Yet Another Report Tells NASA Things That NASA Will Ignore

Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Competed Space Mission Leadership at NASA Will Require Extensive Efforts Along Entire Career Pathways, Says New Report, National Academy of Sciences

"Inadequate data gathering and reporting are critical barriers to NASA's understanding of the efficacy of its own DEIA efforts to date, and of the proposal leadership pool's demographics, according to the report. These are necessary steps for measuring progress, and for identifying and eliminating barriers in the mission proposal process. The report recommends developing a systematic approach to routinely monitor and track the demographics of those participating in NASA-funded research, both for competed missions and research and analysis grants, with the public release of the resulting data. Further, SMD should provide funding for professional organizations to regularly conduct workforce surveys across the directorate's research fields to inform NASA on the demographics of the workforce and the barriers and opportunities for advancement along career pathways. The report also recommends that NASA empanel a standing NASA Advisory Council (NAC) committee specifically focused on DEIA issues. That committee should have a broad charter and world-class membership to advise top NASA leadership, and its chair should serve on the NAC."

Keith's note: This report focuses on the NASA Science Mission Directorate but is perfectly applicable to NASA as a whole. NASA gets reports like this on a regular basis. They pay lip service, say thank you, and then ignore whatever the report says. NASA is chronically lacking with regard to the basic data that you'd need to understand what NASA's audiences are, what services they need, who within those audiences actually pays attention to NASA education and outreach, and what the results of these interactions actually accomplish (and where they fail to do so).

NASA's education and outreach efforts are disjointed and do not talk to one another. They are duplicative, and are often tailored around the pet notions of the NASA individuals managing the programs. And no one at NASA in a position to plan strategy (there is no strategy)for education and outreach at NASA is actually professionally qualified to create and implement a strategy. People in jobs where these roles are located often moved there from unrelated jobs that they were originally hired to do. The NASA Advisory Council has a education and outreach working group that has short meetings and accomplishes nothing of value.

With regard to work force issues and understanding the actual audiences that need to be attended to so as to get the best possible research proposals, NASA is also sadly lacking. With regard ot the results of NASA research - aside from pretty pictures, and staged media events - NASA fools itself with large numbers of Twitter followers and news stories. Does NASA actually ask actual citizens what they think - and what they know - and what they want from NASA? No. NASA loves to transmit but they have a chronic problem when it comes to actually listening.

Did I miss anything?

Keith's update: AH, but then there's this - from the only AA at NASA who actually "gets it".

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John Glenn Memorial Symposium - July 18-20, 2022
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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on May 18, 2022 1:21 PM.

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