UMD Joins Efforts to Make STEM Faculty More Inclusive and Diverse
By: Jaime Williams
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), has announced 19 public research universities, University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) being one of them, that will join a three-year institutional change effort to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention practices.
APLU co-leads the effort, known as Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty. The newly announced cohort is joining two prior cohorts.
The other 18 universities that will be joining the ranks are: Appalachian State University; California Polytechnic State University, Pomona; Grand Valley State University; Jackson State University; Lehigh University; Louisiana Tech University; Mississippi State University; Pennsylvania State University; Stevens Institute of Technology; Temple University; The Ohio State University; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Denver; University of Louisiana at Lafayette; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Pittsburgh; Utah State University; and Virginia Tech.
All three cohorts combined will bring the number of institutions participating in this national alliance to 54.
The work of this project will be aimed at ensuring all STEM faculty use inclusive teaching practices and that institutions increase the diversity of their STEM professoriate. Participating universities will begin their work with a self-assessment of current practices and assets. Then, the institutions will develop and implement campus action plans to drive change and scale such efforts across all their STEM programs.
The Aspire Alliance is engaging the new cohort through its Institutional Change (IChange) Network. The network provides universities with comprehensive support and resources for institutional change, including access to national partners in a concierge-style approach to technical assistance.
Linda Steiner, Director of the UMD ADVANCE program and lead on the project, said, "I am very excited to work with the IChange staff and with other universities in our cohort over the next three years to develop and implement a really ambitious action plan in STEM departments and colleges. Indeed, the goal is to build on faculty diversity hiring initiatives launched by the University and ADVANCE and to leverage successes in STEM to the benefit of the entire University."
Diversity and inclusion is a goal that many institutions share, but increasing the number of faculty members from underrepresented groups in STEM has proven particularly challenging. According to a 2019 NSF analysis, underrepresented minority faculty held a mere 9 percent of professorships in STEM fields at four-year institutions.
Other research shows that when underrepresented students are taught by diverse faculty members they achieve at significantly higher rates; as much as 20 to 50 percent of the course achievement gaps between minority and majority students are eliminated.
Digital Measures/Activity Insight Expands to All Paid Faculty Members
This fall, we invite all paid faculty members to use Digital Measures (formerly Activity Insight), our new faculty activities reporting system. The system is a powerful tool that will help you document your teaching, research, and service activities. It is especially important to record the enhanced activities (e.g., course preparation, course redesign, additional service) faculty have engaged in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A key goal in configuring the system has been to maximize reuse of data where possible -- "Enter once, reuse many times." Based on feedback received from faculty members and our pilot groups, we have made a number of improvements to our implementation of Digital Measures since the initial rollout in January 2020. Specifically, Improvements include new data integrations with UM Ventures, TLTC, and Faculty Affairs. These data integrations are in addition to existing integrations with data from PHR (our HR system), SIS (our student information system), CourseEvalUM (student course evaluation data), Kuali Research (ORA funded research data) and the Graduate School (graduate student mentorship). These additions will help faculty members demonstrate their many activities in support of the University’s mission, reduce faculty data entry burden in annual reporting, and help the University meet its reporting requirements to the University System of Maryland.
See below for the following updates: faculty mentoring data integration; bulk activity data import service to facilitate entering your data; patent and invention screen updates and integrations with the UM Ventures unit; and tips for accelerating your manual data entry.
Faculty Mentoring Assignments Imported
Unit heads regularly provide information to the Office of Faculty Affairs on faculty mentoring assignments. This information is now being imported into Digital Measures with assignment information being loaded into the Mentorship - Guiding Professional Development screen. If you have any questions about this change, please contact the Digital Measures team.
Bulk Data Import Service
A bulk data import/update service is now available. We can import your activity data from an Excel file into Digital Measures. To take advantage of this service, please contact the Digital Measures team with the request details. This service can also be used to apply bulk updates to activity records on a particular screen in Digital Measures, avoiding record-by-record editing in the system. We will provide you with an Excel import template for the associated data screen. The columns of the template will correspond to the data fields on that screen. We will give you detailed information on the data format for each column and can load your data into Digital Measures for you.
Updates to Patent and Invention Data
The original single Patents and Inventions data screen has been split into a Patents screen and an Inventions screen, in preparation for our data integration with UM Ventures later this month. Existing data from the Patents and Inventions screen has been migrated to the appropriate new screen. If you have any questions about the data migration, please contact the Digital Measures team. A new Entrepreneurial Activity screen is being created, and will be auto-populated with UM Ventures' information on MD I-Corps involvement, phase 2 Maryland Innovation Initiative engagement and university-licensed startups.
Duplicating an Activity
Sometimes you can save time adding activities by using the Duplicate feature. In some cases where there are two activities that are almost identical, you may find it easier to duplicate one and then slightly modify it. To duplicate an activity, view the summary screen for that activity type and check the box to the right of the activity to be duplicated. Clicking the Duplicate button in the upper right will open an exact copy of the selected item. You can update the information as needed for your new record, and click Save to complete the creation of that new record.
While you are managing your activities, you may want to check how an update looks on a report. The Rapid Reports button at the top right of the screen (by PasteBoard) gives you quick access to the reports you can run in Digital Measures.
The Search All Activities input area is a quick way to locate activities on any screen based on free-text search of your activity details. To narrow your search, navigate to the summary screen for an activity type. The Search box now limits results to your activity details for this activity screen only.
Learn More About Digital Measures
The Digital Measures website is not only your starting point for logging in to the platform; it is also a self-service resource with short how-to videos, extensive user guides, and contact information for the Digital Measures team. Platform support is available through email, and by phone (301.405.7681).