The University of North Texas is working with 20 universities nationwide to develop faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices specifically for underrepresented populations in STEM fields.
Aspire: National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty is a three-year program aimed at ensuring all STEM faculty use inclusive teaching practices and that institutions increase the diversity of their STEM instructors. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are coordinating the program and it is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Participating universities conduct a self-assessment of current practices and assets. UNT will develop and implement campus action plans to drive change and scale efforts across all STEM programs. Aspire provides UNT the opportunity to participate in workshops and seminars by providing funds for travel to the annual national meeting and the opportunity to apply for funds to further advance collaboration with other universities. UNT will be given tools and technical assistance to support an annual assessment and to create and implement a data-informed action plan.
“We are a diverse campus, attracting students from many backgrounds who want to study STEM disciplines at UNT,” said UNT Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jennifer Evans-Cowley. “Being part of the Aspire cohort will provide enhanced support for all of our STEM faculty in ensuring we are using the most inclusive teaching practices.”
A 2019 NSF study revealed that underrepresented minority faculty occupied nine 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.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities is a research, policy and advocacy organizations dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.