1 November 2022

Update from the Beyond Astronomy Academe Task Force

Doris Daou NASA HQ - Planetary Science Division

In 2021 the AAS Board of Trustees approved the formation of a Beyond Astronomy Academe Task Force (BAATF), co-chaired by AAS Treasurer Doris Daou and Finance Committee member Stephen Mackwell. The desired outcome of the Task Force was a well-researched and documented report containing evidenced-based recommendations for undergraduate and graduate astronomy programs to consider in the areas of coursework, experiences, and other possible actions that would better prepare graduates for finding and thriving in careers beyond the so-called ‘ivory tower’. The report can be found on the Beyond Astronomy Academe Task Force web page.

The first and most critical recommendation is the creation of an AAS group, the Corporate Engagement Advisory Committee (CEAC), who reports to the Board and advises the Employment and Education Committees on careers beyond academe. This committee will have purview over all aspects of corporate engagement, including establishing programs and activities that enable the transition for students into private sector careers while engaging corporations and industry to help them understand the skills they need from new employees. Preliminary recommendations for such a committee are provided in the BAATF report. In implementing the recommendations of the Task Force, the CEAC will be supported by the AAS Employment Committee as well as the Education Committee. The time commitment is expected to be on the order of one week per year. 

As the final role of the Task Force, we would like to invite nominations for memberships in the CEAC. Self-nominations are also accepted. As a member of CEAC, you will be helping usher in the first elements of change in order to support our AAS members who choose careers outside of academia. Your role is critical for the success of our effort and in creating a solid base for future generations of the committee. Nominations should include name, institution, position title, and position description, along with short resume relevant to the nature of the CEAC. We expect to have a variety of expertise and institutional backgrounds in the CEAC and are therefore welcoming all our Society’s submissions.

We hope you will be able to join us in this effort and are looking forward to your response. Please feel free to reach out to any of us if you need further information. The pleasure of your response would be welcomed before the end of November, as we would like to introduce the members to our next Board meeting in December 2022.

All nominations should be sent by email to Doris Daou.

The Beyond Astronomy Academe Task Force:

Doris Daou, Chair
Megan Donahue
Kari Frank
John Grunsfeld
Rachel Ivie
Julia Kamenetzky
Joel Kastner
Steve Mackwell
Andrea Schweitzer
Paula Szkody