NSF's Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES 
Aspire Alliance Summit 

Theme: Systemic Change for an Inclusive and Diverse Faculty

The NSF's Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Aspire Alliance will host a summit on July 19 - 20, 2023, on Systemic Change for an Inclusive and Diverse Faculty. The Summit, held at UCLA’s Luskin Center, will explore key issues in advancing faculty diversity and inclusion through the sharing of emergent research and promising practices, community dialogue, and intentional network building.  We welcome any scholar, practitioner, or institutional decision-maker to join us.


Keynote Speaker

Kecia Thomas

Ph.D. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of

Psychology at The University of Alabama at Birmingham 

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Kecia M. Thomas is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology at UAB.  Previously, Dr. Thomas was the Sr. Associate Dean in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and African-American Studies at UGA.  Kecia is an expert in the psychology of workplace diversity whose scholarship and institutional engagements focus on strategic diversity recruitment, diversity in STEM workplaces and understanding the career experiences of high potential women of color.  She is the author of over 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters as well as the first I/O diversity textbook Diversity Dynamics in the Workplace and the editor of six academic volumes.  She is an elected-Fellow of the APA, the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race and the Society of I/O Psychology.  Kecia earned her BA in Psychology and Spanish from Bucknell and her MS and Ph.D. in I/O Psychology from Penn State.

Román Liera

Ph.D.  Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University 

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Román Liera is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University. He designed his research program to study racial equity and organizational change in higher education. Specifically, he draws on qualitative research methods to understand how organization processes, norms, and practices perpetuate racial inequity. He anchored his scholarship on a theoretical understanding of university and college campuses as racialized organizations with cultures and structures constraining administrators and faculty efforts to advance racial equity. His current research projects focus on understanding how racism operates in doctoral student socialization, the academic job market, faculty hiring, reappointment, tenure and promotion, and presidential hiring. His research appears in the Journal of Higher Education, AERA Open, American Educational Research Journal, Teachers College Record, Review of Higher Education among others. 

Cynthia Villarreal

Ph.D.  Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona


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Cynthia D. Villarreal is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Urban Education Policy, was a visiting assistant professor at UC Riverside, and served as a postdoctoral researcher at the Pullias Center for Higher Education.

She is an interdisciplinary scholar who challenges issues of equity in higher education by examining and interrogating organizational processes, policies, structures, and culture through a race-conscious and feminist lens. She considers herself a qualitative researcher and storyteller in/on the borderlands who prioritizes counternarratives to critique and transform higher education. Her research explores how a Latinx/a/o serving consciousness is structurally embedded and culturally embodied at Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). At Pullias, she worked with Adrianna Kezar on Refining Resources in Leadership Teams for Institutional Transformation funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as with Julie Posselt on an NSF-funded study examining trust networks in graduate program admissions.

Damani White-Lewis

Ph.D.  Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania

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Damani White-Lewis is an assistant professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies racial inequality in academic careers and contexts using theories and methods from organizational behavior and social psychology. His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and has appeared in The Journal of Higher Education, American Educational Research Journal, The Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and Teachers College Record, among others. As a public scholar, he has won multiple awards from educational associations, been featured in outlets such as Inside Higher Ed and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and regularly advises college campuses and external organizations on addressing issues related to the academic profession, racial equity, and institutional transformation and systemic change.

We invite institutional leaders, practitioners, and scholars to submit proposals for presentations, workshops, and/or expert panels on institutional interventions and/or original research. We are especially interested in evidence-based practices from the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance community, and the broader INCLUDES, AGEP, and ADVANCE communities. This is an opportunity for us to think together about how we might advance a more inclusive and diverse higher education faculty at 2 and 4-year institutions. 

Call for Proposals are now open and due by 11:59 PM on March 29. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee, and preference will be given to those proposals that incorporate the theme of the conference and/or one of these areas of high interest to the community:

Theme: Systemic Change for an Inclusive and Diverse Faculty

Areas of Interest for the Call for Proposals:

Proposal Types

Concurrent Session Presentation Guidelines (45 minutes)

A limited number of presentations will be selected for inclusion in the program. These sessions will accommodate audiovisual presentations.

Roundtable Proposal Guidelines (30 minutes)

Roundtables are an opportunity for an informal discussion with colleagues about a promising practice or model at your institution. Roundtables do not include audiovisual support.

Rapid Talks (5 minutes)

We have a plenary session where we will highlight selected promising/ effective practices in systemic change to diversify the professoriate. If you have a program or practice that is leading to success for your organization or institution, this is your chance to share that practice with the community.


All attendees are invited to bring a poster on a topic relevant to the theme or areas of interest listed above.

Hotel and Registration Information Coming Soon. 

The Summit begins at 8:00 am PT on July 19 and ends at 12:00 pm PT on July 20.

Before May 29, 2023: Registration is $200.

After May 29, 2023: Registration is $350.

Registration will open in early April.