The RSS community is committed to increasing the participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in robotics (including but not limited to: women, LGBTQ+, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities), especially people early in their studies and career. Such efforts are crucial for increasing research capacity, creativity, and broadening the impact of robotics research. To that end, Inclusion @ RSS will be an integral part of RSS that will focus on programs that increase and sustain a broader participation in the robotics research community. Component programs will range from co-located events to sponsored activities during the main conference.

On Wednesday 5:00–6:00pm ET / 2:00–3:00pm PT, after the workshops have wrapped up for the day, we will form Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Discussion Groups. These will be over zoom (possibly multiple zoom rooms), and consider the question:

How can the robotics community become more diverse and inclusive?

Please join us for a working session discussing the issues and strategies to make positive change. The session will break up into smaller discussion groups to focus on different areas (students, faculty, conferences, and outreach) for the majority of the time and then will come together to share with the entire group. Come prepared to discuss challenges you have seen and any approaches that have worked for you. Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Improving the experience of diverse grad students

    • Research group dynamics

    • Inclusive teaching

    • Applications, requirements, and program structure

  • Recruiting, supporting, and retaining a diverse faculty

    • Recruitment and interviewing practices

    • Department culture

    • RPT structure and evaluation

  • Making conferences more inclusive

    • Inclusive reviewing practices

    • Program structure

  • Strategies for impactful outreach

    • Scalability and survivability

    • Measurable outcomes

In advance of the discussion group, we encourage you to spend some time reading and reflecting on these issues. To get you started, consider these resources:

Black in Computing Action Item List

Gender Diversity of Conference Leadership [Women in Engineering]

Handbook of Best Practices for Faculty Searches

On Becoming an Anti-Racist University — Black in Engineering

Queer in AI — D&I guide

Supporting Black Scholars in Robotics

Additionally, Inclusion@RSS will have several meetups in the space. These are:

  • Black in Robotics “Coffee Break” meetup on Monday 7/12 at 11:30-12:30 ET/ 8:30-9:30 PT.
  • Women in Robotics event on Tuesday 7/13 at 11:00-12:00 ET/ 8:00-9:00 PT.
  • Queer in AI “Fireside Chat” on Wednesday 7/14 at 9:00 ET/06:00 PT.

For additional details, please see the event’s website.

We are very grateful to acknowledge the support of TRI in sponsoring Inclusion@RSS 2021.

Toyota Research Institute