News & Media

APLU & UW-Madison-Led ASPIRE Alliance Launches New National Program to Help STEM Faculty from Underrepresented Backgrounds Ascend to Leadership Roles

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 inaugural cohort of fellows in its new IAspire Leadership Academy. The leadership program aims to help STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities.

“The inaugural cohort of IAspire Leadership Academy fellows have distinguished themselves as leaders in STEM and we’re thrilled to have them participating,” said Howard Gobstein, Co-Director of the Aspire Alliance and Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). “Diversity starts with faculty and university leadership and this academy will help cultivate inclusion and diversity in the next-generation of university faculty and leaders.”

“We’re thrilled to provide leadership training to some of the most promising faculty from across the country,” said Suzanne Barbour, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Georgia. “Advancing diversity and inclusion in STEM is an urgent national challenge and we simply can’t address the problem without a strong base of leaders who represent the demographics of the country.”

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 Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), administered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are leading the effort.

The new leadership academy provides professional development for academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles. Fellows will learn effective executive leadership skills for increasingly complex higher education environments as well as how to build confidence to influence institutional transformation in their current and future leadership positions.

The academy is targeted at mid-career individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups currently serving in college or university leadership roles in STEM fields. Nearly 60 faculty members in STEM fields at two- and four-year institutions across the country applied for IAspire Fellowships. The 20 participating faculty and administrators were selected through a competitive, blind holistic review of their applications. The fellows selected for inaugural cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy are:

  • Sharnnia Artis, Assistant Dean of Access and Inclusion, University of California, Irvine.
  • Littisha Bates, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Cincinnati.
  • Jamie Coble, Associate Professor, Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Marvin Doyley, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Rochester.
  • Wynter Duncanson, Assistant Dean of Outreach and Diversity, Biomedical Engineering, Boston University.
  • Alejandro Flores, Associate Professor, Geosciences, Boise State University.
  • Nikki Gavin, Dean of Mathematics and Engineering, Lane Community College.
  • Ali Gordon, Associate Dean of Graduate Affairs, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Central Florida.
  • Rachael Johnson, Manager of Strategic Recruitment Initiatives, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado State University.
  • Blanca Lapizco Encinas, Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Rochester Institute of Technology.
  • Fernanda Leite, Associate Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Cynthia Lester, Associate Dean Computer Science and Engineering, Georgia State University.
  • Erika Marin-Spiotta, Professor, Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Kelly Nash, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Director of Kleberg Advanced Microscopy Center, University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Victor Okhuysen, Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
  • Wendy Reed, Dean, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • Abigail Richards, Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University.
  • Karinna Vernaza, Interim Dean, Mechanical Engineering, Gannon University.
  • Mark Weatherspoon, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Florida State University.
  • Michael Young, Associate Professor, Mathematics, Iowa State University.

Led by APLU and Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Aspire Alliance will engage an inaugural cohort of 15 universities to launch its IChange Network. The IChange Network 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. Working with participating institutions as a community of transformation, the IChange Network will also provide access to an institutional self-assessment for inclusive faculty hiring that 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.

In addition to its institutional change efforts, the Aspire Alliance will also be launching a regional change component that will build collaboratives of two-year colleges, four-year regional universities, local research universities, and the private sector. The group will also seek national change through partnerships with an array of disciplinary societies, groups that focused on underrepresented students and faculty, and professional development organizations to align faculty disciplinary experiences.

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

Subscribe to RSS

Browse By Date

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun