New Initiative: AMS Equity Assessment

Updated on 9/6/2023

AMS needs your support - the support of all members, volunteers, staff - to create a welcoming and inclusive culture. 

Culture Survey Response Goal:
50% of current AMS members.

Your participation will help us reach this goal!

The AMS Culture Survey is here! We want to hear from you! Anyone who has engaged with AMS is eligible to take the survey. Please check your email for a link to the Culture Survey.

You can read more about the Culture Survey and Equity Assessment below, download the article featured in the August issue of the digital BAMS, or watch the webinar Creating Cultural Change through Data: The American Meteorological Society Equity Assessment.

Why has AMS initiated an Equity Assessment?

We have initiated an Equity Assessment (EA) to allow the organization to fully integrate equity, inclusion, and justice (EIJ) into our programmatic activities and policies, foster a sense of belonging for our membership, staff, and volunteers, and guide the activities of the Society over the short- and long-term.

AMS Equity Assessment Vision

The Equity Assessment gathers information about the experiences of members, volunteers, and staff with AMS around equity, inclusion, and justice. It strengthens awareness of challenges and opportunities for the Society to become the diverse, inclusive, and respectful community that is essential for our science. The process builds on our history of equity, inclusion, and justice (EIJ) work and develops the foundation for strategic, coordinated action.

The Equity Assessment aligns with our Core Value that a diverse, inclusive, and respectful community is essential for our science and our Strategic Goal to cultivate a talented, diverse, and enthusiastic workforce in the professions served by the AMS. 

What is an Equity Assessment?

An Equity Assessment is a structured set of activities that illuminates an organization’s current culture, reveals the experiences of its members and staff, and provides strategic direction and transparency. The goal is to create an equitable, inclusive, and just organization. For 50 years, AMS has been working to create a more inclusive society and has several ongoing initiatives that support this work. 

The Equity Assessment is our next step in this lifelong work. The Equity Assessment, initiated at the 103rd Annual Meeting, is not meant to isolate our efforts to a single project. Rather, it is meant as a catalyst for sustained engagement and will allow us to more fully integrate EIJ into our programmatic activities and policies, foster a sense of belonging for our membership, volunteers, and staff, and guide the activities of the Society over the short and long term. 

When will this happen?

We are conducting the equity assessment between January 2023 and May 2024.

What’s the process?

Our funding from the AIP Venture Grant ($118,700), has supported opportunities to gather information on experiences of equity and inclusion at AMS throughout the project timeline. 

Development of the Culture Survey: 

A culture survey is an opportunity to better understand the experiences of the AMS community with equity inclusion, and justice. It is one way to ask important questions of our community and learn from their responses. From January to June 2023, the AMS Equity Assessment Core Team collaborated with consultants at Integrated Work to gather a wide range of input on what we want to learn through the equity assessment. There are, of course, an infinite number of questions that we could ask, but we want to keep the culture survey focused on the areas that are most important to understand. We also want a high response rate, and we know people are more likely to complete a short survey. Through input calls and focus groups with members, leaders, and the Equity Assessment Task Force, the categories below emerged as the most important information to be collected in this survey.

Core Questions

The AMS Culture Survey will seek to answer three significant questions.

  1. What experiences are people having as members of the AMS?
  2. Who is having those experiences?
  3. How are those experiences impacting their perception and participation with the AMS?
Areas of Focus

We will seek to answer these significant questions by focusing on these major areas.

  • Belonging: What does it mean to AMS membership to belong, and are they experiencing belonging? How does AMS culture support belonging?
  • Bias: When are there gaps between AMS’s ideals around EIJ and members’ experiences? Who experiences these gaps?
  • Equitable Access: Who has access to participate and advance in AMS? How does this impact their experience of the organization, their career path, and their retention in the society?
Reporting Out: Setting Ourselves Up for Action

Three presentations to different stakeholder groups provide another opportunity to gather input. In addition to communicating assessment outcomes and recommendations, stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their reactions to the results. These facilitated conversations are another source of qualitative information to guide the development of the EIJ Strategic Plan and create momentum for strategic, coordinated action. We are planning for one of the presentations at the 104th Annual Meeting and one as a webinar, both of which will be recorded, so that all members can engage with the results of the data analysis. The third will be determined based on needs that we identified during the process. 

Who is involved?

Group Members Summary of Key Tasks
External Evaluators Integrated Work Developing communications plans, interviewing focus groups, leading creation of Culture Survey, follow up focus groups after survey, data analysis, and final report.

Core Team

DEI Director, CIC Chair, AED/Head of Development

Partnering closely with IW in all tasks. Provide input on best approaches to meet AMS needs. Provide updates to stakeholders. 

AMS Leadership

ED, AEDs, Directors, EC, Council, Commissioners

Ensure ongoing institutional commitment and accountability and encouraging staff and membership participation. Leadership as part of one of the three pre-survey focus groups. 

Equity Assessment Task force

Representatives from each Commission, EC, Council, CIC, and staff

Link to membership and encouraging participation of members in the EA and Culture Survey. One of three pre-survey focus groups. 


All CIC and BRAID members

Encourage participation of all AMS members in the EA and Culture Survey. Two folks from CIC and one from BRAID are members of the EA Task force.

AMS Staff

All AMS Staff

Take the Culture Survey and encourage member and volunteer participation.  

AMS Members & Volunteers

All AMS Members

Participation in the Culture Survey.

Equity Assessment Task Force

Roles of the Equity Assessment Task Force

  1. Serve as a link to membership in the process so we can gather input and encourage involvement from across the Society.
  2. Served as one of our pre-survey focus groups which will support the development of the Survey Instrument.
  3. Help us get the word out about the EA and encourage all members to participate in the Culture Survey.
  4. Reviewed and tested the draft of the Culture Survey Instrument before it is sent to the AMS community.

Henry Huntington

Publications Commission

Curtis Walker


Rei Ueyama


Ankur Desai


Joseph Trujillo Falcon


Dillion Blout

Professional Affairs Commission

Jen Henderson

Planning Commission

Kandis Boyd


Brad Coleman


Melissa Burt


Katie Boyd


Gideon Alegado

Staff (Community Engagement)

Gwendolyn Whittaker

Staff (Director of Publications)


What’s next? The Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Strategic Plan

Data collected from the first steps in the Equity Assessment (Culture Survey, pre- and post survey groups) will be used to develop a strategic plan that will guide our EIJ organizational goals. These goals will be developed with continued input from AMS members and staff. 

The Strategic Plan will lay out strategies and tactics that we will employ to increase equity and inclusion at AMS. It will apply metrics and benchmarks that we will use to measure our progress over time. The metrics will be used to direct resources to the most successful strategies, and to iteratively improve the design and implementation of training, processes, and policies. The EIJ Plan will serve as a guideline for AMS and will support the integration of equitable and inclusive practices in all AMS activities.

We all have a role and responsibility to create a welcoming Society. Join us! Take the Culture Survey in mid-September. Engage in the EIJ planning process. Support our strategic goals through action.

Words matter. Language is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans. It has the potential to create a common understanding. The importance of shared language is even more crucial when we are working to dismantle the histories of exclusion and marginalization around identity. Given that language is dynamic, it is key to start with shared definitions.

Shared Language in Equity Work