SEA Change
AAAS STEM Equity Achievement


See change with STEMM Equity Achievement


STEMM Equity Achievement (SEA) Change supports institutional transformation in support of diversity and inclusion, especially in colleges and universities.

SEA Change’s self-assessment, metrics, and awards program advances systemic institutional and departmental reform to enable success in higher education and research missions. This success is achieved by ensuring that the full range of student and faculty talent can be recruited, retained, and advanced in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics for the value and excellence achieved by including all talent in these fields. SEA Change focuses on structural barrier removal for women, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and people with disabilities, as well as others who are marginalized. Broader in scope, but inspired by the successful processes first developed for the Athena SWAN program by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU - part of Advance HE) in the United Kingdom, SEA Change aims to be a truly transformative force for positive, sustainable change in higher education at all levels in the United States.

SEA Change is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international, nonprofit scientific association that has worked for decades to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics (STEMM). We join other nations collaborating in an international network with ECU to implement an equity self-assessment and improvement framework in higher education, expanding from the UK into the Republic of Ireland and Australia, and now into the US and Canada. For more information, please see our 3-page summary.


Those in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) understand the benefit of diversity. We also know that biases, including those within colleges and universities, have marginalized many different groups and denied opportunities in STEMM. How do we untie ourselves from these practices? How do we give ourselves access to the full range of talent for STEMM?


The process

SEA Change uses the Equality Charters Process initially developed in the U.K. by the Equality Challenge Unit, part of Advance HE. The process is used by their Athena SWAN gender charter and the Race Equality Charter, as well as by SAGE in Australia. Canada is also exploring the implementation of an Athena SWAN inspired program.

A list of key components of the process is below. The FAQs add important substance on principles and self-assessment.

guiding principles

Participating in the SEA Change self-assessment process is a commitment to the SEA Change Principles. These are statements of principle and performance goals allowing an institution or department to acknowledge systemic diversity and equity issues and commit to addressing them. 

evidence-based self-assessment

SEA Change recognizes institutions and departments for making the effort to truly understand the barriers to diversity and equity, and exploring available research to find evidence for successful actions they might take to sustainably remove barriers and gain the benefits of equity and diversity for all.

taking action

SEA Change applicants develop their own institution- and department- appropriate SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-oriented) action plans to accomplish these goals. Recertification or progression is based on documented implementation of these actions and resulting impacts.

going for the bronze

SEA Change pilot institutions are currently "going for the Bronze" Institutional SEA Change Award. Want to join them? See the FAQs.

Institutional awards

Using an iterative approach based on self-assessment — not comparisons across institutions — the SEA Change Awards recognize institutions for asking tough questions, using an evidence-based approach to find answers, and taking action on an ongoing basis. 

departmental awards

Most of the deep systemic change occurs within the departments, though this is made possible by the structural changes implemented at the institutional level. Departmental Awards will pilot in the next few years.


Once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
— Seamus Heaney, The Cure at Troy


Get Involved

Have questions about SEA Change, becoming a pilot institution, or volunteering your expertise? Use the form below and we will get back to you shortly.

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