Our change mechanism is a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) (Bryk, Gomez, & Grunow, 2011). The main idea is that each university in our NIC will implement interventions in at the same time and use common goals and metrics to learn from each other to improve. Our NIC consists of nine universities embedded within the 46 universities of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL). NICs draw on improvement science that “deploy rapid tests of change to guide the development, revision and continued fine-tuning of new tools, processes, work roles and relationships” (Carnegie, n/d). A strength of an NICs is the varied contexts for testing, so from the start we can learn what it takes to get ideas to work in different environments (Bryk et al., 2011).
Our NIC will
(1) investigate challenges, drivers, and potential solutions of increasing UR student interest in faculty careers;
(2) decide on key initiatives (faculty advising and developing graduate peer communities);
(3) engage in cycles of implementation, measurement (using common metrics), and revision; and
(4) share successes and failures within the NIC and across the CIRTL Network.