Home / Node / H. Tuba Özkan-Haller Colloquium Abstract (Feb 20, 2019)

H. Tuba Özkan-Haller Colloquium Abstract (Feb 20, 2019)

Transforming Academia: Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice in the Sciences

Efforts to diversify geosciences faculty over the recent past have led to modest advances; however, transformational change has been elusive. This talk will discuss an innovative new approach that advances a framework for equity grounded in an intersectional understanding of both identity and social structures. The centerpiece and innovation is an immersive ADVANCE faculty development seminar, which involves a 60-hour immersion experience for administrators and influential faculty, provides a lens through which institutional practices can be evaluated, and catalyzes participants to alter policies and practices that form barriers to the inclusion of women and others from under-represented groups. Ambitious Action Plans emerge from a comprehensive understanding of the challenges to recruitment, retention and success of faculty, and the development of cohorts helps efforts to scale up and out. The seminar is embedded within a program to support implementation, monitoring and integration of Action Plans. The approach has been effective at shifting personally held ideologies and also at promoting behavioral change as well as institutional/structural transformation. Outcomes of the ADVANCE seminar include significant institutional changes around hiring practices and reward structures. However, broader barriers exist that cannot be removed one institution at a time. These will challenge us to examine our profession as a whole and imagine a transformed future that is welcoming and affirming to individuals from all marginalized groups and offers everyone an equitable and socially just academic environment.


Technical Talk: Chasing the Shifting Sands of Beaches

This talk focusses on the physics of water and sand movement in the nearshore ocean, the so-called “dirty rim around the bathtub,” where water waves are important to just about anything that happens, contributing to the beauty of the nearshore ocean, enabling recreational activities, and fueling dreams of renewable energy extraction. Waves are a major driver of long-term change to coastlines and of acute damage to communities and ecosystems during storms. Waves also generate currents that are the leading cause for lifeguard rescues (and, unfortunately, also fatalities).  So as much as the nearshore ocean is beautiful and fun, it is also mysterious and dangerous.

The behavior of the waves and currents in the nearshore ocean is strongly affected by the underwater topography, termed bathymetry. In turn, the water motions associated with waves and currents move sediment around and cause changes to the bathymetry. This bathymetric change can, at times, be rapid and is difficult to observe with the temporal and spatial resolution that is required to test hypotheses and validate predictions. In this talk, the discussion will be focused around novel methods for detecting changes in the bathymetry using a combination of numerical models and in situ or remote sensing observations of the signatures of water motions in the nearshore ocean. Also briefly discussed will be the major hazards to human life that the nearshore ocean poses, and strategies to predict and avoid them.