Nature Astronomy ( IF 11.518 ) Pub Date : 2019-12-06 , DOI: 10.1038/s41550-019-0961-2 Kathryn V. Johnston
As the diversity of people in higher education grows, universities are struggling to provide inclusive environments that nurture the spirit of free inquiry in the presence of these differences. Throughout my career as an astronomer, I have witnessed these struggles first-hand. Exclusive cultures result in unfulfilled potential of all members of the institution — students, administrators and faculty alike. This Perspective draws on insights from dynamical systems descriptions of conflict developed in the social and behavioural sciences to present a model that captures the convoluted, interacting challenges that stifle progress on this problem. This description of complexity explains the persistence of exclusive cultures and the inadequacy of simple fixes. It also motivates the necessity of prolonged and multifaceted approaches to solutions. It is incumbent on our faculties to recognize the complexities in both problems and solutions, and persevere in responding to these intractable dynamics, on our administrations to provide the consistent structure that supports these tasks, and on all of our constituents to be cognizant of and responsive to these efforts.