North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of California, Davis are the first three charter members of SEA Change, an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) initiative to help educational institutions boost diversity and equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
The “SEA” in SEA Change is short for “STEMM Equity Achievment” and, according to director of SEA Change and a senior advisor for AAAS, Shirley Malcom, charter membership signifies a institution’s public commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in STEMM.
The initiative categorizes its efforts into three pillars: “Change Community” focuses on building diversity-strengthening partnerships, “Change Institute” focuses on accruing equity-building resources and “Change Awards” focuses on rewarding institutions that have made recognizable progress.
In a statement, Sheri Schwab, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at North Carolina State University, stressed the importance of diversity in STEMM, saying, “Think about trying to find the cure for COVID right now. We need every mind possible able to step up at moments like this, and we as a university can’t get in the way of that. We need to look hard at the barriers to making that possible and put all of our focus and energy to being as inclusive as possible. … We want to be the kind of university that is willing to take a hard look at what we’re doing and what we can improve on.”