If you are a faculty member who is interested in maintaining an inclusive research environment in your group that is overtly friendly to members of the LGBTQ+ community, you can signify this by joining the Rainbow Science Network. Your listing as an RSN member will indicate to undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and research staff in the LGBTQ+ community that they are free to bring their whole selves to work for you. By sharing your commitment via the RSN, we aim to encourage and tap into the pool of LGBTQ+ research trainees and help diversify the Penn State research workforce.
By joining the RSN, your name will be listed among other trained and committed faculty. The benefit of joining the RSN is that LGBTQ+ applicants will know, through your membership, that you are committed to maintaining a friendly and inclusive atmosphere towards LGBTQ+ people in your group when they are evaluating which research groups to apply to. LGBTQ+ applicants to RSN member research groups are under no obligation to disclose their LGBTQ+ status (gender, sexual orientation, etc.), and are free to be ‘out’ to the extent that they choose and feel safe. You may never know that someone chose your research group because of the RSN. Those who consult the list of RSN faculty will apply to work in your group via all the usual routes that you currently use to find and evaluate research personnel.
Responsibilities and How to Join the RSN
- Faculty who join the RSN must have completed two trainings offered by the Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity who will provide certification of participation.
- Recognizing that faculty members have many responsibilities and may not be with the research group all day, it is also required that one other member of the group (of any rank) must also complete the trainings to provide a daily presence who may be better placed to recognize any microaggressions or biased behavior that might arise in the faculty members absence. Training of the rest of a group should be encouraged by RSN faculty but is not mandatory for RSN membership.
- RSN faculty members are required to remind their group once a semester (e.g., at a group meeting) that they have made a commitment to foster an inclusive scientific community by joining the RSN and to make their expectations clear in this regard. Please note that in order to avoid inadvertently ‘outing’ someone who selected your group because of its RSN listing, we recommend that this reminder does not coincide with the arrival of any new group members.
- You do not have to have any open research positions to join or maintain your listing on the RSN; it is understood that openings come and go through natural turnover processes.
- As with all interpersonal disputes between group members, RSN faculty members should be prepared to mediate any potential conflicts. Group members should be cognizant of Penn State’s policies on reporting wrongdoing and report any acts of bias or discrimination as a mandated reporter.
To begin the process of becoming recognized as a member of the Rainbow Science Network, please complete the registration form. If you have not already completed the Safer People Safer Places – LGBTQ+ Foundations Workshop and/or completed the Transgender & Gender Inclusion 101 Workshop, you will be notified of upcoming trainings upon completing the form.