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

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 second cohort of fellows in its IAspire Leadership Academy. The leadership program aims to support STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. The IAspire Leadership Academy is part of Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change Initiative, led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Georgia.

“The second cohort of IAspire Leadership Academy fellows represent a broad diversity of STEM fields and leadership experiences across higher education sectors,” said Howard Gobstein, Director of the Aspire Alliance and Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). “More inclusive college and university cultures require diversity in faculty and university leadership, and this academy helps to support the next generation of university faculty and leaders.”

“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, especially providing the rare opportunity for them to focus on their own personal development. If we can grow and develop these individuals, the impact they will have in their disciplines and at their institutions will go even further to address the critical need we see in broadening participation in STEM higher education.”

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 supporting the access and success of all undergraduate STEM students, especially those from underrepresented groups.

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 24 participating faculty and administrators were selected through a competitive, blind holistic review of their applications. The fellows selected for second cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy are:

  • Jana Bouwma-Gearhart, Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Advancement, Science and Mathematics Education, Oregon State University.
  • Melissa Burt, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado State University.
  • Adrienne Carter-Sowell, Associate Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Texas A&M University.
  • David Claudio, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Montana State University.
  • Tameka Clemons, Assistant Professor, Professional Medical Education, Meharry Medical College.
  • Jana Diesner, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Whitney Gaskins, Assistant Dean, Inclusive Excellence and Community and Engagement, University of Cincinnati.
  • Jennifer Gerz-Escandon, Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Education and Fellowship Programs, The Graduate School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Pheather Harris, Director, Center for Educational Partnerships, University of California, Irvine.
  • Devin Harris, Associate Professor, Engineering Systems and Environment, University of Virginia.
  • Misty Humphries, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of California, Davis.
  • Veerle Keppens, Department Head, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Ozlem Kilic, Associate Dean Academic and Student Affairs, Tickle College of Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Bori Mazzag, Professor, Mathematics, Humboldt State University.
  • Sharon Miller, Associate Chair, Biomedical Engineering, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • Kristina Rigden, Director, Outreach Programs and Women in Engineering, College of Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, Pomona.
  • Ruthmae Sears, Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of South Florida.
  • Veronica Segarra, Assistant Professor, Biology, High Point University.
  • Lynne Slivovsky, Director, Computer Engineering, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.
  • Sharon Tettegah, Director and Professor, The Department of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Vicki Todd, Faculty, Mathematics, Southwestern Community College.
  • Cari Vanderpool, Professor and Associate Head, Microbiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Nicole Wicha, Associate Professor, Biology, University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Woodrow Winchester, Director of Engineering Management, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Learn more about the IAspire Leadership Academy on the Aspire Alliance IAspire Leadership Academy site. Additionally, the Institutional Change Network is now accepting applications for the third cohort of institutions wishing to engage in a three-year systemic transformation process to develop a more inclusive and diverse STEM faculty (Join the IChange Network).

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