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NDSU joins national alliance for inclusive and diverse STEM faculty

Photo of Canan Bilen-Green

Canan Bilen-Green

NDSU is one of 20 universities joining a three-year institutional change effort to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities co-leads the effort, known as Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty. The new cohort joins an inaugural set of 15 institutions that began working together to advance such work earlier this year. The National Science Foundation funds the effort as part of its INCLUDES initiative.

The effort is aimed at ensuring all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM) faculty use inclusive teaching practices and that institutions increase the diversity of their STEM professoriate. Participating universities begin their work with a self-assessment of current practices and assets, and will then develop and implement campus action plans to drive change across all STEM programs.

“We look forward to working with APLU and other universities,” said Canan Bilen-Green, vice provost for faculty and equity. “Participation in the Network will not only bring NDSU fresh access, diversity, equity and inclusion centered approaches for teaching, research, mentoring and advising, it will also help strengthen our current faculty professional development programs and support the transition, retention, and advancement of our faculty – and ultimately the success of our students.”

The Aspire Alliance is engaging the new cohort of 20 universities through its Institutional Change (IChange) Network. The network provides universities with comprehensive support and resources for institutional change, including access to national partners in a concierge-style approach to technical assistance.

“Recruiting, hiring and retaining more inclusive and diverse STEM faculty on our campuses is essential for the increased success of all STEM students, the increased quality and production of our scientists, and public universities’ ability to achieve their mission to improve lives,” said Travis York, APLU’s assistant vice president for academic and student affairs and co-leader of the IChange Network. “Increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within a project aimed at catalyzing large-scale innovation and change is extremely difficult – which is why we’re thrilled to announce a new cohort of institutions committed to working collaboratively to do exactly that on their campuses.”

A 2019 NSF analysis revealed that underrepresented minority faculty occupied only 9 percent of professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions. Other research shows when underrepresented students are taught by diverse faculty members they achieve at significantly higher rates; as much as 20 to 50 percent of the course achievement gaps between minority and majority students are eliminated.

“We are excited to have these 20 impressive universities expand the IChange Network and bring their deep commitment to transforming STEM education,” said Tonya Peeples, associate dean for equity and inclusion for the Penn State College of Engineering and co-leader of the Alliance’s IChange Network. “Learning from and alongside our exceptional first cohort, this second cohort will grow our potential to identify and share the most promising innovative practices towards diversifying the STEM professoriate and ensure their teaching, advising, and mentoring is inclusive. All of this will help ensure the success of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.”

In addition to NDSU, other universities in the new cohort are Auburn University; Ball State University; Central Michigan University; Florida International University; Iowa State University; South Dakota State University; University of Tennessee-Knoxville; University of Texas at Austin; University of Arkansas; University of California, Davis; University of Cincinnati; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of Missouri; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; University of North Texas; University of South Florida; and Western Michigan University.

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North Dakota State University
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