The goal of Aspire's Backbone Team is to facilitate intra- and inter-Alliance collaboration to achieve the Aspire Alliance’s primary aim of developing an inclusive and diverse STEM faculty across postsecondary institutions. The Backbone Team seeks to support the work of the entire alliance with an emphasis on structures, processes, and interactions grounded in an equity-centered, collective impact approach. The Backbone Team facilitates discussions and reflections among Aspire Teams to support their work and align shared goals, common metrics, and identify and elevate mutually reinforcing activities. The Backbone Team also provides processes to leverage information and knowledge across and beyond the alliance and to facilitate internal and external collaboration across Aspire and its national partners.

Aspire’s Backbone Team was expanded in early 2020 to include Taskforces and Committees that ensure team representation and decision-making in cross-Alliance activities. Taskforce work-plans are usually time-bound in duration and focus on key tasks. Committees are usually ongoing in duration and focus on core backbone functions that require a comprehensive approach.

Active Committees & Taskforces

Aspire Nexus Committee

Purpose: The Aspire Nexus is a representative body within Aspire’s Strategic Teams designed to provide three core functions: (1) engage in system-wide decision-making on topics for which it is responsible; (2) facilitate communication across the alliance, with NSF, and with external communities; and, (3) engage in strategic planning.

Facilitators: Howard Gobstein (Backbone) & Robin Parent (Backbone)

Members: Tonya Peeples (IChange); Leslie Gonzales (Research); Judy Milton (Evaluation); Travis York (Backbone); Craig Ogilvie (Regional Change); Don Gillian-Daniel (National Change)

Collective Impact Committee

Purpose: This committee supports the Alliance in broadening and deepening the understanding and practice of Collective Impact and building capacity for both Aspire Coordinators and Teams to use an equity-based Collective Impact (EF-CI) approach to their work.

Facilitator: Bennett Goldberg (Backbone)

Members: Travis York (Backbone), Robin Parent (Backbone)

Engaged Communications Committee

Purpose: This committee will develop the strategic communication plan for Aspire, work with AST and Nexus to prioritize communication tasks, and execute creation of content through identified tasks.

Facilitator: Justine Joo (Backbone)

Members: Robin Parent, Kacy Redd (Backbone)

Shared Measures Taskforce

Purpose: This Taskforce engages Aspire’s Change Teams in developing their key performance indicators (KPIs), requests feedback from the Nexus on these KPIs, and works with the teams, Backbone, and Evaluation to determine how data will be collected that inform the KPIs. The TF will also connect with the Hub’s Shared Measures group.

Facilitators: Kacy Redd (Backbone) & Lucas Hill (Evaluation & Research)

Members: Judy Milton (Evaluation)

Annual Report 2020 Taskforce

Purpose: This Taskforce engages Aspire’s PIs in the planning and drafting process for the NSF annual report due late August.

Facilitators: Robin Parent

Members: Howard Gobstein (APLU); Craig Ogilvie (ISU); Jess Gregg (UCLA); Rochelle Sapp (UGA); Ben Flores (UTEP); Don Gillian-Daniel (UW-Madison)

Completed Committees & Taskforces

Reverse Site Visit Taskforce

Purpose: Present Aspire to NSF for Y2 RSV. Coordinate information, create slides, be present for a full day meeting at NSF offices, debrief and follow-up. This TF requires cross Alliance engagement

Facilitators: Robin Parent (Backbone) & Travis York (Backbone)

Members: Howard Gobstein (Alliance-wide), Kacy Redd (Backbone), Jessica Bennett (IChange), Leslie Gonzales (Research), Tonya Peeples (IChange), Judy Milton (Evaluation), Craig Ogilvie (Regional Change), Donald Gillian-Daniel (National Change)

Summit Planning Taskforce

Purpose: Help coordinate and plan the Aspire 2020 Summit. This TF requires cross Alliance engagement

Facilitators: Travis York (Backbone) & Robin Parent (Backbone)

Members: Justine Joo, Kacy Redd (Backbone), Jessica Bennett (IChange), Donald Gillian-Daniel (National Change), Robin Greenler (National Change), Judy Milton (Evaluation), Katie Dixie (Regional Change), Jessica Gregg (Regional Change), Lisa Berry (Regional Change), Kimberly Griffin (Research)

External Evaluation Search Taskforce

Purpose: Explore Alliance needs in an external evaluator, draft position description, and recruit, hire, and on-board the external evaluator.

Facilitator: Robin Parent (Backone)

Members: Bennett Goldberg, Rochelle Sapp (IChange), Judy Milton (Evaluation), Lucas Hill (Evaluation and Research), Donald Gillian-Daniel (National Change), Julia Savoy (Evaluation and Research)