Scott Sheridan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Geography, in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University, was recently selected to become an inaugural American Geophysical Union (AGU) LANDInG (Leadership Academy and Network for Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences) Academy Fellow.
The two-year professional development program, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, is for current and aspiring diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leaders in the Earth and space sciences. Sheridan is among one of only 12 individuals selected for this inaugural cohort (out of more than 80+ applicants). The review committee noted Sheridan’s strong personal commitment to valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and readiness to lead future DEI change across the STEM fields.
“Earth and space science remains one of the least diverse fields in STEM,” said the American Geophysical Union leadership team in a recent announcement. “Until diversity is a fundamental feature of scientific excellence, the lack of an equitable, inclusive geoscience community will continue to hamper innovation and discovery. To correct the culture, systematic changes need to come from the community and the institutions that employ earth and space scientists.”
“We’ve always had a view in Geography that our struggles were discipline-specific, and, while Geography as a whole needs to become more diverse, it clearly needs to have seeds planted at the local level,” Sheridan said.
American Geophysical Union, the largest professional organization of earth and space scientists, seeks to bring about this change by cultivating a network of mid-career scientists who are equipped to improve DEI at their home institutions and across STEM. The Academy will provide its Fellows with the formal training and hands-on support they need to implement their own DEI initiative.
Fostering Necessary Conversations and Action
Sheridan has served as department chair since 2015, and currently sits on the University’s Strategic Planning Committee; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council; and its Anti-Racism Task Force. He said these experiences helped him to realize how much more there is that needs to be done, and how shared responsibility for effecting changes is so critical.
“My main hope is to work to develop program-specific ways to foster the necessary conversations and help spur actions to deal with issues of equity within each unit,” Sheridan said. “While I feel that the university as a whole has been excellent in addressing these issues, when it comes down to the smaller units on campus, I feel that there is much interest in working to improve ourselves, but we struggle to find actions to concretely move forward.”
Sheridan’s background and research focus
His educational background includes B.S. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology from Rutgers and Texas A&M, respectively, followed by a Ph.D. in Climatology from the University of Delaware. He has co-authored 119 peer-reviewed publications and has been an investigator on grants totaling over $4 million. He has graduated 10 Ph.D. and 12 M.A. students. He is also currently editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Biometeorology and associate editor of Science of the Total Environment, and president-elect of the International Society of Biometeorology.
Sheridan’s scholarship focuses on the areas of applied climatology and human biometeorology. His applied climatology expertise stems from his development and implementation of novel techniques in synoptic climatology, a method in which atmospheric parameters are categorized into discrete categories. This applied research has focused most substantially on human biometeorology, in particular, the impacts of extreme heat on human health. He has worked extensively on heat warning systems, heat perception, urbanization and heat vulnerability, and trends and projections of heat-related mortality. He has focused on applying synoptic climatological techniques to global change issues, including analyses of atmospheric teleconnections and their impact on mid-latitude weather, water clarity, as well as sea-level variability.
To learn more about Kent State’s Department of Geography, visit: www.kent.edu/geography
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Jim Maxwell, 330-672-8028, email@example.com