IAspire Leadership Academy

The primary purpose of IAspire Leadership Academy is to develop and train the next generation of underrepresented (URG) leaders in STEM higher education. This program will equip these individuals with skills to lead more effectively in an increasingly complex environment and gain the confidence to influence institutional transformation either in their current position or as they rise to other positions of leadership. This program is open to academic leaders at both 2 and 4 year institutions.

IAspire Fellows will:
  • Enhance their leadership skills and knowledge in eight critical competencies.

  • Develop a peer leadership network in order to enhance personal leadership practice, collaboration, and diversity of perspective.

  • Prepare and implement an individual leadership development process and institutional action project to influence institutional change.

UTSA has the opportunity to nominate one faculty member per year to the iAspire Leadership Academy

In 2019, UTSA was selected as one of 15 public research universities to participate in the National Science Foundation-funded INCLUDES Alliance, Aspire: The National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM Faculty, its inaugural three-year institutional change effort to help those schools reform their recruitment, hiring and retention practices. Learn more about our involvement here.

Timeline 2022-2023

iAspire will provide updated information about applying to the leadership academy in spring 2023.

Current & Past Recipients

Nicole Beebe


Nicole Beebe, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security and the Melvin Lachman Chair in Entrepreneurship

Astrid Cardona


Astrid Cardona, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Nicole Wicha


Nicole Wicha, professor, Department of Biology

"It has been difficult to witness the minimal gains in the diversity of STEM researchers over the last 30 years. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, UTSA has a responsibility to become a model of diversity across the institution. The IAspire Leadership Academy is helping move the needle toward increasing diversity in STEM at UTSA and beyond."

Kelly Nash


Kelly Nash, associate professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy

"Through my experience as an IAspire Leadership Fellow, I was able to focus on developing my natural leadership skills in a supportive, peer group setting. The program helped me to see myself as a leader and to develop an intentional plan for my future leadership journey. The skills I obtained through this program were immediately applicable to my leadership role at UTSA and has made me a more agile and resilient leader."