Projects & Initiatives


APLU INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) Project is a NSF-funded Design, Development, Launch Pilot project aimed at expanding the diversity of STEM faculty. This pilot has evolved into the NSF INCLUDES Alliance – Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty.

Through a collaborative approach this pilot project seeks to provide APLU’s membership with promising practices to broaden student participation in STEM programs, foster career pathways toward the professoriate, and tools to effectively recruit, hire, and retain STEM faculty from underrepresented groups.

APLU Includes report cover

Strengthening the Pathways to Faculty Careers in STEM: Recommendations for Systemic Change to Support Underrepresented Groups: This report synthesizes the work of the APLU INCLUDES STEM Pathways Taskforce and the Technical Advisory Committee to document how the pathways to faculty careers in STEM can be better strengthened and understood to enhance the diversity of the STEM professoriate. Making change is difficult because a) we have not reckoned with the complexity of the pathways to the STEM professoriate, including how we recruit, hire, and retain diverse STEM faculty; b) we have not created enough programs and interventions that address the roots of bias; and, c) our efforts towards change are not systemic. The complexities of these pathways have also been captured in an interactive map.

A Guidebook for Campus Self-Assessment of Successes & Challenges in STEM Faculty Diversity and Inclusion: The primary purpose of this guidebook is to serve as a resource for campuses and colleagues who choose to engage in the Institutional Campus Self-Assessment process. The Guidebook provides: (1) A summary of the scholarship and practice-based insights leveraged to develop the model for increasing faculty diversity & institutional self-assessment; (2) Instructions on how to complete the institutional self-assessment; and, (3) practical guidance for campuses as they develop action plans for advancing faculty diversity.

Working with institutional leaders and content experts from over 80 institutions and national partners, the project has already made great strides with its three project objectives which have resulted in the following resources and tools for institutional leaders:

Innovative Programs to Broaden Participation in STEM: In the fall of 2017 APLU launched the STEM-OP (A Survey to Expand and Maximize Opportunity in the Professoriate) to identify a series of institutional activities aimed at increasing participation along the STEM pathways toward the professoriate. Responses were curated to create innovative program profiles and shared publicly within the Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC).

APLU INCLUDES 2017 Summit Report: APLU’s first INCLUDES Summit, hosted in Alexandria, VA, on April 25-26, 2017, brought together institutional leaders, along with content and context experts, for an interactive summit on broadening the participation of women and underrepresented minorities within STEM faculty and students.

Developing a Diverse STEM Professoriate through Collective Impact: APLU INCLUDES 2018 Summit Report: The second INCLUDES Summit, held exactly one year later, sought to expand institutional conversations from the previous summit toward examining mutually reinforcing activities that a network of institutions could implement collaboratively and the infrastructure needed to carry out such collaborations through an alliance.

Institutional Model for Increasing Faculty Diversity—Draft: This Model offers a framework to promote a broader understanding of what is required for effectively hiring, retaining and promoting the success of underrepresented STEM faculty. This model has been transformed into an institutional self-assessment tool to guide campus teams in their assessment of institutional strengths and areas for improvement which is currently being piloted by 15 institutions in Aspire’s IChange Network.

Broadening participation within STEM faculty 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. Research has also indicated that diverse teams in STEM are more innovative, more productive, and better able to solve complex problems than heterogeneous groups.

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. A 2015 analysis revealed that underrepresented minority faculty occupied a mere 8 percent of associate and full professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions.

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.

APLU INCLUDES is one of NSF’s inaugural INCLUDES Design Development 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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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under No. 1649199. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.