ASPIRED Project Milestones
Growing gender equality
Since the launch of this project, we took a moment to reflect on the role ASPIRED
has played on campus with its implemented programs. We are thrilled to celebrate the
milestones with you. Through ASPIRED project’s UM-Intersect, UM-Connect, and UM-Integrate
programs, the University of Memphis has adapted gender equity initiatives in recruitment,
hiring, retention, and advancement for STEM women faculty. The principal investigator
of this project is Dr. Esra Ozdenerol, professor of Earth Sciences and directors of the GIS Certificate Program as well
as SAGE (Spatial Analysis and Geographic Education) Laboratory.
ASPIRED UM Intersect
Join us for the Inaugural Workshop
for STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence)
on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. STRIDE is an hour long, peer-to-peer interactive workshop
intended for search committees to learn about best practices to ensure a fair and
equitable search process. Our committee consists of six members (Dr. Kristoffer Berlin,
Dr. Joel Bumgardner, Dr. Amy Curry, Dr. Chrysanthe Preza, Dr. Firouzeh Sabri, and
Dr. Laura Taylor). To learn more about STRIDE workshops and available times, visit
our STRIDE Workshop webpage
ASPIRED UM Intersect
WELCOME packet- The welcome packet provides new employees with resources such as getting started
on campus, development opportunities, childcare, navigating Memphis, and more.
ASPIRED UM Intersect- Department Climate Improvement Grants
In Spring 2021, the ASPIRED team conducted department climate surveys and introduced
the Department Climate Improvement Grant to all STEM departments to implement climate
improvement projects. Examples of activities proposed by the departments include,
but are not limited to, symposia or series, search committee training, bias awareness
and reduction training, capacity building, policy review and reform, and recruitment
and pipeline efforts. These interventions will focus on helping to create climates
that are inclusive and responsive to the needs of women and URM faculty—potentially
reducing feelings of isolation and reducing hostility and discrimination based on
gender and/or minority status.
ASPIRED’s Tiger-Lilly Collective (TLC) theatre group will join the CAS Chair/Director meeting in May to perform interactive
sketches on implicit bias. TLC performances will educate audiences by catching them
off-guard and illustrating in real time and using common scenarios how gender and
implicit biases play out in their own lives. TLC actors are UofM students with Dr.
Holly Derr, head of Directing Program, directing the interactive sketches.
Mentoring- The mentoring program welcomed Drs. Ozdenerol, Parrill-Baker, and Haut Donahue as
mentors and Drs. Antipova, Jennings, Labarre-Powell, and Pleshkan as mentees. The
members are participating in a 4-week, 4-module self-paced training where mentors
and mentees will develop competencies to engage in an effective, culturally responsive
mentoring relationship while improving STEM self-efficacy and identity. These training
modules are available through Canvas to mentors and mentees who are accepted into
the program and consist of collaborative discussions and problem-based scenarios to
socialize both the mentors and mentees to the peer mentoring process.
Our STEM luncheons were a great success. Our first STEM luncheon, which served as
the kickoff for the UM-Connect Mentoring program, was on November 5, 2021, and invited
Dr. Melissa McDaniels to speak about STEM mentoring. Since then, we have hosted Dr.
Lisa Wolf-Wendel who spoke on Work-Life-Family Balance, Dr. Robin Selinger who spoke
on Strategies for Success in Academic STEM careers, and Dr. Terri Reed who spoke on
Diversity, Equity, and Implicit Bias. The STEM luncheons provided mentors and mentees
participating in the UM-Connect Mentoring program the opportunity to connect with one another and develop professionally. Our
speakers are broadcast through zoom to a live and virtual audience. We would like
the UofM STEM community to attend our upcoming luncheon on March 22, at 12 PM with
Dr. Jill Sible who will speak on promoting excellence and inclusion in the STEM classroom.
Integrate Grants-UM Integrate has awarded integrate grants that support faculty in research, professional
development, and/or work-family integration. The grants were awarded to Drs. Kensha
Clark from the Chemistry Department, Misty Freeman from Mathematical Science, Chrysanthe
Preza from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Maryam Salehi from Civil Engineering,
and Kan Yang from Computer Science.
Dual Career Taskforce-The Dual career task force was formed and is developing a dual career policy for the
University of Memphis. The task force is a collective group of members from faculty,
leadership, administration, HR, and the Provost’s office.
Learn more about what is happening by visiting the ASPIRED website, or follow us on LinkedIn. For further questions regarding this initiative, contact Ozdenerol, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the program coordinator, Mekensie Ivy, at email@example.com.