Workshop: How to Start a Peer-Led SVSH Prevention Program

RPR is excited to announce a workshop designed to train physics & astronomy graduate students on how to start a peer-led SVSH prevention program at their home institutions.

The workshop will be held on January 16th & 17th 2020 in 375 LeConte Hall on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

There are two main goals of the workshop:

  1. Give graduate students the tools & training to lead their own peer-led SVSH prevention training programs.
  2. Share ideas and strategies for improving the climate in physics & astronomy departments.


All events are held in 375 LeConte Hall (except for dinner on Thursday, which will be held on the 6th floor of Campbell Hall).


  • 9:00 – 10:30: Coffee & introduction
  • 10:30 – 11:30: RPR presentation
  • 11:30 – 12:30: Tips on writing a presentation
  • 12:30 – 1:30: Lunch (provided)
  • 1:30 – 2:00: Workshop goal-setting
  • 2:00 – 3:00: Case studies
  • 3:00 – 3:30: Coffee / snacks (provided)
  • 3:30 – 4:30: Tips on writing case studies
  • 4:30 – 5:00: Writing case studies
  • 5:00 – 5:30: Discussion
  • 6:00 – Dinner (provided; on 6th floor of Campbell Hall)


  • 9:00 – 9:30: Coffee (provided)
  • 9:30 – 10:00: Tips for facilitating small-group discussions
  • 10:00 – 11:00: Practice facilitating
  • 11:00 – 11:30: RPR history: wisdom on starting a peer-led program
  • 11:30 – 1:15: Lunch (provided) plus panel discussion on logistics
  • 1:15 – 2:30: Lightning talks: Edward Buie II, Mia de los Reyes, Connie Hsueh
  • 2:30 – 3:00: Coffee / snacks (provided)
  • 3:00 – 4:15: Lightning talks: Jenna Samuel, Brean Prefontaine, Laura Chang
  • 4:15 – 6:00: Climate town hall / “unconferencing”; workshop wrap-up


Please fill out an application to attend the workshop here! Applications are due by Monday November 4th, 2019. More info about RPR and the workshop schedule is below.

If you have any questions, email the current RPR coordinators— Wren Suess & Micah Brush— at info<at>

The Respect is Part of Research workshop model

RPR is based on the idea that peer-led training is the most effective way to communicate social norms. By starting incoming graduate students off with the same expectations on what type of community we’d like to have in our departments, we hope to mitigate potential climate problems before they rise to the level of SVSH complaints. We also want to give everyone the tools to communicate about difficult issues and have productive discussions about department climate. Our goal is to create a respectful, positive working environment where everyone can do their best science.

To this effect, we run a 2-3 hour workshop each year for all incoming physics & astronomy graduate students at Berkeley. The workshop consists of:

  1. A 45-minute presentation that covers the types of behavior we’d like to encourage in our department, effective bystander intervention, how to respond to difficult situations, and both federal and university SVSH-related laws & policies. This part of the workshop satisfies the university’s SVSH training requirement.
  2. Small group discussion of case studies, facilitated by older graduate students in the department. These case studies are based on real experiences of Berkeley graduate students, and are designed to be “grey areas” where it can be difficult to know how to effectively respond.

Over the past few years, RPR has spread to other STEM departments on the UC Berkeley campus; we have extensive experience helping graduate students implement their own version of a successful peer-led SVSH prevention training. We’re excited to extend this work further by including you— physics & astronomy graduate students at other institutions!

Workshop schedule

The first day of the workshop will focus on the RPR workshop model. We will:

  • give some history and motivation on why we do peer-led SVSH training
  • go through our workshop with all attendees
  • train everyone on how to effectively facilitate case study discussion

The second day will focus on how to get an RPR-style group started at your institution. We will go over:

  • how to work with university officials and faculty members to make the training mandatory and satisfy university requirements
  • how to write an effective introductory presentation
  • how to develop case studies

Finally, we’ll have a series of lightning talks and posters from workshop attendees on methods they use at their home institutions to improve the climate in their departments. We want to use this workshop as an opportunity to share ideas and develop new ways to make physics & astronomy a more welcoming and inclusive place for all scientists. We plan on integrating time for “climate town hall“-type discussions throughout the workshop.


There is no cost to attend this workshop. Thanks to generous support from the UC Berkeley Physics Department, we will provide breakfast, lunch, and afternoon coffee on both Thursday and Friday, as well as a social dinner on Thursday.

We may be able to provide some “grad school visit” style housing options (i.e., stay with a current grad student) to cut down on lodging costs. Berkeley also has an abundance of Airbnb rooms and hotels.

We may also be able to provide small grants to help offset the cost of travel and lodging (TBD based on our funding). However, we recommend that you attempt to get support from your home institution. We have provided a template letter as an example of how to ask your faculty advisor and/or department chair and/or faculty climate advisor, etc, for travel assistance. You may also be able to receive funding through your institution— check out travel grants offered by your university, or get in contact with your university’s office for SVSH education (often, these folks give out grants for SVSH training programs; you may be eligible for one!).

Guidelines for talks / posters

We’d love to hear what you’ve been working on to help improve the climate at your home institution. These talks/posters can be short and informal; the idea is to share strategies for what has (or hasn’t) been effective in your home department. Presentations can range anywhere from small in scope (e.g., your specific research group) to large in scope (e.g., the institutional level). We’re excited to hear about programs that you’ve already implemented, discussions around best practices, or new ideas that you’d like to pursue in the future. The goal of these presentations is to make space for productive discussions about how grad students can positively affect climate. We’ve left the topic purposely open-ended because we’re sure that there are tons of great ideas and initiatives that you have that we haven’t even considered!

Presentations are not mandatory to attend the workshop, but we’d love to hear from you.