Our charge, as the social science research team, is to 1) offer research expertise on STEM academic cultures, faculty preparation, and organizational change in higher education to the Aspire Alliance team and 2) to conduct original research relevant to Aspire’s aims and to NSF’s portfolio of diversity and organizational work.

Kimberly Griffin Headshot

Associate Professor

Leslie Gonzales Headshot

Associate Professor

Lucas Hill Headshot

Dr. Lucas Hill

Associate Researcher

Dr. Diane Codding

Postdoctoral Fellow

Stephanie M. Breen, M.A.

Doctoral Student

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

Dr. Leslie D. Gonzales, Dr. Kimberly A. Griffin & Stephanie M. Breen

Aspire is an external intervention that builds on years of diversity and organizational change work and uses a “network/collective impact” approach to enhance the diversity and inclusivity of STEM. Over the next few years, we will be studying how a select group of research universities involved in Aspire’s IChange work leverage their connection to Aspire to advance diversity, inclusivity, and equity in STEM spaces. Through this study, we hope to support campus leaders and “change makers” identify and use effective methods and mechanisms for fostering equity amongst STEM departments and faculties.

STUDY 2: Collaborative Dynamics and the Alignment of Change Activities in the NSF Aspire Alliance

Dr. Lucas Hill & Julia Savoy

Despite the proliferation of large, well-funded collaborative reform initiatives designed to improve the quality and production of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, little empirical research exists that tests the implicit assumptions about collective change in higher education. This study seeks to advance knowledge about the collaborative functioning and efficacy of large-scale, higher education collaborative reform initiatives centered on STEM education. We will examine the NSF Aspire Alliance as an overall research site (breadth) and the Regional Change Initiative (depth) as a specific case study within the Alliance.

The purpose of this multi-method, multi-level study is to (1) explore how the NSF Aspire Alliance and the Regional Change Initiative function as collaborative change organizations and align reform activities towards collective impact goals and (2) how Aspire and Regional Change members, leaders, and partners help facilitate collaborative dynamics by being the key connection between their organizations, institutions, and initiatives and the Alliance.

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.