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Projects & Initiatives

APLU INCLUDES: Diversifying STEM Faculty

APLU INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) is a National Science Foundation-sponsored project aimed at expanding the diversity of STEM faculty by increasing the number and percentage of underrepresented and traditionally underserved groups, consisting of women, members of minority racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Through a collaborative, evidence-based approach, the two-year project seeks to provide APLU’s membership of more than 230 public universities and university systems with tools to broaden student participation in STEM programs, foster career pathways toward the professoriate, and provide tools for universities to effectively recruit, hire, and retain faculty from underrepresented groups.  Together we are helping scale transformational practices to better ensure the diversity of STEM faculty reflects the diversity of the nation.


Our Objectives

Over a two year period, APLU INCLUDES is connecting member institutions and expert partner organizations to learn from each other’s experiences and work in concert to expand the diversity of STEM faculty to include more underrepresented groups. 

APLU is focusing its efforts on three objectives over this initial two year period of the NSF Launch Pilot program:

  • Objective 1: Develop a set of diagnostic tools and practices to more effectively recruit, hire, retain, and support faculty from traditionally underrepresented populations within STEM.
  • Objective 2: Identify a suite of transformative institutional activities to increase participation along the STEM pathways toward the professoriate in order to build the pool of future candidates.  Engage a network of institution clusters for implementation.
  • Objective 3: Evaluate the adequacy and coverage of current data sources and metrics available to track the progress and success of STEM students from entry into postsecondary education through the professoriate.
  • Why Diversifying STEM Faculty Matters

    Broadening participation within STEM faculty is has been demonstrated in recent research as key to broadening student participation in STEM fields and cultivating a STEM workforce able to tackle 21st century problems.  Despite the centrality of diversity in learning and student success, efforts to increase underrepresented faculty at a national scale have been largely unsuccessful in STEM fields.  Research has also indicated that diverse teams in STEM are more innovative, more productive, and better able to solve complex problems than heterogeneous groups.

    APLU’s more than 230 members are particularly poised to achieve movement on this complex issue as they award a high number of STEM undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees and employ a significant number of STEM faculty. According to the National Science Board’s 2016 Science and Engineering Indicators, public research universities award 48 percent of all science and engineering undergraduate degrees, 40 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of doctoral degrees.

  • Working with NSF

    APLU INCLDUES is one of NSF’s inaugural INCLUDES Launch Pilot grantees.  The INCLUDES program aims to create alliances and partnerships to broaden participation in the STEM workforce by improving access to STEM education and career pathways at a significant national scale. It is a special new effort for NSF, listed as one of its 10 Big Ideas for Future Investments in 2016 when the first awards were made. 


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