Pitt joins program to increase diversity, inclusivity in STEM faculty


Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

Pitt is a large, research-intensive institution with a sizable STEM focus, including 76 STEM departments, seven schools with a STEM focus and nearly 4,500 STEM faculty.

By Millicent Watt, For The Pitt News

Pitt joined a program last Thursday to develop a more diverse and inclusive STEM faculty.  

Pitt — along with 18 other universities across the country — was selected to join the three-year Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty program. The program will work to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring and retention practices. It also helps Pitt create a “self-assessment” of current practices and implement action plans to support change across STEM programs.

This program is facilitated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and a center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This new group of 19 universities will join two earlier cohorts, bringing the number of participating universities to 54. 

The program’s “ultimate goal” is to attract more underrepresented students such as women, members of minority racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds into successful STEM careers.

John Wallace, vice provost for faculty diversity and development, said the program’s goals will help increase diversity in Pitt’s seven STEM-focused schools, 76 STEM departments and approximately 4,500 STEM faculty.

“The goals of the Aspire Alliance align strongly with the goals, aspirations and commitments of the University of Pittsburgh as highlighted in our Strategic Plan,” Wallace said. “Pitt’s participation in the Aspire Alliance will enhance our efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion across STEM disciplines.”

This work will support Pitt’s efforts to increase diversity in Pitt’s Discipline-Based Science Education Research Center, University Center for Teaching and Learning and Broadening Equity in STEM, according to a Thursday press release.

Provost Ann Cudd said she hopes the new program will help make all of Pitt more diverse. 

“It is an honor to be recognized by the APLU and we look forward to the collaborations and new learning that will emerge as we participate in the alliance,” Cudd said. “Through our participation in this STEM-focused program we hope to deepen and develop strategies to support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for our faculty and students in all fields.”