AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has joined 19 other universities in a three-year effort to develop and strengthen inclusive recruitment, hiring and retention practices for STEM faculty members. The initiative is part of the Aspire Alliance, co-led by The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the National Science Foundation.
Participating universities will begin with a self-assessment of their current practices, programs and resources. The university will develop and implement campus action plans to drive change and scale efforts across programs in science, technology, engineering and math. Although this initiative is focused on STEM faculty, UT Austin will share lessons and best practices with the broader campus to build upon the various efforts underway to address equity issues.
“Many of the challenges we face in supporting our faculty are very similar to those at our peer institutions. This partnership provides a focused opportunity to learn from each other, share best practices with the campus, and ensure we’re deliberate in how we foster equity, inclusivity and diversity in our STEM teaching and learning communities. This is an important effort to build upon the great work the campus is already undertaking,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost.
“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 of academic and student affairs, who is also 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 members occupied 9% of professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions. Other research shows that when underrepresented students are taught by diverse faculty members, they achieve at significantly higher rates.
The other public research universities in the new cohort are Auburn University; Ball State University; Central Michigan University; Florida International University; Iowa State University; North Dakota State University; South Dakota State University; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; 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.