By on June 17, 2019


The UTA CIRTL program is part of the CIRTL Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) project, a Networked Improvement Community (NIC). Iowa State University, Boston University, Cornell University, Howard University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, University of Buffalo, University of Georgia, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Texas at Arlington are building a NIC focused on improving dissertator experiences with the goal of creating a more inclusive environment for graduate students. In an environment that is welcoming and where differences are valued, graduate students can do their best work and use their different perspectives to help solve today’s largest challenges.

Our hypothesis is that if we improve the climate in graduate education we will increase the number of UR graduate students and postdocs interested in and prepared for faculty careers. Grant: AGEP (Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate) Granting Agency: National Science Foundation Project Overview The National Science Foundation funds the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP)program. The AGEP program goal is to increase the number of historically underrepresented minority faculty, in specific STEM disciplines and STEM education research fields, by advancing knowledge about pathways to career success. The program objectives include: To support the development, implementation and study of innovative models of doctoral education, postdoctoral training, and faculty advancement for historically underrepresented minorities in specific STEM disciplines and/or STEM education research fields; and to advance knowledge about the underlying issues, policies and practices that have an impact on the participation, transitions and advancement of historically underrepresented minorities in the STEM academy.

What is an inclusive climate?

An inclusive research environment in one where all graduate students and postdocs feel they belong and are recognized for their contributions.

This aligns powerfully with the missions of our universities, namely to ensure all our students can succeed and produce quality scholarship on our society’s most challenging problems.

Achieving an inclusive climate requires changes at the individual (e.g., faculty), the group level (department and graduate peers), and it must entail organizational learning, so that the improvements are not isolated and disconnected.

The UTA team is currently working with the newly created Center for Research on Teaching and Learning Excellence (CRTLE) and the Vice Provost for Faculty affairs. The aim is to work with these units to develop a training course for all newly hired faculty. It is hoped that this program will exist beyond the life of the grant, as it will become part of a sustainable structure. The team is also working to establish official URM doctoral student chapters in the colleges of Engineering and Science. Once the chapters are established and active, newly admitted doctoral students will be invited to join and participate in the activities of each chapter, thereby creating student-centric safe spaces and networks for URM graduate students. In addition, the UTA team plans to offer two workshops, led by members of its CIRTL Steering Committee, focused on preparing URM doctoral students for careers in the academy.


Contact: Panos S. Shiakolas,
Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant/Award Numbers: 1647104, 1646810, 1646977, 1647119, 1647146, 1647121, 1647021, and 1647181. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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