SEA Change, an initiative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that supports educational institutions as they systemically transform to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, welcomed three new charter members.
Clemson University, California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Iowa are among the 26 institutions around the country who have publicly committed to SEA Change guiding principles of equity and full participation of each individual across gender, race, ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, familial history of higher education or any other aspect of identity that has been a source of bias in STEMM.
Unlike many other diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, SEA Change adopts a transformative approach that begins with each participating institution undertaking an intensive self-assessment. By interrogating their own culture, policies and procedures, institutions can gather data, identify gaps and home in on the concerns and barriers that stand in the way of access and success for students, faculty and staff from groups marginalized in STEMM. Among the areas of focus that new charter members hope to investigate include curricula, faculty and staff hiring policies, and practices to retain undergraduates underrepresented in STEMM.
Each institution then creates its own individualized, evidence-based plan to break down those barriers, but their common goals mean that charter members look forward to learning and collaborating with one another.
The SEA Change Community is one of three integral parts of the initiative, with the publicly accessible community containing private spaces for SEA Change members to connect with one another. SEA Change also encompasses the Institute, a library of resources, trainings and events, and the SEA Change Awards, which honor institutions for progress made toward systemic transformation. Since 2019, SEA Change Institutional Bronze Awards have been given to five institutions that completed their self-assessments and successfully developed action plans to address the challenges they uncovered.
Charter members noted how SEA Change can serve as a hub for separate existing DEI efforts, fostering better integration across departments and creating effective change across the entire institution.
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