Grand Valley State University has made a major announcement to increase diversity in the STEM department. The university has joined the Aspire Alliance, an organization that works to promote staff diversity and development in the STEM field.
GVSU is being added to a cohort of 19 other schools in the organization through a competitive application process, which, according to its website, seeks to “develop inclusive and diverse STEM faculty across the nation by aligning and reinforcing professional development, hiring, and retention practices of STEM faculty simultaneously at institutional, regional, and national levels.”
The push to get GVSU into Aspire Alliance was led by Christine Rener and John Golden, who are both professors in the STEM department. Rener is also the Vice Provost of Instructional Development and Innovation.
While the specific goals of GVSU in the program have yet to be finalized, Rener believes that Grand Valley is a perfect fit for the Alliance.
“The strategic goals of the alliance fit with the mission, vision and values of Grand Valley, especially with the Office of Inclusion and Equity,” said Rener.
According to their site, the vision of the Aspire Alliance is to “increase the learning, persistence, and completion of students from underrepresented groups (URG) in colleges and universities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to increase their contributions to the U.S. STEM enterprise.”
The vision statement goes on to state that students perform better when they are taught by these underrepresented groups. They have continued their mission virtually during COVID-19 by hosting virtual professional development workshops in the summer and fall.
With the Aspire Alliance only being three years old, GVSU will be looking to learn from the expertise of schools who have already been working within the organization. Rener noted that GVSU will be meeting virtually with these schools in the coming weeks and that more specific goals for the university will follow.