UCLA is among six collaborating institutions that were together awarded $10 million over five years from the National Science Foundation to develop new educational models and programs that will increase diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and careers. UCLA will receive $750,000 for its role in this nationwide project.

Funded under the NSF INCLUDES program, the new initiative is called the National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty, or NAIDSF. The alliance aims to attract more college students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds — and to help these students graduate and succeed in STEM careers.

“We are delighted to be among the first cohort of awardees for the NSF INCLUDES Alliance program, which will prepare UCLA graduate students and postdoctoral scholars for great careers in higher education,” said Robin Garrell, vice provost and dean of the UCLA graduate division, who leads the school’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning program.

“Our project focuses on developing pathways for current STEM students to explore and better prepare for faculty careers in community colleges, where many undergraduates from underrepresented groups have their first college experiences in STEM fields,” said Erin Sanders O’Leary, UCLA’s principal investigator for the project and director for UCLA’s Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences.

UCLA and other institutions have partnered to form the Southern California Regional Collaborative — a collaborative with Santa Monica College and several other community colleges, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, California State University, Los Angeles and San Francisco State University, and other academic organizations. The NSF funding provides an opportunity to expand this regional change initiative to new locations, including in Northern California.

“Our efforts include launching awareness campaigns about teaching careers as well as mounting training programs and teaching internships for graduate students and postdocs at UCLA and other regional four-year institutions,” said Jessica Gregg, associate director of the UCLA Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences and co-principal investigator for the UCLA project.