News & Press: InSider

A Message from the Chair of the AIS Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

Wednesday, March 3, 2021   (2 Comments)

In early 2017, following the attempted “Muslim Ban” in the US, the Executive Team of SIG Social Inclusion (SIGSI) issued a statement to AIS members. Its purpose was to introduce the SIG to the broader community and affirm SIGSI’s commitment to helping the AIS build and sustain an inclusive, diverse, global community of scholars. While primarily a research-focused community, SIGSI invited AIS members from around the globe to serve on a SIG-sponsored Task Force on diversity & inclusion. The task force had three aims:

  • identify barriers to IS scholars' full participation in the AIS community,
  • develop mechanisms for alerting the AIS to issues that limit people's participation, and
  • assist the AIS in developing services and/or policies to promote social inclusion.

Read the Task Force’s Recommendations on Diversity and Inclusion for AIS Communities here. 

The task force’s report, which was over a year in the making, led to the creation of an AIS standing committee on diversity and inclusion (D&I) that is responsible for reviewing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts within the AIS. The committee is made up of AIS members from Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, and the USA. AIS Council members, staff, or AIS members can bring DEI-related concerns to the D&I committee to identify recommendations to be considered by AIS Council.

Since it was constituted, the D&I committee has developed diversity and inclusion statements for the AIS and AIS conferences, helped the Council by providing a model harassment policy for Council members’ evaluation, and reviewed DEI efforts led by the AMCIS and ICIS executive committees. As a recent example, the ICIS executive committee has committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among its conference organizing committees. To facilitate these efforts, members of the D&I committee are reviewing and helping to draft appropriate questions that capture gender, racioethnic, and regional diversity of ICIS committee members and track chairs.

Read the AIS Diversity and Inclusion statements here.

The D&I committee will also examine the state of DEI in the AIS on a periodic basis (e.g., every two years) to identify problems, successes, and opportunities to serve AIS members. To that end, the  committee is working closely with AIS leadership and AIS community representatives to support an NSF grant that aims to increase participation and advancement of women IS scholars in the AIS. As well as participating in data collection efforts, the D&I committee will be a central, integrative, organization for data analysis and reporting; thus, enabling the AIS to measure the success of its DEI initiatives over time. 

AIS members may be unaware that the initiatives outlined here are in progress. Meaningful change does not happen quickly and as the SIGSI designee/chair of the D&I committee, I realize that the D&I committee has been focused on doing the work and has not effectively communicated with the community about this progress. We understand that doing the work is not enough. The AIS is a global community and communicating progress helps reduce redundancies in DEI efforts and creates opportunities for integration across AIS communities.  This statement is one step in that direction. As the AIS continues its efforts to build a diverse and inclusive global community of scholars, the D&I committee needs to hear from you. What DEI-related concerns do you think we should be working on right now? Please feel free to email me directly ( and/or leave comments below with your suggestions.



Cynthia Beath says...
Posted Friday, April 23, 2021
Here's what I hope you are working on right now: Getting AIS to regularly measure and report the diversity within its membership, so that the diversity of sub groups of AIS can be correctly assessed! I know this is something you have long recommended. I just wanted you to know you weren't alone in wanting this. AND THANKS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE SO FAR!!
Jane Fedorowicz says...
Posted Thursday, March 4, 2021
Thank you to Michelle and all the members of the D&I committee for your work and leadership on these important initiatives. Let me know how I might help to connect your work with the College of Senior Scholars' efforts to increase the presence and voice of its own minority members, as well as our community more broadly.


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