Aastha Sharma is a PhD candidate studying materials chemistry in the Vura-Weis Group and is passionate about intersectionality in science education and policy. Here she writes about a recent change in the inorganic and materials areas that will benefit lecture attendees with families.
The inorganic and materials chemistry divisions of the department have rescheduled the weekly seminar time from 4:00 PM to 3:30 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Professor Cathy Murphy, head of the materials chemistry division, highlighted that "the decision was taken unanimously in favor of instantaneously." She pointed out that the time change is a win-win situation for both the attendees and speakers. Professors, post-doctoral scholars, and graduate students with young children or aging parents can stay throughout the seminar, and speakers will have enough time to relax before dinner.
"To be successful, we should rethink and revisit administrative barriers to success, and this decision is a nice example of how a minor change can bring about improvements in our department," she said.
Agreeing with Murphy, Professor Josh Vura-Weis applauded the decision and responded, "It is a great example of the removal of systemic barriers to making the workplace more inclusive."
Vura-Weis, who has two young children, said that the time change "takes away big stress about not missing the end of the talk and picking up kids on time."
Department head Martin Gruebele is also highly appreciative of the time change and commended the inorganic and materials divisions for their exemplary efforts in advancing inclusive access to information.