Help AIS Build a System that Provides Equality for All
Monday, June 8, 2020
Posted by: Brook Pritchett
Like many of you, we have followed recent events in the United States and around the world with sadness and anger. It is difficult to truly understand these events and to find the right words to express how we feel.
AIS was born as a global, multi-cultural association. For more than 25 years, AIS has served society through the advancement of knowledge in the study and practice of information systems. We believe in inclusivity, justice and respect for our members, and for the society we serve. We condemn anti-Black racism, and all forms of racism, discrimination, and human rights injustices that continue to plague our society.
As an educational association, we must explore the challenges our world faces to find understanding, evaluate ideas, and propose fundamental changes that truly contribute to a better society. To that end, we pledge to undertake clear and concrete actions to improve our part of society.
First, we will continue to remind members of our code of conduct, which requires all of us to adhere to the values of equality, tolerance, respect for others, and justice in all that we do. We will launch a new initiative to simplify the reporting of events that violate our code.
Second, in November, we applied for a million dollar grant to launch a major diversity and inclusion initiative focused on the Information Systems field as a whole, to identify bias within events, activities and roles, implement implicit bias training, and develop metrics to track biases over time. If we do not receive this grant, we will still launch this initiative, albeit on a smaller scale than we hoped.
Third, in 2018, we conducted a diversity review of our association practices, and changed them to have all AIS Communities (SIGs, Chapters and Colleges) report the diversity and inclusion actions they have taken each year. We will increase the number and scope of these activities to improve social inclusion throughout AIS.
Fourth, in December, our College of Senior Scholars began an assessment of the diversity and inclusion of the editorial boards of the Basket of Eight journals. We will work with the editors and publishers of these important institutions to increase their diversity and inclusion.
Fifth, we will launch a new diversity and inclusion initiative focused on assessing and improving the diversity and inclusion of our conferences.
Sixth, we will expand our existing scholarship programs that provide funds to enable members of under-represented groups to join AIS and attend our conferences.
Seventh, we will expand the number and scope of our journals and conferences that are open access, thereby enabling anyone in the world to access the scholarship of our members without cost.
Finally, we will encourage all of our members to collaborate with SIGS such as SIG Social Inclusion (SIGSI), SIG Culture, SIG Cross Cultural Research (SIGCCRIS), the IS Women's Network College and many other AIS Communities to help shape a better future.
As an association, our efforts are necessarily specific to the field of information systems, as this is our purview. In contrast, our members play many other roles in their local and national communities. Therefore, we call on all our members to do their part to close racial gaps in their communities, in academia, and in the world at large. We must all reaffirm our commitment to our fundamental values and help build a system that provides equality for all.
Words are necessary and helpful, but actions speak louder. Please take a moment and think about two things: what advice do you have for us, and what can you do to make a part of the Information Systems field more diverse, inclusive, tolerant, respectful, and just? Think about what has come naturally to us by virtue of the social groups and networks we belong to, and then consider who it hasn’t been easy for and what you can do to help change this.