Cultivating diversity in the STEM disciplines

In late October, the University of Denver announced that it has joined 18 other institutions in a three-year change effort to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices in the STEM disciplines. 

Co-led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the campaign is known as Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty. Under its umbrella, the new cohort combines forces with two earlier cohorts working to advance inclusivity in the STEM fields, bringing the total number of participating institutions to 54. 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds this effort as part of its INCLUDES initiative. A 2019 NSF analysis revealed that underrepresented minority faculty occupied a mere 9% of professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions. Other research shows that when underrepresented students are taught by diverse faculty members, as much as 20% to 50% of the course achievement gaps between minority and majority students are eliminated.

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