The NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance's Vision

To achieve an inclusive and diverse national science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) faculty who thrive within inclusive organizational cultures, leading to high retention from underrepresented groups (URG) in STEM career pathways.

Goals of Aspire

Aspire's Theory of Change

The Aspire Theory of Change articulates the NSF INCLUDES Alliance vision to build a national network with a systemic approach. The theory of change graphic shows that the Aspire Alliance will accomplish its goals and vision by working at both individual (attitudes, beliefs, individual practices) and organizational (policies and cultures) levels and collaborating in a shared leadership model across all teams to advance broadening participation awareness, learning, skills/capacity, practices/policy, and inclusive cultures. Additionally, this work is organized in change teams that work at the institutional, regional, and national levels to address Aspire's goals and vision systemically.


The outer ring shows that the change teams, backbone, research, and evaluation work together using the elements of collaborative infrastructure (Shared Vision, Partnerships, Goals & Metrics, Leadership, Expansion, Sustainability & Scale). With this collaborative infrastructure, the Aspire Alliance is able to accomplish the scale and impact it desires and will result in an integrated alliance.

Organizational Change

The inner ring shows that the strategies Aspire implements at the organizational-level will result in improved organizational conditions that help facilitate individual action. Organizational-level work is focused on two and four-year institutions, professional societies, and national partner organizations. Aspire is working with 53 institutions across three cohorts in the Institutional Change Network to advance policies and practices that result in more inclusive and diverse institutional cultures. As a result of this work, Regional Change will also pilot an institutional change model with community colleges in 2022.

Individual Change

Similarly, Aspire’s implementation of individual-level focused change strategies will help shift individual mental models and practices which in turn help improve organizational conditions. Individual-level work is focused on faculty, administrators, graduate students and undergraduate students, staff, and professional society leaders. For example, Aspire works with disciplinary societies to provide faculty professional development on the Inclusive Professional Framework, and provides mentored experiences for graduate students in community colleges.

The individual level and organizational level strategies interact to support one another, and both are necessary in order to create systems change.

Broadening Participation Strategy of Aspire

The overarching strategy is to effect change by aligning and reinforcing both professional development and hiring practices of STEM faculty. As seen in the Theory of Change graphic, each of the three change teams has work that impacts organizations and also individuals. Some of the change teams are more focused on individual change and others are more focused on organizational change. Together, these strategies are designed to improve broadening participation awareness, broadening participation learning, broadening participation skills/capacity, broadening participation practices/policy, and inclusive cultures. It is through these mechanisms of awareness, learning, skills, practices/policies, and culture change that Aspire will achieve its three goals.

NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance's Theory of Change