciplinary sister institutes that will advance work in the basic and applied sciences and engineering through problem-based clusters that cross academic units and disciplines. The Frost Institute of Chemistry and Molecular Science will be the first such sister institute.

“This first institute and those that will follow in the years to come will contribute in a major way to make the University of Miami a magnet for talent,” said Frenk. “And, of course, there will be many opportunities to dovetail the diverse and dynamic programs and activities of SEEDS with those of the new Frost institutes.”


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