Lab Management Community of Practice: Best practices for supporting community and inclusion in labs  

Objectives: Share ways to promote community and inclusion. Learn about different community-supporting activities in other areas of campus. Bring more intentional leadership to communities you belong to.

From David Krakaur, former Director of the WID 10/22/2013 UW News

“Communication is so important, but there are not many opportunities to get together to talk about our questions and problems in a nontechnical way. Our feeling is that collaborations start informally, but the opportunities for informal meeting are diminishing. The unstructured nature of Discovery’s tea provides a mixing vessel for people from different strata of the academic community — from graduate students up to senior faculty and back — and a level of familiarity that breeds a different sort of interaction.”


From Richie Davidson, Director of the Center for Healthy Minds 02/08/2018 Linkedin

“the quality of our connections and how close we feel to others is a strong contributor to whether we’re flourishing or flailing.”


Discussion themes and tips from the LMCoP:

Food — Include food and food themes (e.g., apple tasting, coffee tasting, chili cookoff)

Schedule — Consistent time and place.

Point person — Point person makes it happen.

Personally invite people to join rather than send an email.

Include students – ignore hierarchy.

Consider off-site opportunities — Make use of the structure of your projects (e.g., long car rides, field work)

Brief and active things are often successful. Walk somewhere nearby for ice cream or coffee.

Select an activity that doesn’t feel “frivolous” (e.g., community service outing). Midwesterners like to be industrious. Lab cleanup projects can build community.

Model the behavior.

Meetings — Include something social prior to business in meetings.

Have the expectation that “this is what we do.”

Say to your PI: “I know community is a value for you. It’s time to do something social.”

Managers and PIs set the tone – If PIs participate in community, others will participate. If managers model sharing about family and pets, it creates space for others to do the same.

Ignore barriers and set up celebrations. Respect people’s wishes not to be celebrated and invite them to choose a day to celebrate (e.g., Ground Hogs Day)


The spectrum of organized community events varies widely. Some groups have four picnics per year and weekly teas. Others don’t talk to anyone for the whole day and feel confined to a 2.5’ space.

The cost of not investing in community? Slippery slope to toxic environments that are difficult to recover from.

Reminder: Monthly LMCoP events are a great source of community and professional development. J







Creating Community, numerous training opportunities, reports and more


Institutional Statement on Diversity

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW–Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background — people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.


Institutional Statement on Campus Climate

UW–Madison is committed to creating a community where every person feels welcome, valued, and able to succeed.

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