The Committee On INclusion in SDSS (COINS) was formed to address issues having to do with inclusion in the survey. Our broad goals are to assess the SDSS project and collaboration’s climate and demographics, to recommend to the collaboration management new policies or practices with regard to increasing inclusiveness, and to assist in the implementation of these new activities where necessary. We publicize our findings to the collaboration and ensure that resources that promote inclusivity are widely accessible. We aim to provide the collaboration tools to improve the climate of equity and inclusion.

Specific initiatives include:

  • Identification of effective ways to increase the diversity in collaboration leadership.
  • Routine recommendation to SDSS-IV on how best to develop its scientific and technical leadership team, in particular so as to foster greater inclusiveness, ensuring equal participation to the Collaboration regardless of gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, career stage, geographic location, economic background, social and cultural backgrounds etc and all possible intersections thereof.
  • Routine evaluation the collaboration’s demographics, as measured by the representation in management, science working groups, collaboration meeting talks, and review panels, and other areas.
  • Routine evaluation of the collaboration’s general climate, with respect to having a healthy atmosphere for encouraging young scientists to participate and lead scientifically, and for good communication between young scientists and the survey leadership.

Current COINS activities:

  • Hosting new member and inclusive activities at SDSS collaboration meetings: Bingo, speed geeking, new members breakfast, FAST buddies, reception ping pong, lunch discussions
  • Facilitating Bystander and Inclusive Leadership training at SDSS collaboration and survey team meetings.
  • Conducting SDSS wide demographics surveys for 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020.
  • Creating guidelines for inclusive telecons, meeting accessibility, and chairing (available to the public).
  • Engaging in conferences to promote accessibility and inclusion.
  • Producing a COINS Legacy document for future surveys and other collaborations.

Recommendations and Guidelines Documents

Best Practices: A document on best practices for an inclusive environment, which is complimentary to the SDSS Code of Conduct

Meeting accessibility: A set of guidelines and suggestions for making meetings more accessible, including suggestions for the venue, organizers, and participants

Telecon recommendations: A list of recommendations for making telecons more inclusive, along with a few common questions and answers

Chairing guidelines: A set of guidelines for chairing at meetings to help the session be more inclusive and accessible

FAST and REU programs

COINS also helps lead the implementation of the FAST and REU programs aimed at underrepresented minority participation in SDSS.

FAST: Faculty and Student Teams

The FAST initiative was designed to increase the number of under-represented scientists in our collaboration. SDSS member institutes must buy into the collaboration, so membership is often limited to institutes with more support. The FAST program brings in teams of faculty and students from minority-serving universities, giving them funding, mentoring, and full survey participation. In 2016, the FAST program included 5 teams covering the breadth of SDSS research. In 2018, the Sloan Foundation renewed the FAST program for a second 3-year award cycle.

REU: Research Experience for Undergraduates

While REU programs are traditionally run at single institutions, SDSS funded a 2016 pilot program to investigate the possibility of building a student cohort on a distributed REU model. During that summer, six REU students participated in the program, including a week-long boot camp and four different sites.

COINS Members

Current members

Mehmet Alpaslan (NYU)
Rachel Beaton (Carnegie-Princeton, co-chair)
Sarah Bird (NAOC)
Adam Burgasser (UCSD)
Brian Cherinka (JHU)
Emily Farr (UW; co-chair)
Peter Frinchaboy (TCU)
Amy Jones (Alabama)
Penélope Longa-Peña (U. Antofagasta)
Mariarosa Marinelli (VCU)
Karen Masters (Haverford; Spokesperson)
Jesus Pando (De Paul; FAST liason)
Jennifer Sobeck (UW)
Mariana Vargas (UNAM)
John Wilson (U. Virginia)

Past members

Alfonso Aragon-Salamanca (2016-2017)
Francesco Belfiore (2016-2017)
Nancy Chanover (2016-2017)
Diane Feuillet (2016-2017)
Kelly Holley-Bockelmann (2016-2018)
Sara Lucatello (2016-2018)
José Sanchez-Gallego (2016-2019)
Audrey Oravetz (2016-2017)
René Alberto Ortega Minakata (2017-2019)
Ashley Ross (2016-2019)
Sarah Jane Schmidt (2016-2019)
Zachary Slepian (2017-2019)
Keivan Stassun (2016-2019)
Jamie Tayar (2016-2018)