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Campus Joins Alliance to Support Faculty Diversity

By Julia Ann Easley on October 22, 2019 in University

UC Davis is bolstering ongoing efforts to diversify its faculty by joining an organization working to develop inclusive practices for recruitment, hiring and retention.

The campus is one of 20 universities announced today (Oct. 22) as new members of Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty, co-led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Philip H. Kass, vice provost for Academic Affairs, said participation in the alliance’s Institutional Change Network, or IChange, will allow the campus to benefit from other universities promoting diversity. “UC Davis is committed to having a diverse faculty that supports the success of students from all backgrounds,” he said. “The network will be a forum for sharing innovative programs we’ve developed and for learning best practices from other leading universities across the country.”

The UC Office of the President is one of the alliance’s partners, and UCLA is one of its lead partner institutions. UC Irvine and California State University, Northridge, were among the first 15 members to form the network in February and are its only other California universities.

Tonya Peoples, associate dean for equity and inclusion at the Penn State College of Engineering and co-leader of the network, said the goal of the work is to ensure the success of underrepresented groups in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

“Learning from and alongside our exceptional first cohort, this second cohort will grow our potential to identify and share the most promising innovative practices toward diversifying the STEM professoriate and ensure their teaching, advising and mentoring is inclusive,” she said.

The network provides comprehensive support and resources to help members foster change, including access to technical assistance. The campus will also be able to apply for grants exclusive to member institutions, Kass said.

Participating universities conduct a self-assessment of current practices and resources and then develop action plans to support faculty diversity across their STEM programs.

Kass said a committee with representation from across the campus will build on the analysis and planning already done through its participation in the STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change Initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In February, the scientific association recognized the campus for its work in advancing innovative approaches for fostering diversity, equity and inclusion.

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