Collaborative Research: AGEP ACA to Engage Leaders to Improve Diversity among STEM Faculty

Project: Research project

Project Details


Collaborative Research: AGEP ACA to Engage Leaders to Improve Diversity among STEM Faculty Collaborative Research: AGEP ACA to Engage Leadersto Improve Diversity among STEM Faculty Overview: This AGEP Catalyst Alliance (ACA) project will bring together leaders and expertise from 3 institutions of higher education (IHEs) from Western states that share a Carnegie classification of R1and a commitment to advancing the success of PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty who are members of AGEP populations in STEM: the University of New Mexico (UNM), Arizona State University (ASU), and the University of Oregon (the UO). The alliance will focus on 4 primary activities during this grant period. The activities will include: (1) Diagnose challenges to broadening AGEP PhD student and faculty participation through a Quality of Life study at each partner IHE; (2) Pilot a managerial engagement approach to institutional transformation by appointing institutional leaders to leader engagement committees to deliberate the results of the Quality of Life studies and existing data on AGEP group representation in STEM and then, subsequently, author change strategies, building a sense of buy-in and ownership from the leaders; (3) Develop a five-year equity plan at all 3 alliance partners which addresses challenges identified in the studies and implements change strategies suggested by each leadership committee; and (4) Develop and refine an effective working alliance and accountability structure between the three partner IHEs through weekly meetings to support the collective success of the alliance. The three alliance partners have considerable experience with institutional transformation, the lessons from which inform our approach to this AGEP Catalyst Alliance project. The components of the proposed AGEP Catalyst Alliance builds on two theoretical foundations: 1) managerial engagement and 2) small wins approach to organizational change. Through the managerial engagement approach, university leaders will be involved in task forces and activities that engage them in searching for solutions and that foster their commitment to change. Our engagement strategy is to identify leaders as allies and true collaborators rather than obstacles to our project goals. The project will also adopt a small wins approach to organization change by aiming for short term, tangible goals. The team has identified 10 small wins to produce iterative gains throughout the project to generate momentum, win allies, and minimize backlash. The outcomes from this project will generate the foundational work and knowledge necessary to submit an Institutional Transformation Alliance (ITA) grant to implement change strategies that support the goal of increasing AGEP populations in STEM faculty roles. The breadth of the institutions network (demonstrated by the extensive list of collaborators) indicates the support and desire for this project at each IHE. Additionally, through this ACA grant, the partnership between UNM, ASU, and UO will be solidified in anticipation of developing a proposal for the larger- impact ITA grant. Intellectual Merit: The intellectual merit of the project consists of the teams intersectional analysis of variation in the experiences of, and challenges faced by, AGEP individuals, within and between AGEP groups, and our adaptation of the Dobbin-Kalev managerial engagement model to the goal of improving AGEP faculty representation in STEM. The proposed research will contribute to scientific knowledge on the underrepresentation, and strategies to improve the presence, of AGEP populations in STEM. The results of our work will provide comprehensive data on the specific challenges facing AGEP populations in the STEM professoriate and in doctoral programs and allow us to test a managerial engagement approach to institutional transformation to tackle these specific challenges. Broader Impacts: Broader impacts of this project will include the mobilization and buy-in of STEM leaders at each partner IHE to a 5-year equity plan, the consolidation of a working alliance between STEM leaders at the three partner IHEs, the development of connections between this AGEP Catalyst Alliance team and national DEI in STEM communities, and the showcasing of transformational leadership skills of the four core leadership team members who identify as members of AGEP groups. In the longer term, the team anticipates changing hiring and evaluation procedures, as well as institutional climates at IHEs, to improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of URM PhD students and faculty.
Effective start/end date3/15/222/29/24


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $103,357.00


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