In November of 2008, a national advisory group was established to reverse a noticeable trend in the underrepresentation of individuals with disabilities in the geoscience profession. This advisory group was built around stakeholders in the geosciences, science education, disabilities education and members of various research organizations. The advisory was charged with identifying current research opportunities and inclusively-designed instruction for underrepresented students with disabilities, while seeking to raise awareness of improving access and inclusion in the geoscience disciplines for students and geoscientists with diverse abilities.
Through international interest, the advisory expanded to the global community in November of 2010. The advisory grew from a small group of 15, to a network of over 50, speaking at national and international geoscience and science education meetings and conferences, and providing workshops to practicing instructors and graduate teaching assistants on using Inclusively-designed pedagogies in geoscience courses. In January of 2013, the organization was officially transformed into an international association with the network nearing 100 members from across the United States, and in eight countries. With a membership approved Constitution and Bylaws, and an elected Executive Committee, the association began building momentum and establishing partnerships with other geoscience and accessibility organizations and professional societies.
Today, the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD) is composed of higher education faculty, staff and students, geoscience industry representatives, disabilities education researchers, and members of the community-at-large. While maintaining the original visions, the membership within the IAGD network spans five continents, and continues to spearhead the promotion of awareness in improving access, accommodation and inclusion for students, faculty, and geoscientists with disabilities in the geosciences across the globe.
Additionally, the IAGD is working to establish a foundation that will assist students, instructors and researchers in broadening participation in the geosciences. Core objectives of the IAGD Foundation include supporting student travel to geoscience conferences and meetings and providing seed funding for innovative research focused on access and inclusion in geoscience training programs.