CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of 15 public research universities selected for an inaugural three-year institutional program to enhance its faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices. The National Science Foundation-funded Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty promotes inclusive teaching practices and diversity.
Participating universities will complete a self-assessment of their current practices and resources in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, followed by the development and implementation of an action plan.
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“Illinois is not alone in our unflinching commitment to creating a learning environment in the STEM fields that is open and inclusive of students and faculty members from all backgrounds,” said Provost Andreas Cangellaris. “This focused and collaborative alliance provides us the opportunity to share our experiences, learn from one another and innovate together in ways that will accelerate our progress.
“We’re not at the starting line, by any means, but a lot more needs to be done to advance our inclusion and diversity goals in the STEM academic disciplines. This is what the Aspire Alliance is all about, and we are excited to be part of it.”
The 14 other public research universities participating in the inaugural institutional change effort are: California State University, Northridge; Cleveland State University; Florida State University; Georgia State University; Montana State University; Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Central Florida; the University of Houston; the University of Oregon; the University of South Carolina; the University of Texas, San Antonio; the University of Vermont; and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The Aspire Alliance intends to select 50 additional universities as part of two additional cohorts over the next two years. While focused on cultivating inclusive teaching practices and diversifying faculty, the alliance’s ultimate aim is to attract underrepresented students – women, members of minority racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds – into STEM programs, retain them, and help them graduate and succeed in a modern STEM workforce.