IChange Network


NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance's Institutional Change (IChange) Network collaborates with higher education institutions to broaden participation for STEM faculty from underrepresented groups (URGs) through improving recruitment, hiring and retention policy and practices. The IChange Network is designed to catalyze institutional change by providing a comprehensive, systematic approach to organizational transformation using a structured self-assessment process to inform the development and implementation of an action plan.

This process begins with the Aspire Institutional Self-Assessment for Inclusive Faculty Recruitment, Hiring, & Retention to identify strengths and opportunities.

Learn more about IChange process in the INCLUDES Institutional Change Guidebook.

Tenets of the Guidebook include:

      • Identification of areas for potential growth for URG faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention.

      • Developing an IChange Team and adaptable core assessment plan.

      • Creating a data-informed, people-oriented action plan.

      • Implementing a multi-year scaling plan.

A Community of Transformation

The Network exists to support the membership in the development and implementation of their institutional action plan. Constructed as a "Community of Transformation" (Gehrke & Kezar, 2016), the IChange Network relies on multiple layers of support to assist network members on the complex task of institutional change.

Local IChange Team is a group of professionals within a single college or university who are working to draft, implement, and assess their institutional action plan.

IChange Network is a collection of more than 200 faculty and staff from our 45 participating institutions. This large grouping meets tri-annually to facilitate large discussion, resources, and support for all institutions and individuals in drafting, implementing, and assessing their work.

IChange Circles

Following the development of a data-informed institutional action plan, participating institutions are invited to join one of six regionally supported IChange Network Circles. These "ICircles" are led by an individual at network institution who convenes their regional network members to highlight successful strategies, reflect on their progress, and create new strategies for the implementation of their action plans.

In addition to the IChange Network institutions, the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance is proud to welcome the Kindling Inter-University Networks for Diverse Engineering Faculty Advancement (KIND Cohort).

This group consists of eight engineering colleges, departments, and programs in the California State University system engaged in the IChange self-assessment and action planning process.

Interested in Learning More?

Additional Network Benefits and Opportunities

The most powerful aspect of joining the IChange Network extends far beyond access to services and experts—it is the benefit of working within a network of partner institutions associated with the broader NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance.

      • Access to National Partners: Dozens of professional organizations have committed to being a part of the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance to share tools, resources, and strategies for implementation of inclusive practices. These resources will be organized, developed and provided by the Aspire's National Change Initiative team.

      • IChange Meeting Travel Funding: IChange will provide some travel support to enable institutional representatives to attend annual IChange Network Meetings, where IChange Teams will have opportunities to work with content experts. These experts will help teams to sustain their institutional change. IChange Teams will also be able to build relationships and support with other teams in their cohort—a vital resource for advancing institutional change on one's campus.

      • Assessment tools, models, and frameworks: Several evaluation instruments and change models designed to support the advancement of more inclusive and diverse STEM environments are also available to institutions in the IChange Network. These tools may be used at the discretion of the institutions to supplement existing evaluation efforts:

  • CIRTL AGEP: Departmental Climate Survey

    Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity

  • COACHE: Faculty Job Satisfaction & Faculty Retention and Exit Surveys

  • ADVANCE Implementation Mentors (AIM) Network:
    & Hiring Toolkit

Participation in the IChange Network also provides increased opportunity to work with other
NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance Institutional Change Initiatives!

The IThrive Collective aims to establish a nurturing environment for BIPOC and other URG STEM faculty across the country. Members support each others’ growth, leadership, and scholarship. By sharing resources, information, and networks allows each scholar to thrive.

The IAspire Leadership Academy elevates the preparedness of academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles.

Fellows gain critical leadership skills across numerous competencies. They also learn how to lead more effectively in complex environments and build confidence to influence institutional transformation.

IChange Project Manager

Director, Academic and Student Affairs
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Jessica Bennett Headshot

IChange Co-Lead

Assistant Vice President for STEM Education
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities


Sean Gehrke & Adrianna Kezar. (2016). STEM Reform Outcomes Through Communities of Transformation, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 48:1, 30-38, DOI: