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The ASSERT (Aligning Stakeholders and Structures to Enable Research Transformation) program invites faculty from all ranks and across all disciplines to learn together and grow as scholars, leaders, educators, and professionals in a community-centric environment.

“This is what it means to be an innovative research university,” said Boise State president Dr. Marlene Tromp. “It really takes a community working together to create the kind of innovative environment where ideas are born, and a supportive community to help translate those ideas into action. It’s wonderful to live and work in such a thriving community.”

This program, housed inside the Institute for Inclusive & Transformative Scholarship (IFITS) is in full partnership with the Provost’s Office and the Division of Research and Economic Development, with additional support from the College of Innovation + Design. Our collective vision is to support and sustain an ASSERTive community – for Aligning Stakeholders and Structures to Enable Research Transformation.

This community:

  1. provides professional development for research-active and research-aspiring faculty; 
  2. aligns university structures and cultures to support the germination of transformative research questions and ideas among the participants; and
  3. continues the longitudinal tracking of the participants to measure the long-term impact of this model.

Over the past 5 years of this program, 70 participants have received intense professional development, enhancing their ability to expand their scholarly identity, formulate transformative research questions, and move their bold ideas forward in spite of today’s funding landscape and our response to it.

Education, Innovation, & Leadership

ASSERT in the News

Path-breaking ASSERT program empowers faculty to transform research

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Cohort 1

Marie-Anne de Graaff

“ASSERT helped me identify my personal and professional values, and provided me with the confidence to pursue a vision based on these values. This has enabled me to genuinely integrate my efforts in teaching, research and service, such that they have become the building blocks to a holistic framework that benefits science and society. It’s an incredibly rewarding position to be in.”

Cohort 1

Kevin Feris

“ASSERT made me realize the importance of structures and systems, both on and off campus. How these structures and systems influence our lives, both personal and professional, and how they enable or in some cases limit our opportunities. ASSERT also made me realize that we can change these structures for the better, and improve access to the opportunities that are out there for others as well as ourselves.”

Cohort 2

Elton Graugnard

“The ASSERT program was an opportunity to connect with colleagues from across campus and with my own college and department. ASSERT was a force against the staggering sense of isolation that I have experienced since joining Boise State.”

Cohort 3

Jeremy Ford

“The support from Donna, Will, and Megan is among the best I have received while at Boise State. As we transition to our next iteration as a university, it behooves us to institutionalize the work they are doing. As a direct result of my participation in ASSERT, I was able to obtain support to develop a State Board of Education approved undergraduate certificate in Community and Career Readiness Studies for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities participating in the Providing Exceptional Education and Raising Standards (PEERS) Program. My participation in ASSERT also led to my developing a Vertically Integrated Project, the Aiding Student Success by Improving Secondary Transition (ASSIST) Lab that involves Boise State students in research to support students with disabilities transition to, and succeed in, college and beyond.”

Cohort 3

Jen Pierce

“I love ASSERT! ASSERT catapulted my career and created a campus community…I have been at Boise State now for 16 years, but until ASSERT I did not feel like I had the qualifications, tools, or training to really promote myself and my research. Since I have done ASSERT, I have gotten two National Science Foundation grants, I’ve started a new organization called iCLEER (the Idaho Climate Literacy, Education, Engagement, and Research group), and I’ve organized talks at national and international meetings that create the conversation around climate equity in the Geosciences.”

Cohort 4

Shelly Volsche

“I credit my time in ASSERT for helping me build connections on campus and develop confidence in my research. As a result, I began my own research group, applied for the NSF CAREER grant, and recently transitioned from Lecturer to Clinical Assistant Professor. Working with Donna, Will, and Megan, and getting to know Jana through them, I’ve been able to see my research through the eyes of others and realize how important and valuable my work is to my community and beyond. ASSERT is aptly named because this group helps faculty create connections, build community, and become advocates for themselves and colleagues.”

Cohort 4

Peter Müllner

“I participated in ASSERT in spring 2020 and that has extended the scope of my scholarship. While I used to focus solely on my research agenda, I am now interconnected with faculty from many disciplines in support of their activities through the newly founded Scholarship Serving Community Partners program… Working on this new dimension of scholarship strains me a lot, it constantly pushes me outside of my comfort zone, and I enjoy that. Collaborating with many faculty teaches me new perspectives; it inspires my research, and it gives me a greater sense of purpose and that is very refreshing.”

Moving Ideas Forward

ASSERT Pitch Events

The final cohort experience is the ASSERT Pitch Event where fellows share their transformational research ideas with members of our community.

ASSERT Pitch Event - Cohort 5 (2021)

Watch the Pitch Event Recording

ASSERT Pitch Event - Cohort 4 (2020)

Watch the Pitch Event Recording

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