Mary James

Mary James

Dean for Institutional Diversity Chair, A.A. Knowlton Professor of Physics, Reed College; Co-chair, TEAM-UP

Dr. Mary James, Dean for Institutional Diversity at Reed College in Portland, OR, is the Chief Diversity Officer of the college, and Co-chair of the AIP TEAM-UP Task Force.  Dr. James has served as both a member and Chair of the APS Committee on Minorities in physics for four years and was instrumental in launching the APS National Mentoring Community. She has vast experience with diversity and committee/task group dynamics. Dr. James is also a Professor in the Department of Physics, specializing in particle beam astrophysics, classical electrodynamics, and physics outreach.

Talk title

The TEAM-UP Report: Major Findings and Recommendations


The AIP TEAM-UP Task Force conducted a comprehensive study over a 2-year period to understand the reasons for the persistent under-representation of African American (AA) students in physics and astronomy at the bachelor’s level. TEAM-UP employed social science research methods and perspectives to conduct its study and learn directly from AA students about the experiences they are having in our physics and astronomy programs that impact their ability to succeed or not.

In this talk, we describe the five factors that contribute to the success or lack of success of AA physics and astronomy students. The Task Force’s findings and evidence-based recommendations emerged from these factors to guide AIP Member Societies, physics and astronomy departments, and other stakeholders to increase the number and percentage of African American students obtaining bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy. We will also briefly discuss the TEAM-UP study as a model for other disciplines and professional societies to consider and replicate as they work toward diversity, equity, and inclusion culture change within their communities.