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APLU & University of Georgia Announce Third Cohort of Aspire Alliance’s Leadership Development Program for STEM Faculty from Underrepresented Backgrounds

August 10, 2021

Washington, DC – Addressing the national need to broaden diversity and increase inclusion in STEM fields and higher education leadership, the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative (IChange) today announced the third cohort of fellows in its IAspire Leadership Academy. The academy is part of the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative, which the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Georgia lead, and aims to support STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities.

“We’re excited that so many institutions were able to support the participation of emerging STEM leaders from underrepresented groups in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy,” said Howard Gobstein, Director of the Aspire Alliance and Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). “More than ever, we see the need for institutions to cultivate and support diversity in faculty and university leadership, and this year’s class of fellows will be well positioned to advance these goals.”

“It is an honor to provide this leadership development opportunity to so many current and rising leaders from across the country,” said Rochelle Sapp, IAspire Leadership Academy Director and Leadership Development Specialist in the Office of Learning and Organizational Development at the University of Georgia. “Advancing diverse and under-represented groups of leaders in STEM higher education is critical to the success of higher education and society, especially providing these leaders opportunities to focus on their personal leadership skills, goals, and style. We are also hopeful about the power of community among the fellows to create a lasting foundation of mutual support to advance their ongoing development and success.”

The academy is one pillar of diversity and inclusion work underway through the Aspire Alliance (formally known as the National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty). The National Science Foundation-backed alliance is working across post-secondary institutions to develop more inclusive institutional cultures to create a more inclusive and diverse STEM professoriate.

The leadership academy provides professional development for academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles, thus broadening participation in academic leadership. Fellows will learn effective executive leadership skills for increasingly complex higher education environments as well as strategies for influencing institutional transformation in their current and future leadership positions.

The academy is targeted at mid-career individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups interested in serving in college or university leadership roles in STEM fields. The 27 participating faculty and administrators were selected through a competitive, holistic review of their applications. The fellows selected for third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy are:

  • Nicole Beebe, Professor & Chair, University of Texas at San Antonio
     
  • Astrid Cardona, Professor & Chair, University of Texas at San Antonio
     
  • Jill Coleman, Associate Dean, Ball State University
     
  • Lindsay Corneal, Associate Professor and Assistant Director, Grand Valley State University
     
  • Qiana Cutts Givens, Assistant Professor, Mississippi State University
     
  • Maria del Guadalupe (Lupe) Davidson, Associate Dean and Woodburn Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, West Virginia University
     
  • Pamela E. Harris, Associate Professor, Williams College
     
  • Kayunta Johnson-Winters, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington
     
  • Wahyu Lestari, Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
     
  • Kaela Martin, Associate Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott
     
  • Paige Novak, Professor, University of Minnesota
     
  • Esther Obonyo, Director and Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University
     
  • Ruth Ochia, Professor of Instruction, Temple University
     
  • Georgia Papavasiliou, Professor, Illinois Tech
     
  • Antonio Ramirez, Professor and Center Director, The Ohio State University
     
  • Samiksha Raut, Associate Professor, the University of Alabama at Birmingham
     
  • Wendy Reffeor, Professor and Chair, Grand Valley State University
     
  • Lyndsay Rhodes, Associate Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University
     
  • Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
     
  • Breigh Roszelle, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, University of Denver
     
  • Erin Sheets, Associate Dean and Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth
     
  • Melissa Tehee, Associate Professor, Utah State University
     
  • Elizabeth Torres, Professor, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
     
  • Julie Tucker, Associate Professor, Oregon State University
     
  • Thuy Vu, Associate Professor & Associate Chair, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
     
  • Duane Watson, Professor and Associate Dean, Vanderbilt University
     
  • Robin Zhang, Professor and Chair, Murray State University

Learn more about the IAspire Leadership Academy on the Aspire Alliance IAspire Leadership Academy site.

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