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NERS joins Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy leadership network

Members of the network are committed to breaking down gender barriers in the nuclear field.

Professor Todd Allen, Chair of the U-M Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences (NERS) and the Founding Director of the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative (FPtZ), is pleased to join Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy (GCNP). The GCNP describes itself as “a leadership network that brings together heads of organizations working in nuclear policy who are committed to break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence.”

Professor Allen is the first nuclear engineering department chair to join the organization and make specific pledges. “Our field needs to attract the best scholars and act to ensure they succeed,” says Professor Allen. “Joining Gender Champions requires us to take active steps to welcome and promote women to our field.” He made the following pledges:

For FPtZ, where Professor Allen will be assisted by Suzanne Baker:
  •  Starting with the 2020–2021 academic year, include in at least one public speech, presentation, or article per academic semester, content about the problems related to gender inequality, need for better inclusivity, and ways to address it.
  • Establish a list of women experts endorsed by Fastest Path to Zero by September 2020.  As we are approached for quotes or interviews, we will refer to this list and actively track our suggestions as well as the response of the inquiring organization.
  • Over the 2020–2021 academic year, track our invitation and acceptance lists for our major public events to ensure we are inviting women and getting participation.  We will analyze the acceptance statistics to revise our approach if we fall short.
For NERS, where Professor Allen will be assisted by Professor Carolyn Kuranz:
  • Starting with the 2020–2021 academic year, ensure that all selection panels and final applicant pools for new positions in the organization are not single gender.
  • Starting with the 2020–2021 academic year, develop a system to conduct exit interviews with all departing faculty, staff and students to understand why staff are leaving.
  • With the approval of the new Departmental Strategic Plan in December 2020, establish a Code of Conduct and Transparency Policy for Departmental interactions.
  • Starting with the 2020–2021 academic year, allocate a minimum of 30% of colloquium slots to women speakers
  • Starting with the 2020–2021 academic year, ensure 40% of advisory board positions are represented by women

Allen added, “These steps are aimed at better promoting the expertise of our women colleagues and establishing ways to continually improve our culture of respect. Given the continuing challenges at University, College, and Department—as exemplified in the case of former Provost Martin Philbert—we need to be constantly vigilant in identifying and eliminating sexual and gender harassment.”

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