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Shirley Malcom

Shirley Malcom
Job Title:
Senior Advisor and Director of SEA Change, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Shirley Malcom is senior advisor and director of SEA Change at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change is a bold new initiative from AAAS effecting institutional transformation in support of diversity and inclusion, especially in colleges and universities. Inspired by the self-assessment process and framework used by Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter in the UK, SEA Change comprises of three elements:

  • An Institute containing resource materials relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) and higher education, including a research repository, convenings, courses, and trainings
  • A supportive Community of similarly committed institutions and allied organizations and individuals in the greater STEMM community
  • The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards that recognize institutions for their commitment to and creation of sustainable systemic change through self-assessment

SEA Change has 12 Charter Members who have publicly adopted the SEA Change Principles and are committed to including diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core component of their institutional mission and five Institutional Bronze award holders. Institutional Bronze Award winners must have completed the self-assessment of their institution’s policies, procedures and climate, demonstrate a deep understanding of the underlying issues contributing to the challenges they face, and create an action plan to address those challenges and the most recent two Bronze award winners were celebrated at a virtual ceremony on the 25th February 2021.  

2021 will be an exciting year for SEA Change as the programme will also be launching Departmental Awards later this year that focus on policies and procedures within specific departments, as well as Biomedicine Awards that focus on policies and procedures within medical schools and health science centres.

In her more than 40-year tenure at the Association Shirley has worked to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEM as well as to enhance public science literacy. Dr. Malcom is a trustee of Caltech and regent of Morgan State University. She is a former member of the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the U.S. National Science Foundation, and served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.  Malcom, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received her PhD in ecology from the Pennsylvania State University, masters in zoology from UCLA and bachelor’s with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington.  In addition, she holds 17 honorary degrees.

Malcom is a former high school science teacher and university faculty member. She serves on the boards of the Heinz Endowments, Public Agenda, National Math-Science Initiative and Digital Promise Global. In 2003, Malcom received the Public Welfare Medal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the highest award given by the Academy.