Aspire's Institutional Change initiative (IChange) seeks to cultivate post-secondary institutions where STEM faculty from underrepresented groups (URGs) are widely recruited, hired and retained, and all STEM faculty employ inclusive teaching, advising, and research mentoring.
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.
Participating institutions will begin their work with a self-assessment of their current practices and resources. Institutions then develop and implement an action plan for initial change and map ways to scale such efforts across all their STEM programs.
The IChange Network will initially engage three annual cohorts of institutions. Every participating institution will begin the systematic 3-year IChange process with the Aspire Institutional Self-Assessment for Inclusive Faculty Recruitment, Hiring, & Retention to identify strengths and opportunities. Learn more about the process in the APLU INCLUDES Guidebook. The IChange Network is envisioned as a co-constructed community, with IChange Institutions and the Aspire's IChange Coordinators working together to identify and meet the needs of Network members as they are identified. IChange Coordinators provide tools and technical assistance to support:
- identification of areas for potential growth;
- the development of an IChange Team and adaptable core assessment plan;
- the creation of a data-informed, people-oriented action plan; and
- a multi-year implementation and scaling plan.
In addition to the self-assessment process, the IChange Network will provide opportunities for member-institutions to leverage a number of resources and services for action planning and implementation which include:
- 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.
- Additional assessment tools and models: 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
- TECAID: Transforming Engineering Culture to Advance Inclusion and Diversity
- COACHE: Faculty Job Satisfaction & Faculty Retention and Exit Surveys
- ADVANCE Implementation Mentors (AIM) Network: Recruitment and Hiring Toolkit
- IChange Competitive Funding: IChange will provide competitive “catalytic funding” opportunities for IChange Cohort members to create new resources, onboard new partners, or develop Research Action Collaboratives (RACs).
- Aspire Alliance URG Faculty Network: Each institutions' URG STEM Faculty will have access to an Aspire URG Faculty community to provide individual support and to leverage and amplify historically marginalized voices across institutions and inform institutional change solutions.
- IAspire Leadership Academy: Each institution will have priority access to nominate fellows for IChange's IAspire Leadership Academy, which aims to develop executive leadership competencies for advanced underrepresented group STEM faculty.
- 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.
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 Aspire NSF-funded INCLUDES alliance.