LOWELL, Mass. – The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) honored UMass Lowell on Feb. 13 for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM and furthering positive change in the institution’s relevant policies and practice.
UMass Lowell, along with Boston University and the University of California, Davis, were recognized by the association’s STEM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change initiative at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. These are the first awards given by the SEA Change initiative at AAAS, which launched in 2018 to encourage institutional transformation in support of diversity and inclusion by ensuring that the full range of talent can be recruited, retained and advanced in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics. The awards were announced by U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chairwoman of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee.
“It is time for our colleges and universities to take the leap and make real institutional change a priority in order to diversify the STEM workforce and provide quality education to all,” said Shirley Malcom, senior adviser at AAAS. “We recognize the significant efforts of the three institutions who have committed to undertaking this transformation with SEA Change Bronze Award certification.”
The recipients of the SEA Change Bronze Award met the following criteria: conducted a self-assessment using SEA Change principles; identified barriers preventing inclusion and equity in STEM across institutions and departments; developed an action plan to address the barriers identified; and committed to regular review and assessment – by an independent panel of experts – of the action plan and progress made.
UMass Lowell was recognized for making development of a more inclusive culture a focus of the institution’s strategic plan and the use of multiple methods to assess institutional culture in ways that inform their action plan.
“UMass Lowell is committed to advancing an inclusive environment for all, both on our campus and throughout higher education by leading the way through our strategic plan and other important initiatives,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney.
Among those efforts is Making WAVES (Women Academics Valued and Engaged in STEM), funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program and administered through UMass Lowell's Center for Woman and Work. Through the $3.5 million, five-year grant, UMass Lowell is establishing innovative approaches to increasing diversity of faculty in STEM fields and addressing issues across higher education, including innovative programs in mentoring, bystander training to address microagressions, departmental goal-setting and forming collaborative faculty leadership groups.
“This honor, from AAAS, the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society, is important recognition of UMass Lowell’s leadership in making higher education a more inclusive field for all. AAAS is working with partners in Canada and with discipline-specific professional societies to expand the SEA Change model and as one of the first Bronze awardees, we intend to be part of their collaborative network vision,” said Julie Chen, vice chancellor for research and innovation.
U.S. academic institutions are encouraged to consider joining SEA Change to facilitate the development of an equity self-assessment and improvement framework for higher education. Currently in its pilot stage, SEA Change will develop diversity, equity and inclusion resources – including a research repository and community networking and trainings – to be shared with, and used by, participating institutions.
About American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
About UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu