Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies

The Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies (IPF: Societies) promotes STEM culture DEI reform by providing a set of skills in the three domains - Identity Awareness, Intercultural Mindfulness, and Inclusive Relationships, plus a fourth domain - Influential Actions - that is informed by the specific functions performed by the society. This skill set can be applied to inclusive practices across society functions such as governance & leadership, membership, convenings, recognition, and professional development.

WHY care about the Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies?

Professional and disciplinary societies:

    • Serve broad memberships

    • Help define disciplinary norms and culture

    • Inform accrediting bodies

Domain-Based Skill Sets

Identity Awareness

Developing an awareness of self and other members' social and cultural identities, the intersectionality of those identities, and examining the role that identity plays in creating effective learning and working environments.

How might identity awareness impact inclusive society practices?

  • Governance & Leadership: What type of DEI expertise is represented by the organizational committee?

  • Membership: How does membership demographic data influence the focus and nature of ProS work done?

  • Convening: Who is and isn’t attending, and are there equity considerations behind individuals/groups not attending?

Intercultural Mindfullness

Developing an understanding of cultural differences in ways that enable effective interactions with others from different racial, ethnic, or social identity groups in both domestic and international contexts.

How might intercultural mindfullness impact inclusive society practices?

  • Governance & Leadership: How does precluding recognition of novel methodological approaches/ research influence innovation and disciplinary excellence?

  • Recognition: How might traditional mechanisms for recognition be biased towards privilege, rather than excellence?

  • Professional Development: How might historically underrepresented members be discouraged and ill-served by traditional networking opportunities?

Inclusive Relationships

Building one-on-one connection, trust and relationship through effective communication and relational skills, which support effective interpersonal interaction.

How might skills in building inclusive relationships impact inclusive society practices?

  • Membership: Are a range of recruitment and retention methods being employed to attract and retain a diversity of members?

  • Convening: Is the convening being done in an accessible way, whether face-to-face, or online (e.g., accessible physical space, real time transcription of online sessions)?

  • Professional Development: How does the society support engagement at networking events?

Influential Actions

Evaluating specific functions of an individual society to determine where further integration of inclusive practices may have the most substantial impact.

How might influential actions impact inclusive society practices?

  • Governance & Leadership: Do the decision-making structures for the organization infuse goals of DEI within all of its committees?

  • Membership: How might membership fees influence who is active, and how they are active, in the professional society?

  • Recognition: How might using a rubric that has been designed and vetted widely by multiple stakeholder groups encourage more inclusive decision-making?

Application to Society Functions

Governance & Leadership

How the ProS society is run and major decisions are made about the goals and efforts of the society.


The membership of the ProS and the structures that shape membership makeup.


Who, where, and how people participate in ProS activities.


The established procedures in which people apply or are nominated for recognition or support.

Professional Development

Job boards, mentoring, practitioner continuing education, and similar efforts aimed at cultivating successful careers of its members.

IPF: Societies Publications

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional societies (ProSs) serve broad memberships, define disciplinary norms and culture, and inform accrediting bodies and thus provide critical levers for systems change. Inclusive STEM system reform requires that underlying “mental models” be examined. The Inclusive Professional Framework for Societies (IPF: Societies) is an interrelated set of strategies that can help ProSs change leaders (i.e., “boundary spanners”) and organizations identify and address mental models hindering DEI reform. The IPF: Societies uses four “I's”—Identity awareness and Intercultural mindfulness (i.e., equity mindset) upon which inclusive relationships and Influential DEI actions are scaffolded. This article discusses how the IPF: Societies complements existing DEI tools and how it can be applied to existing ProS policy and practice associated with common ProS functions (e.g., leadership, membership, conferences, awards, and professional development). Ultimately, the IPF: Societies has potential to promote more efficient, effective, and lasting DEI organizational transformation and contribute to inclusive STEM disciplinary excellence.

ACCESS+ Equity Environmental Scanning Tool (EEST)

Leaders of the Amplifying the Alliance to Catalyze Change for Equity in STEM Success (ACCESS+) project, a partner of the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance (Aspire), recognize the need to provide Society diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) change leaders with tools necessary to foster systemic change. In this article, they present the Equity Environmental Scanning Tool (EEST) as an aid to help Society DEI change leaders elucidate legacy mental models, discern areas of strength, identify foci for advancement, and benchmark organizational change efforts. The EEST is currently undergoing ongoing piloting and refinement with a first ACCESS+ cohort of the original 5 ACCESS biological societies, and a second cohort of 14 predominately engineering societies.