Press Release

New Podcast Offers a Real-Time Look at Processes of Institutional Change for Promoting Inclusive Excellence in Science Education

Washington, DC—The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the launch of The Excellence Experiment, a nine-episode podcast series presented by the AAC&U Inclusive Excellence Commission (IEC). Formed jointly by AAC&U and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in 2016, the Commission is part of the HHMI’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which supports efforts at colleges and universities to explore and understand the development of new institutional capacities to design, facilitate, and sustain long-term change. The Commission examines and evaluates this institutional change as it occurs and disseminates insights and findings to the greater higher education community. The new podcast series serves as an element of that dissemination, calling attention to the myriad perspectives and contexts that give shape to true reform.

“The Commission is grateful to HHMI and extremely proud to be positioned to present these podcasts to the undergraduate STEM reform community. We stand with all of the institutions of the HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative, and the many others, who are purposeful in their commitments to achieving the full expression of excellence in undergraduate science education,” said Kelly Mack, chair of the Inclusive Excellence Commission and AAC&U vice president for undergraduate STEM education.

Structured to illuminate the processes of organizational learning and institutional change—in real time, as they are happening—each 30- to 60-minute episode of The Excellence Experiment offers a peek into the “lab notebooks” of faculty and institutional leaders actively engaged in the Inclusive Excellence Initiative. Their stories supplement existing knowledge and discourse in the field by showcasing existing organizational change strategies within the context of the practical experiences of institutional change agents. The podcasts capture the compelling and dynamic nature of this work through engaging conversations that explore the experiences, successes, failures, and lessons learned—and yet-to-be-learned.

“There is so much to the work of institutional capacity building that conventional evaluative reports and the research papers don’t capture. These podcasts illuminate the dynamic, ongoing, iterative nature of the work of institutional transformation. Not just the outcomes and impacts of project activities but the processes, practices, transitions, and interruptions that project leaders experience and learn from as they work to identify and eradicate barriers to inclusion in science education,” said Tykeia Robinson, host of The Excellence Experiment
podcast, member of the AAC&U Inclusive Excellence Commission, and associate director of research and policy in the AAC&U Office of Undergraduate STEM Education.

The first episode, available today, engages all six members of the AAC&U Inclusive Excellence Commission in a grounding conversation about inclusive excellence and the key characteristics of transformative change. Seven additional episodes will feature teams from the following institutions:

  • Bates College
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • Mercy College
  • University of California Merced
  • University of Houston Downtown
  • University of Puerto Rico Humacao
  • Wellesley College

New episodes will be released twice weekly through the month of July. The Excellence Experiment podcasts will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and the AAC&U website.

About AAC&U

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the democratic purposes of higher education by promoting equity, innovation, and excellence in liberal education. Through our programs and events, publications and research, public advocacy, and campus-based projects, AAC&U serves as a catalyst and facilitator for innovations that improve educational quality and equity and that support the success of all students. In addition to accredited public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities and state higher education systems and agencies throughout the United States, our membership includes degree-granting higher education institutions in more than twenty-five countries as well as other organizations and individuals. To learn more, visit