ATLANTA–Georgia State University is one of 15 universities selected to participate in a national three-year program to increase the diversity of its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty through improved recruitment, hiring and retention practices.
The National Science Foundation-funded program, called “Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty,” promotes inclusive teaching practices and diversity. The program’s ultimate aim is to attract underrepresented students—women, members of minority racial and ethnic groups, people with disabilities and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds—into STEM programs, retain them and help them graduate and succeed in a modern workforce.
“As one of the most diverse research institutions in the nation, we are proud to have been selected for the inaugural cohort of universities in the Aspire Alliance,” said Lisa Armistead, associate provost for graduate programs at Georgia State. “Guided by a committee of Georgia State faculty and administrators, this program will contribute to a range of new and existing efforts in support of Georgia State’s strategic plan.”
The Aspire Alliance will provide participating institutions with comprehensive support and resources for institutional change that includes access to national partners who can offer concierge-style technical assistance. Aspire will also provide access to an institutional self-assessment for inclusive faculty hiring that the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) developed, a leadership institute to assist with professional development for existing faculty from underrepresented groups and a competitive funding program to foster new campus-based initiatives to diversify STEM faculty.
Participating universities will begin by completing the self-assessment of current practices and resources and then create an action plan for change, Armistead said.
“Our priorities include enhancing faculty preparation for inclusive teaching and mentoring and implementing new strategies to attract and retain diverse STEM faculty,” Armistead said.
The 14 other public research universities participating in the inaugural institutional change effort are: California State University, Northridge; Cleveland State University; Florida State University; Montana State University; Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; University of California, Irvine; University of Central Florida; University of Houston; University of Illinois; University of Oregon; University of South Carolina; the University of Texas at San Antonio; University of Vermont; and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Aspire Alliance, which is led by the APLU and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, intends to select 50 more universities as part of two additional cohorts over the next two years.