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Institutional Change Network

APLU’s Institutional Change (IChange) Network helps public research universities create the environment and policies that attract, retain, and support a thriving faculty to advance the institution’s education, research, and engagement missions. IChange uses an institutional-and community-based approach to create a customized action plan that helps colleges and universities addressing practice and policy barriers that exist in:

  • Institutional context, including culture and climate;
  • Faculty recruitment, including outreach, building candidate pools, and candidate selection;
  • Faculty hiring, including job offers, negotiation, and onboarding; and
  • Faculty retention, including professional development, promotion and tenure, and job satisfaction and support.

IChange provides frameworks and tools to support institutions as they tackle challenges and improve their academic workplace. This is coupled with an active and managed peer-learning network where public university leaders can share their experiences with institutions facing similar challenges so they can learn and improve together and elevate promising practices for the broader community. A governing board comprised of seven member institutions and an APLU Liaison guide the IChange Network.

Why it matters: Attracting, developing, and supporting a high-performing faculty is key to educating students and advancing world-class research and community engagement that solves some of our most vexing challenges.

Commitments: Participating institutions commit to identifying campus-based project leaders and teams who agree to create and implement an action plan to advance institutional transformation. Each summer, the IChange Network convenes in person at a member institution to share their progress throughout the year, amend or update their action plans, identify larger trends in the work of the ICircles and Network, and strategize future Network priorities and endeavors. Participants also engage in network-wide meetings to share their progress, achievements, and challenges. Additionally, schools complete ongoing surveys and other evaluations with the network.

How It Works

Universities work in a launch cohort in which the APLU team provides each institution tools and technical support to create a campus-based team of senior academic leaders to champion the work that includes a self-assessment of institutional faculty, a practice and policies audit, and the creation of a draft data-informed action plan.

The institution’s action plan addresses barriers in at least one of four areas – institutional culture, faculty recruitment, faculty hiring, or faculty retention – to focus on in the first year. This approach allows institutions to critically examine policies and procedures that may be inhibiting faculty success, with support from experts with a national perspective of leading faculty success policies.

After the first year, institutions implement their action plan, focusing on making changes that improve institutional culture, faculty recruitment, faculty hiring, or faculty retention. They also join regionally-based peer groups known as IChange Network Circles (ICircles) where, working in groups of typically 7-8 universities, they collaborate with other IChange institutions on the finalization and implementation of their action plans. ICircles share challenges and best practices and collectively collaborate to advance faculty success through joint planning and support. More than three dozen public research universities are already engaged in a thriving ICircle Network.

What’s Next?

APLU and the NSF Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Aspire Alliance team are accepting applications to the join the next cohort of eight to 12 universities to begin the IChange process.

Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Publication

2022 APLU Annual Report