faculty member smiling
Dr. Ruth Ochia is one of 27 faculty & administrators selected for the third IAspire cohort.
Ryan S. Brandenberg

The national program aims to help STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles 

Ruth Ochia, Professor of Instruction, was recently named a fellow in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy, a leadership program aimed at helping STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. The academy is part of the Aspire Alliance's Institutional Change Initiative, which the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Georgia lead. 

"Dr. Ochia has already established herself as an emerging leader among our talented faculty, and we are excited to see her continued growth as part of the NSF IAspire Leadership Academy," said Keya Sadeghipour, Dean of the Temple University College of Engineering. "This experience will help Dr. Ochia to widen her impact by sharing knowledge with her peers at Temple Engineering, ultimately improving student outcomes & maximizing the impact faculty have on the student experience." 

"The program will help Dr. Ochia refine and establish a faculty development project to foster improvements in teaching and inclusiveness among faculty at our college," added Michel Lemay, PhD, interim chair of the Department of Bioengineering. "In addition, we anticipate this will increase her visibility within the Temple University community while also positioning herself as a natural principal investigator for larger education grants."

"We're excited that so many institutions were able to support the participation of emerging STEM leaders from underrepresented groups in the third cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy," said Howard Gobstein, Director of the Aspire Alliance and Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). "More than ever, we see the need for institutions to cultivate and support diversity in faculty and university leadership, and this year's class of fellows will be well positioned to advance these goals."

"It is an honor to provide this leadership development opportunity to so many current and rising leaders from across the country," said Rochelle Sapp, IAspire Leadership Academy Director and Leadership Development Specialist in the Office of Learning and Organizational Development at the University of Georgia. "Advancing diverse and under-represented groups of leaders in STEM higher education is critical to the success of higher education and society, especially providing these leaders opportunities to focus on their personal leadership skills, goals, and style. We are also hopeful about the power of community among the fellows to create a lasting foundation of mutual support to advance their ongoing development and success."

The academy is one pillar of diversity and inclusion work underway through the Aspire Alliance (formally known as the National Alliance for Inclusive & Diverse STEM Faculty). The National Science Foundation-backed alliance is working across post-secondary institutions to develop more inclusive institutional cultures to create a more inclusive and diverse STEM professoriate. 

The leadership academy provides professional development for academic leaders from underrepresented groups so they can aspire to and succeed in more senior leadership roles, thus broadening participation in academic leadership. Fellows will learn effective executive leadership skills for increasingly complex higher education environments as well as strategies for influencing institutional transformation in their current and future leadership positions. 

The academy is targeted at mid-career individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups interested in serving in college or university leadership roles in STEM fields. The 27 participating faculty and administrators were selected through a competitive, holistic review of their applications. 

Learn more about the IAspire Leadership Academy on the Aspire Alliance IAspire Leadership Academy site.