Aspire Institutional Change Initiative (IChange) Network
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What is the Aspire Institutional Change Initiative (IChange) Network?
IChange is a collaboration of post-secondary institutions working to broaden participation for STEM faculty through institutional culture change. The IChange Network is designed to catalyze change by providing a comprehensive, systematic approach to organizational transformation using a structured self-assessment process to inform the development and implementation of an action plan. Institutions chosen to be a part of the IChange Network become part of a cohort that works through the IChange Logic Model over three years. DU joined cohort 3 of the IChange Network in 2019.
IChange Network institutions agree to pursue three mutually reinforcing strategic goals:
Deepen the preparation of all STEM faculty to be inclusive and effective in their teaching, research mentoring, and advising.
Diversify the faculty through effective recruitment, hiring, and retention of URG STEM faculty via institutional transformation in practices, policies, and resources.
Foster institutional cultures that recognize and value inclusivity and diversity broadly, and in the context of STEM faculty work specifically.
What happened at DU from Fall 2019-Spring 2022?
DU joined IChange in 2019, and began work in year one with a self-assessment, including focus groups, of current practices and resources. In year two, the leadership team identified core issues in recruitment, retention, teaching, mentorship that show up in our policies and practices and engaged RSECS and NSM in work around the equity-minded planning principles central to the IChange approach, through two large-scale planning events. More about the model here on the Aspire Alliance website.
Current IChange Leaders:
Associate Professor of Natural Sciences and Math
Professor of Social Sciences
Previous IChange Leaders:
Assistant Vice Chancellor, DEI Partnerships and Operations
Professor, Womble Chair Physics and Astronomy
Professor of Computer Science, RSECS JEDI Director
Associate Professor of Law & Affiliated Faculty, Department of History Director, Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of Inequality
Director of Faculty Development and Career Advancement
former VPFA and Associate Professor of Communications Studies
What are we working on now?
In year three, IChange institutions engage in faculty-led collaboration and action planning. To support this phase of this project at DU, a transition to faculty leadership and guidance occurred in Fall 2023. This transition will also help facilitate the continued partnership between IChange and DU’s MERISTEM ADVANCE grant (see this graphic for a comparison of the two projects). In Fall 2023, Associate Professor Robin Tinghitella and Professor Sarah Watamura took on the leadership of the next phase of faculty action planning. This website shares their work to engage faculty in envisioning the action plan, and make sure the action plan accords with the experience of faculty on the ground. We welcome your feedback on all aspects of this work.
IChange Action Plan
In early 2023 the action plan co-creation team – a group of faculty representing seven of DU’s colleges – began meeting to draft DU’s IChange Action Plan. The work of this team draws on feedback from the IChange advisory board and the data collected in years 1 and 2 of this project.
Briefly, to engage as much of campus as possible in this work, in Fall 2022 the team reached out to all appointed DU faculty asking them to self-identify as STEM faculty and later to opt-in to one of several IChange action planning teams. Nearly 20% of appointed faculty from across ten of DU’s diverse colleges responded to the call, and 65 individuals volunteered to be involved as advisory board members, action plan co-creators, unit liaisons, and implementation teams. You can find a more detailed summary of the team’s work here.
We are now soliciting feedback from all DU faculty on the draft IChange Action Plan. The following graphic outlines the 8 possible actions identified thus far. For each action we provide the area of work (e.g., recruitment, onboarding, community & belonging), the specific major goal and rationale, recommendations for accountability and means of support, and leading and lagging progress indicators, following the SMART! Action Plan. Please review the current action plan below, and provide feedback and your ideas to the IChange team using the following Qualtrics poll by June 15th, 2023.