Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Systems Sciences

A Snapshot of ISSS Today and a View Towards Tomorrow


  • Marty Jacobs Social Impact Consulting


Diversity, equity, inclusion, systems literacy, ISSS


ISSS prides itself on being “among the first and oldest organizations devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems, and remains perhaps the most broadly inclusive.” There is an urgent need in society for greater systems literacy, and the more diverse the membership of ISSS becomes, the more likely systems literacy will increase across disciplines as well as genders and cultures.


Last December the ISSS board of directors approved the formation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Systems Sciences SIG. Our purpose is to


  • Share research in the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion particularly as it relates to the Systems Sciences;
  • Share examples of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion applications;
  • Examine how both the ISSS and the larger systems community can increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within and across their organizations;
  • Promote a sense of belonging, caring for others, acceptance of norms of behavior; and
  • Become an engine/enabler for providing tools, techniques and support to various ISSS groups and projects and to the larger systems community so as to affect an increase in DEI.


In June, the DEI SIG surveyed the membership to establish a baseline of DEI for ISSS. This session will present the results of the survey and will invite participants into a conversation about what the findings mean and how we want to proceed with increasing DEI within the ISSS.

Author Biography

Marty Jacobs, Social Impact Consulting

Marty Jacobs is currently a doctoral student in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University. Her research interests are in transformative and organizational learning in multi-sector transformational change, as well as complex adaptive systems and system sciences. She has been teaching and consulting for twenty years, applying a systems thinking approach to organizations. Marty has served on a variety of nonprofit, professional, and school boards over the past twenty years and has also written for The Systems Thinker, Vermont Business Magazine, American School Board Journal, Leverage Points Blog, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, and Confident Voices for Nurses on topics related to organizational learning, leadership, systems thinking, workplace culture, board governance, and community engagement.