Board Directives & Initiatives

The Board of Directors' commitment to inclusivity – one of the society's core values – has resulted in three recent Rapid Action Committees (RAC) that have created a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rapid Action Committee (DEI RAC) – 2020

In response to the systemic racism and violence on display in the summer of 2020, the Board created the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion RAC to go beyond condemnation to focus on concrete, long-term change. The committee was charged with developing recommendations for our corporate and program divisions to support and increase black scientists and engineers within the optics and photonics community.

Approved Recommendations

  1. Data Collection: Lacking data on Black scientists and engineers' engagement, society has begun requesting race/ethnicity demographics to track metrics and assess progress.
  2. New Funding: Three new funding opportunities will launch in 2022 to address barriers to engagement – the Amplify Scholarship for Black science and engineering students, a grant program for first-time authors and an African Student Exchange Fund.
  3. New Programs: Launching at FiO 2020, an Immersion Program will introduce 50 promising Black science and engineering undergraduate students to optics research and career opportunities.
  4. Expanded Programming: Existing programs will have an increased focus and effort directed towards the engagement of Black scientists across our student chapters, meetings and publications. Partnerships and visibility efforts through our website, OPN and podcasts will continue and be expanded.

Committee Members

Abdalla Darwish, Dillard University, USA
Peter Delfyett, University of Central Florida, CREOL, USA
Christine Hendon, Columbia University, USA
Deborah Herrin, OSA, USA
Timothy Imogore, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat, Jena, Germany
Anthony Johnson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
Elaine Lalanne, Fibertek, Inc., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Marcia Lesky, OSA, USA

Jay Mathews, University of Dayton, USA
Karen Matthews, Purpose-Driven Consulting, USA
Genaro Montanez, OSA, USA
Darryl Naidoo, CSIR-NLC, South Africa
Thomas Searles, Howard University, USA
Arlene Smith, Avo Photonics, USA
Chad Stark, OSA Foundation, USA
Chuwanda Thigpen, Lumentum, USA

The Code-of-Conduct Working Group – 2018

Established to understand experiences at our meetings and events, examine our current anti-harassment policy and code-of-conduct and recommend communication strategies, resources and reporting/enforcement procedures for Board consideration and approval.

Approved Recommendations

  1. Adopt the revised Optica Anti-harassment Policy and Code of Conduct
  2. Launch an online and phone incident reporting and tracking system.
  3. Require meeting attendees to acknowledge the anti-harassment policy and code of conduct during registration.
  4. Post signage referencing code-of-conduct and reporting options at all managed and sponsored meetings.
  5. Offer Code-of-Conduct, Ally Skills and Harassment Resistance training.
  6. Survey members on their experiences pertaining to harassment.

Committee Members

Arti Agrawal, Univ. of Tech Sydney, Australia
Gisele Bennett, Florida Inst. of Tech., USA
Martijn de Sterke, Univ. of Sydney, Australia
Turan Erdogan, Plymouth Grating Lab, USA

Michal Lipson, Columbia Univ., USA
Liz Rogan, OSA, USA
Chad Stark, OSA Foundation, USA


Women in Optica Rapid Action Committee (WIO RAC) – 2016

This committee was asked to research and assess the participation of women within our programs, positions of leadership and recognitions. They then identified recommendations for sustainable "diversity and inclusion" programming, networking, and awareness campaigns with the overarching goal to foster a culture (leadership, volunteers and staff) that supports a sustained and focused approach to addressing various diversity challenges.

Approved Recommendations

  1. Identification of nine success metric targets to improve gender equity across the society business areas between 2017-2021.
  2. Provide staffing and funding needed to establish programs and efforts that would increase the percentage of women participating in governance and award committees, speaking and attending meetings, editing our journals, being nominated for fellow and awards and receiving the distinction of senior member.

Committee Members

Arti Agrawal, City Univ., UK
David Fittinghoff, LLNL, USA
Deborah Herrin, OSA, USA
Michal Lipson, Columbia Univ., USA
Jen Mehltretter, OSA, USA

Jie Qiao, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
Liz Rogan, OSA, USA
Janick Rolland, Univ. of Rochester, USA
Yasaman Soudagar, Neurescence Inc., Canada
Chad Stark, OSA Foundation, US