Community Agreement

Five Pillars for the CROPPS Community

Supportive Collaborations

Advance Healthy, Synergistic Team Science

CROPPS envisions a center that is a hotbed for cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration. This requires us to be intentional about the ways we work together: with integrity, efficiency, and accountability.

Center-wide actions for developing supportive collaborations
  • Establish collaboration and conflict agreements early on. These will include:
      • Division of tasks and responsibilities
      • Frameworks for authorship
      • Mechanisms for resolving conflict
      • Tools for monitoring progress
  • Provide regular progress updates in Cluster meetings
Peer-to-peer or mentor-trainee
  • Articulate responsibilities that take project funding, academic, and personal obligations into account
  • Act with the utmost integrity in all interactions
  • Ask and provide feedback in meetings regularly
  • Check in on each other
  • Share resources, progress, and wins

Further Safety Across CROPPS

Ensure everyone feels, and is, safe within CROPPS

Lab and fieldwork can present unique challenges that introduce risk to personal and mental health and increased vulnerability to hostile behaviors, especially for those with underrepresented or marginalized identities (Gewin, 2015; Giles et al., 2020; John and Khan, 2018). With this in mind, CROPPS participants must actively cultivate safe lab/field practices that are considerate of our research community, including objective evaluation and re-evaluation of established procedures, helpful accommodations that address personal and mental health during lab and fieldwork, and having established interventions when issues arise (Marín-Spiotta, et al., 2020). Also, community members must be accountable bystanders, intervening when a colleague is experiencing hostility or harm.

Center-wide actions CROPPS will take for furthering safety

  • Establish mechanisms for submitting a grievance/complaint, with clearly defined actions, steps, and consequences for violations
  • Provide appropriate and timely mentorship training
  • Discuss safety and concerns often

Peer-to-peer or mentor-trainee

  • Communicate proactively regarding preferences, worries, and concerns
  • Check in on each other
  • Intervene in or call out situations where participants are experiencing intimidation, hostility, or harm

Value Each Others’ Uniqueness

Embrace CROPPS’ diversity in an inclusive manner

The power of diversity lies in our uniqueness, both individually and collectively. If our diversity is unified through equitable and inclusive team science practices, we can maximize our results and have an optimal community experience. To realize our vision of excellence in team science, we must cultivate a sense of belonging that places a high value on the uniqueness that each CROPPS participant brings. Just by doing so, the isolation and discomfort that often leads people, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, to disconnect from an organization can be mitigated.

Center-wide actions CROPPS will take for valuing uniqueness

  • Remove barriers to participation, wherever possible, especially for participants from historically underrepresented backgrounds
  • Invest in education of team science practices for all CROPPS participants
  • Implement inclusive avenues for gathering and sharing feedback
  • Highlight the various talents, backgrounds, expertise, and achievements within CROPPS

Peer-to-peer or mentor-trainee

  • Embrace diversity by learning from each other, educating each other, and questioning one’s own unconscious biases
  • Resist critical/negative comments on a colleague’s appearance, work style, speech, and avoid scrutiny (monitoring someone more closely based on a demographic) (Gray, 2019)
  • Share experiences that shape one’s motivation for research

Foster Belonging

Cultivate personal connections in our CROPPS community

It takes intentionality and thoughtfulness to form connections with others who are in a different time zone from you. Simple social interactions, such as knowing each other’s names and building relationships that allow one to develop an understanding and appreciation for their fellow CROPPS colleague, are direct ways of fostering belonging.

Center-wide actions CROPPS will take to foster belonging

  • Define the meaning and value of belonging in CROPPS
  • Establish a monthly newsletter
  • Deliver and support CROPPS social events that encourage relationship-building
  • Encourage personal stories at the start of research presentations

Peer-to-peer or mentor-trainee

  • Participate in social engagements
  • Check in with your peers
  • Develop personal, caring, relationships for a human understanding of each other’s personality and identity
  • Know each other’s name
  • Provide and embrace peer mentoring

Be Mindful of Others’ Time, Energy and Needs

Prepare, meet and work with your CROPPS’ colleagues in mind

Setting clear objectives for meetings, starting and ending meetings on time, or receiving consent in an inclusive manner before recording meetings are a few of the ways we can be mindful of each others’ time, energy and needs. While in CROPPS it is necessary for many of us to meet together, we do not need to be burdensome as we are all juggling multiple roles and duties.

Center-wide actions CROPPS will take to mind participants time, energy and needs

  • Utilize agendas that are circulated prior to all CROPPS meetings
  • Ensure the pertinent parties are present at meetings
  • Promote work-life balance

Peer-to-peer or mentor-trainee

  • Consider various time zones when scheduling meetings
  • Start and end on time
  • Utilize inclusive avenues of soliciting permission for recording meetings
  • Inquire about individual needs to achieve stated goals
  • Where possible, avoid emails, text, or phone calls during common off-times

Beginning with the center’s first annual meeting & symposium in 2022, the CROPPS community conducted a series of thoughtful conversations about our expectations of each other, as we engage in this highly collaborative, transdisciplinary, and multi-institutional endeavor. The result of these discussions is the first official release of our Community Agreement, which contains five main pillars. This Community Agreement does not always provide specific direction on how to interact with each other in every instance; when appropriate, it provides a framework that community members should use to establish their own norms around specific projects or engagements, early and explicitly. We view this community agreement as a living document and recognize the implementations of these actions will take time. Therefore, we aim to continually refine it as its impact on our research community is realized.

Accountability Plan

To ensure the Community Agreement is enacted and our CROPPS community is held accountable to it, CROPPS leadership has proposed developing the following actions for reporting and evaluating the community agreement:

  • Center-wide
    • When established, utilize our internal website to house a private avenue for submissions of violations
    • Establish and communicate protocols to our research community with clear guidelines for addressing any reported complaints
    • Report progress on the implementation of the community agreement to both the Executive and Trainee Leadership Councils on a quarterly basis

Prepared by:

Darius Melvin

Darius Melvin

Annika Huber

José Martínez

The CROPPS Community