How can colleges and universities create inclusive STEM spaces? What kinds of inclusive practices will allow institutions to increase diversity in their science faculty? And what does it take for these changes to take hold, so that historically underrepresented faculty and students can not only access but THRIVE in STEM departments and programs?

Over the next five years, our research team will examine these and other questions across 8-10 Aspire campuses. Ultimately, our goal is to illuminate whether Alliance activities translate to increased diversity and inclusion in STEM, how organizational change to promote inclusion occurs, and how actors inside and outside of institutions influence the change process.

Kimberly Griffin Headshot

Associate Professor

Leslie Gonzales Headshot

Associate Professor

Lucas Hill Headshot

Dr. Lucas Hill

Associate Researcher

Kayon Hall Headshot

Kayon A. Hall, MBA.

Doctoral Student

Julia Savoy Headshot

Julia Savoy, M.S.

Assistant Researcher

Stephanie Breen, M.S.

Doctoral Student

Study 1: Levers for Change—How Higher Education Stakeholders Diversify STEM Faculties

Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales, Dr. Kimberly A. Griffin, & Kayon A. Hall

Creating and sustaining diversity and inclusive spaces on college and university campuses (e.g., diversity work) has proven to be challenging for most institutions of higher education and there are particular challenges when it comes to STEM spaces. We want to understand if there are certain factors, like leadership, messaging, policies, or programming that propel or impede a university’s efforts to foster diversity and inclusivity on campus, particularly amongst the STEM departments and faculty.

We plan to explore how faculty, administrators, and other pertinent stakeholders support and challenge the creation and implementation of policies, programs, and practices to increase faculty diversity and inclusivity. We will conduct in depth case studies at four institutions participating in the iChange network to explore whether organizational change has taken place, as well as how campus actors support and challenge efforts to develop and implement inclusive policies and practices.

STUDY 2: Alignment and Reinforcement: How Multiple Change Efforts Create Change in Regional Collaboratives

Dr. Lucas Hill & Julia Savoy

Community colleges provide a significant pathway for diverse students to enter STEM disciplines and face increasing pressure to develop a faculty as diverse and inclusive as the students they serve. To address this challenge, Aspire has advanced unique regional higher education collaboratives (RCs) comprised of research and comprehensive colleges and universities, along with community and industrial partners, to collectively address the preparation and training of STEM community college faculty. We want to understand how these regional collaboratives, in concert with other change initiatives in Aspire, advance individual and institutional impact. Using two RCs as case studies, we will examine how Aspire change efforts align, reinforce, and create change within the RCs; the roles of those who span the boundaries between Aspire leadership, change effort leadership, and RC membership; and the influence of national and disciplinary partners in supporting change efforts.

Have Questions?

The Research Team is excited to be a part of the ASPIRE alliance and broader efforts to ensure that STEM is an inclusive space, please reach out to us at if you have questions about diversity and diversifying STEM, faculty careers, evaluation, and workload, organizational culture and change.