NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance


The Aspire Alliance works to increase the diversity of STEM faculty nationwide by engaging with a growing network of partners to support systemic change in the STEM higher education system. Aspire Regional Collaboratives has developed geographically proximate partnerships among postsecondary institutions to support inclusive pathways toward STEM faculty positions at community colleges for cohorts of diverse graduate students. The widening scope of the Regional Collaboratives requires a reconsideration of the backbone support necessary to coordinate convenings, activity planning, research, and dissemination efforts.

As a collective impact initiative, the ASPIRE Regional Collaboratives has established postsecondary partnerships across two-year and four-year institutions, as well as national disciplinary organizations, to align activities toward its goals. Leads from each collaborative meet regularly to develop activities that support common goals, discuss theory-to-practice resources for planning guidance, share implementation strategies and challenges, and define common metrics for outcome success.

Goals & OCCRL Efforts

OCCRL will work within a Regional Collaborative to increase the number and diversity of the pool of graduate students and qualified professionals who are pursuing a teaching career in STEM at community colleges. The office will help expand and strengthen the skills of future, early-career, and current STEM faculty to teach the diverse student population. OCCRL will also facilitate biweekly meetings among Regional Collaborative leaders and collaborate with UW-CERSE to adapt evaluation activities and embed them into OCCRL and Regional Collaboratives. Project activities will include:

  • Integrating all the organizational lessons learned in the current INCLUDES grant into a Regional Collaborative backbone;
  • assisting Regional Collaboratives in sustaining their local activities past the end of the grant to maintain long-term trajectories toward scaled reform;
  • working with the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) to pilot the institutional self-assessment tool for supporting the hiring and success of diverse faculty in STEM education, with additional attention to career and technical education;
  • and developing a sustainable income model to continue backbone work past the supplement year by extending existing Aspire Regional Collaborative activities.

Regional Change

Regional Collaboratives (RCs) are networks of geographically proximate 2- and 4-year institutions partnering to build inclusive pathways for diverse graduate students to explore and secure positions as STEM faculty. Our model has grown from three regional collaboratives to nine, expanding our reach and impact across the United States.  Partnering institutions work together to develop and implement programs and experiences toward two primary goals:

- Increasing the number and diversity of the pool of graduate students and qualified professionals pursuing a teaching career in STEM at community colleges;

Expanding and strengthening the skills of future, early-career and current STEM faculty to teach the diverse student population.

Leaders from all RCs meet regularly and are supported by a national backbone structure and national disciplinary organizations. Together they develop shared goals and metrics, share resources, collaborate on strategies for successful implementation of programming (e.g. mentored internship/practicum experiences, workshops and trainings, open house and informational meetings), coordinate evaluation activities, and engage in joint communication efforts.

National Science FoundationThis material is based upon work by the Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Aspire Alliance and related ADVANCE projects supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (1834518, 1834522, 1834510, 1834513, 1834526, 1834521, 2121930, 2121950, 2204380). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."

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Learn more about Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES program at NSF.

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