1542 Views
  1. Travis York
  2. http://www.aplu.org/about-us/who-we-are/offices-and-staff/Office-of-Research-and-Policy-Analysis/York.html
  3. Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Aspire Alliance
  1. Jessica Bennett
  2. https://www.aplu.org/about-us/who-we-are/offices-and-staff/office-of-research-innovation-and-stem-policy/Bennett.html
  3. Assistant Director, STEM Education
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, Aspire Alliance
  1. Robin Parent
  2. https://www.aplu.org/about-us/who-we-are/offices-and-staff/office-of-research-innovation-and-stem-policy/Parent.html
  3. Assistant Director, STEM Education
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Association of Public & Land-grant Universities, Aspire Alliance

Aspire Alliance

NSF Awards: 1834518, 1834522, 1834510, 1834513, 1834526, 1834521

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners

The Aspire Alliance seeks to develop inclusive and diverse STEM faculty across the nation by aligning and reinforcing professional development, hiring, and retention practices of STEM faculty simultaneously at institutional, regional, and national levels.

One of three change initiatives within Aspire, the Institutional Change (IChange) Network includes 35 postsecondary institutions across the country engaged in a network of transformation. IChange Network members seek to cultivate inclusive campus cultures to support URG STEM students through two primary levers of change:

  1. Implementing inclusive practices and policies to recruit, hire, and retain URG STEM Faculty.
  2. Implementing professional development for all STEM faculty to adopt inclusive teaching, advising, research mentoring, and collegial practices.
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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 4, 2020 | 05:54 p.m.

    UPDATE: In the discussion posts below, you will find links to RESOURCES for institutional leaders and faculty to support inclusive and equitable practices and policies DURING & AFTER COVID-19!  We are pleased to be able to share these resources with you here and on our Alliance's website (www.AspireAlliance.org). 
    ___________
    Thank you for visiting our Aspire Alliance IChange Video!  We are eager to engage with you in this public discussion space. My name is Travis and I work alongside an incredible team of colleagues to coordinate Aspire's IChange Network. Members of our team will be engaging throughout the week in this public discussion, so we hope you'll join the conversation. 

    This is an exciting week for us at the Aspire Alliance as we just opened applications for the third annual cohort for our IChange Network - to learn more or if your institution is interested in joining, click here: bit.ly/JoinICN2020.

    Aspire is dedicated to developing an inclusive and diverse STEM Faculty across the U.S. and Institutional Change (or IChange) is just one of three change initiatives in our alliance.  We hope you’ll take a minute to post any questions or comments about our project. We’re also excited to learn about your work, especially if your goals connect with ours and we can support your project!  We believe that engaging the full STEM community is the best way to tackle complex problems and so we’re excited to learn more about you and your work.  

    Here are a few discussion questions kick off the STEM for All Video Showcase (feel free to use these or create your own!):

    1. We focus our project both on inclusive recruitment and hiring of URG STEM Faculty (i.e., diversifying faculty bodies) AND cultivating inclusive practices for ALL STEM Faculty (e.g., inclusive teaching, advising, and research mentoring). Do you think these topics can be worked on separately, or do they need to be addressed together?

    2. What kind of challenges have you come across in seeking to increase the diversity of STEM Faculty that may be particular to an institutional type or culture?

    3. We often hear leaders debate whether diversification is really a “candidate pool issue” or if it results from organizational systems that limit access - how do you think about these issues and what other factors do you think should be considered?
     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Patti Curtis

    Patti Curtis

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 02:32 p.m.

    Thanks for your persistent efforts in changing the dynamics of STEM faculty.  Can you share some particular instances of success?  Did you uncover any easy fixes or are these problems all deeply rooted, systemic barriers to inclusion?  Is there a ray of light that can be captured, replicated and embedded so we don't have to continually revisit these patterns?

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 03:09 p.m.

    Hi Patti! Thanks for the comment.

    One of our core theories of change is that while there are a stable of promising practices to help improve things, campuses tend to jump at the first "actionable" idea to put into place, rather than taking time to deeply review and examine what is happening at their institution and learning from the URG faculty there. The reason we are so unclear on what it takes to change outcomes for URG faculty is that programs and initiatives implemented often fail to take into account the context, the root causes of the problem, or find ways to integrate these fixes into the core activities of the institution.

    For example, adding a funding incentive program for hiring diverse faculty can help in the short term, but once the pot of funds have dried up nothing has been changed about how search committees define and center inclusive excellence. And, departments might even come to demand "incentives" for doing anything other than business as usual.

    To aid in this deep reflection, we recommend our A Guidebook for Campus Self-Assessment of Successes & Challenges in STEM Faculty Diversity and Inclusion.

    The Guidebook is designed to help institutions explore the challenges and strengths they have in recruiting, hiring, and retaining a diverse STEM faculty. It provides: (1) A summary of the scholarship and practice-based insights leveraged to develop the model for increasing faculty diversity & an institutional self-assessment template; (2) Instructions on how to complete the institutional self-assessment; and, (3) practical guidance for campuses as they develop action plans for advancing faculty diversity.

    https://www.aplu.org/library/guidebook-for-a-campus-self-assessment-of-successes-and-challenges-in-stem-faculty-diversity-and-inclusion/file

     

     
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    Patti Curtis
    Travis York
  • Icon for: Rebecca Atadero

    Rebecca Atadero

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 05:15 p.m.

    Thank you for the link to your Guidebook.  This looks to be a very valuable resource.

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 05:17 p.m.

    Rebecca,

    I hope you find it helpful! Dr. Kimberly Griffin is part of our team, and has really lead us in grounding our approach in the higher education literature. Her extensive literature review is linked in the guidebook, too!

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Marjorie Bequette

    Marjorie Bequette

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 04:13 p.m.

    Thank you for the video and your work. I'm really curious about what changes -- big or small -- you are looking for as indicators of change? These might be officially tracked numbers or patterns, or even stories that make you smile?

    Put another way: how do you know that your programmatic efforts are making a difference?

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 04:26 p.m.

    Thanks for the question, Marjorie!

    Each institution participating in our network provides us with an annual report with both narrative and quantitative components, as well as some evidence of the work they have completed during the year. While ideally we'd love to see quick changes in the composition of STEM faculty at our institutions, or great improvements in climate for URG faculty (data we collect), the timescale of these kinds of changes is quite long. 

    So, we also look at how deeply the institutions have engaged with their self-assessment and learning about their challenges -- and embedding that learning into shaping their action plans. We are in our second year, so our first cohort is just launching their action plans!

    We also look for stories that make us smile - like one institutional member who reorganized their office of faculty affairs to align with our Institutional Model for Increasing Faculty Diversity. It resonated with their leadership, and was an expected measure of success for our work! (Folks can learn more about the model in our Guidebook!) 

     
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    Monica VanDieren
    Travis York
  • Icon for: Marjorie Bequette

    Marjorie Bequette

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 06:40 p.m.

    Really interesting, and yes, those big changes take time. It sounds like your short-term markers are about committing to the process, which is so important. Maybe over time, other short-term markers will emerge that become predictors of long-term success. Looking forward to exploring your Guidebook!

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 5, 2020 | 06:53 p.m.

    Great point Marjorie... Our alliance is actually in the middle of a process working with our Evaluation Team to finalize our project's Key Performance Indicators (or specific summative outcomes) and subsequent leading indicators that will help us measure progress toward those KPIs. Within our Alliance, IChange is one of three change initiatives (the other two being National Change and Regional Change) each pursuing mutually reinforcing activities to develop inclusive and diverse STEM Faculty. So our KPI and leading indicators process is really important to help us operationalize measures that are shared consistently across our alliance and that can ultimately measure our progress within and across the three change initiatives.

    As if that isn't complicated enough, we are also working within NSF's National Hub to consider where our outcomes of success might map across or connect to the other funded alliances to constitute shared measures within the INCLUDES portfolio. It's a massive undertaking but we are convinced it is important to our success!

     
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  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 6, 2020 | 09:32 a.m.

    ***New COVID-19 Resources from Aspire to Support Institutions & Faculty***

    The NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance, co-led by APLU and University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a collaborative effort with an array of groups and universities working to diversify STEM faculty and ensure all STEM faculty use inclusive teaching practices. Active members of Aspire began sharing resources to cope with the COVID-19 crises in early March. As a result, Aspire maintains resources on the following topics: 

    Supporting Faculty During and After Covid-19: Don't Let Go of Equity
    Developed by Aspire's Research Team Co-Leads, this resource supports institutional leaders as they aim to support their faculty during and after the COVID-19 crisis. The report highlights institutional responses to faculty concerns, outlines distinct challenges to supporting faculty equitably, and provides thoughtful suggestions with a focus on equitable practices. Supporting Faculty During and After Covid-19: Don't Let Go of Equity is available at https://bit.ly/COVIDFacSupp.

     
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    Patti Curtis
    Jennifer Carinci
    Monica VanDieren
    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:42 a.m.

    Another team in our alliance, our National Change Initiative, is also offering a mini-course about transitioning summer courses to online environments, centering inclusion.

     

    Description: Join the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance's National Change Team for our new mini-course designed to walk instructors through the process of designing an online course that is effective, equitable and inclusive. It will focus on developing both synchronous and asynchronous formats and will include both types of sessions. The course will address the basics of online and inclusive pedagogy and over the three weeks, participants will design their own online course materials.       Sessions:

    Synchronous sessions will be held from: 1:00-2:30 pm PT / 2:00-3:30 pm MT / 3:00-4:30 pm CT / 4:00-5:30 pm ET (United States time zones) on the following dates:

    • Workshop #1 - Tuesday, May 12th
    • Workshop #2 - Thursday, May 14th
    • Workshop #3 - ASYNCHRONOUS - week of May 18th
    • Workshop #4 - Tuesday, May 26th
    • Workshop #5 - Thursday, May 28th

     Learning Outcomes:

    As a result of participating in this mini-course, participants will be able to:

    • Describe key principles of effective online pedagogy
    • Apply the process of backward design to an online teaching and learning environment;
    • Experience strategies and approaches to promoting inclusion and equity in the online setting
    • Navigate online tools such as asynchronous course management systems (e.g., Canvas, Moodle) as well as synchronous meeting tools (e.g., Blackboard Collaborate Ultra); and
    • Create their own materials for an upcoming online course.
    Please direct any questions to Shannon Patton at shannon.patton@wisc.edu. Thanks!
     
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    Monica VanDieren
    Travis York
  • Icon for: Monica VanDieren

    Monica VanDieren

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 6, 2020 | 06:55 p.m.

    this is great!  Thank you for sharing this opportunity.  I will definitely check it out.  

     
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    Travis York
    Jessica Bennett
  • Icon for: Joanne Stewart

    Joanne Stewart

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 6, 2020 | 11:06 a.m.

    Thank you for your great work and for all of these incredibly helpful resources. I'm curious if the Institutional Change Network has worked with many smaller colleges, and whether you've observed any unique challenges based on program size.

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:39 a.m.

    Hi Joanne!

    Right now, our members are all research universities - we've prioritized this group of institutions since they educate so many STEM students, and employ so many STEM faculty. We're hoping to magnify our system-wide impact through this strategy.

    However, we've been iterating the self-assessment tools within our network to try to ensure they are institution-type neutral. We have not yet released these updated assessments outside the network, but hope to soon after gathering feedback from 2-year colleges and some other smaller enrollment institutions.

    We believe the core issues adhere across many institutional types, even while recognizing that the emphasis placed on certain kinds of faculty activities (teaching, research, service) may vary depending on size, mission, and control (public/private).

    Even among our research universities, there is variation in size and even level of emphasis placed on undergraduate education as core priorities. Because our process is context-specific (that of each institution), there is a lot of opportunity for participating institutions to tailor their change efforts to the specific needs and priorities of their institutions. In fact, we think it's essential for change leaders to align and integrate their efforts with their cabinet and board's priorities where possible to enhance buy-in and sustainability.

     
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    Travis York
  • May 6, 2020 | 03:31 p.m.

    Great video and great work! My institution (public, R1, land-grant) has announced a diversity hiring initiative where the university is providing funds for hiring of under-represented groups for tenure track faculty positions. Can you comment on the success of such initiatives?

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 03:43 p.m.

    Hi Christopher!

    That's great to hear.  Central funding for targeted hires can be a great catalyst for a) increasing baseline demographic numbers, b) providing examples and experience to current faculty of high caliber URG candidates, and c) to help expand departments. 

    There are some cautions with these programs as well. Often, these become the only lines supporting the hiring of diverse candidates, which then creates a dependency on this additional funding. And, in the worst case, creates a two-track/caste system among faculty, where "diversity hires" are perceived as less-qualified/valuable than those who are funded out of department budgets.

    We'd recommend a side by side approach that engages in a cultural practice intervention that focuses on helping departments expand their definition and evaluation of excellence to value a wider variety of contributions to the institution while supporting (with such funds) departments willing to experiment with these new definitions. This helps lessen the perceived risk of trying a new approach to hiring, but has the possibility of transforming practice for all hiring activities - not just those supported by additional funding. With faculty lines so difficult to come by in many places, some department and college leaders are hesitant to "experiment" in the search process.

    Of course, each public institution's state context may also define the parameters of how such a program can be implemented, depending on hiring laws for state employees.

     
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    Travis York
  • May 7, 2020 | 10:19 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing so many useful resources! Kudos on your work.

     
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  • Icon for: Jameela Jafri

    Jameela Jafri

    Facilitator
    May 8, 2020 | 09:24 a.m.

    This is incredibly important work. I am curious how the change teams from the universities and colleges are designed and structured. Based on the project's experience, who should be at the table to discuss institutional change? Can you also share how data informs the institutional change process. Related to this, what kinds of promising practices at the organizational level might apply to a smaller context (e.g. at the department level)? 

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Jessica Bennett

    Jessica Bennett

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 09:39 a.m.

    Hi Jameela-

    We enourage each campus to develop a change team that involves institutional leaders (leaders from the provost's office and chief diversity officer), STEM deans, department chairs, and faculty, as well as representatives from an Institutional Research office, faculty union and/or senate, human resources, as well as regular consultation with the university counsel.

    In addition to thinking about the roles people hold, we also encourage the campuses to think about the diversity represented among the team members - trying to strike a balance between elevating URG voices on the team, while also not placing the full burden of this work on faculty and leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. We encourage the teams to engage in extensive outreach - including collecting input and feedback at every state (self-assessment, action development, action implementation) with a particular focus on gathering feedback from URG faculty

    Once the teams have collected their data through self-assessment, they engage as a group in a period of meaning-making. A major "change trap" is when leaders jump from identifying a problem to selecting an intervention or program to address it - without taking the time to understand why this issue is occurring, and what their specific institutional context might need to address it. For example, an institution may a tenure-clock stop policy, but learn, through the self-assessment, that only some departments encourage faculty to use it. Or, only women take advantage, then creating a pattern that affects evaluations of productivity and excellence during the tenure review process. Data should be used to tell institutions where to dig deeper!

    I am hesitant to suggest specific promising practices here. Each practice needs to be designed within the context of the institution or department implementing, with additional deep consideration for equity and culture implications.

     

     
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  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 8, 2020 | 09:55 a.m.

    Hello Jameela,

    Great question regarding the composition of Campus IChange Teams!  When an institution joins the IChange Network, one of the first things we do is work with them to construct their team.  Provosts at each of our institutions first appoint a Lead or Co-Leads (often an Associate Provost for Faculty Development, Chief Diversity Officer, and sometimes the Provost chooses to serve in this role themselves). It's important to consider team members who may hold formal and informal leadership roles to support the work. This includes key representatives from key stakeholder groups like Institutional Research, Faculty Senate or Union, Diversity Officers, Centers for Teaching & Learning, and Academic Affairs. Additionally, getting representation across a variety of institutional perspectives including URG STEM Faculty (Tenured and Pre-Tenure), Department Chairs, Deans, and any DEI programs like ADVANCE or AGEP.

    As for data to inform the change process - it is essential.  As we shared above, our publicly available Guidebook includes specific information on how institutions can conduct our institutional self-assessment to understand their strengths and opportunities for evolution. This data is essential to develop a successful action plan.

    Finally, as far as promising practices - in March we released a really exciting report that includes results from our Survey To Expand & Maximize Opportunities in the Professoriate (STEM-OP) which not only explored evidence-based strategies to broaden participation in postsecondary STEM pathways but also overlayed these strategies onto a comprehensive STEM Pathways interactive map. It's available below and on our website!

    Strengthening the Pathways to Faculty Careers in STEM: Recommendations for Systemic Change to Support Underrepresented Groups
    This report synthesizes the work of the APLU INCLUDES STEM Pathways Taskforce and the Technical Advisory Committee to document how the pathways to faculty careers in STEM can be better strengthened and understood to enhance the diversity of the STEM professoriate. Making change is difficult because a) we have not reckoned with the complexity of the pathways to the STEM professoriate, including how we recruit, hire, and retain diverse STEM faculty; b) we have not created enough programs and interventions that address the roots of bias; and, c) our efforts towards change are not systemic.  The complexities of these pathways have also been captured in an interactive map. [https://www.aplu.org/library/strengthening-pathways-to-faculty-careers-in-stem-recommendations-for-systemic-change-to-support-underrepresented-groups/file]

     
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  • Icon for: Jameela Jafri

    Jameela Jafri

    Facilitator
    May 8, 2020 | 09:55 a.m.

    Hi Jessica, 

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your note about the "change trap" is well-taken. I led an INCLUDES project on using systems thinking to broaden participation. In our problem-structuring method sessions, it was important to guide community members in structuring and bounding the problem before jumping into systemic interventions. I also agree with your point that the burden of this work cannot be on faculty and leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. 

     
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  • Icon for: Cara Shopa

    Cara Shopa

    Indige-FEWSS Program Coordinator
    May 8, 2020 | 08:08 p.m.

    I'm so excited to share these resources and the ASPIRE 'pathway' (if you will) with my team, as we are actively agitating for greater Native American representation among our faculty. Thank you for your efforts and inspiring work! 

     
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    Travis York
  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 11, 2020 | 10:56 a.m.

    That's awesome to hear Cara!  We hope that these resources might support you and your teams' work; especially as you seek to increase your number of Native American and Indigenous Faculty!  

    Not featured in our video here (on our Institutional Change Initiative), but our Regional Change Initiative has begun exploring a collaborative with TCUs.  Currently, we have regional collaboratives between 2- and 4-year institutions in four areas: Iowa, Southern California, and two in Texas (one in the Arlington region and the other in the El Paso region).  We'd love to connect about potential partnerships with more Tribal Colleges and Universities!

     
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  • Icon for: Suzanna Rose

    Suzanna Rose

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 10, 2020 | 04:48 p.m.

     Thanks for a great video! Here at FIU, we are glad to be part of the Aspire Cohort 2. The comments about how long it takes for institutional change are so true. We have been working for ten years on this with our two ADVANCE grants and it is slow going. Our concern now in the COVID era with the economic downturn, is that hiring will slow down. We know from experience here (the 2008 recession) that when there is not much faculty hiring, departments get even more conservative in terms of their hiring. The "default" unfortunately is less diversity. Hopefully our current emphasis on improving departmental climate using interactive workshops and theater will keep us moving forward. We appreciate the support of Aspire and the APLU especially in these uncertain times! 

     
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  • Icon for: Travis York

    Travis York

    Lead Presenter
    Assistant Vice President, Academic & Student Affairs
    May 11, 2020 | 11:04 a.m.

    Suzanna, you have hit the nail on the head!  We've been trying to track hiring "pauses" and "freezes" and are deeply concerned about the medium- and long-term impact that COVID-19 is and will have on all Faculty and especially URG Faculty.  

    As we have been working with our network members we have been looking to see what new opportunities have arisen based upon the current global pandemic.  Interestingly, we see two big opportunities:

    1. This is a unique time for institutions to focus on developing inclusive faculty practices among all of their faculty to support students, especially as inequalities are even more visible and stark; and

    2. There is an opportunity for institutions to critically examine and evolve faculty recruitment, hiring, and onboarding policies and practices during hiring freezes. 

    Finally, our research team recently released a guide to help administrators involved in faculty policies consider ways to increase the retention of URG faculty during and after COVID-19... it's publicly available here: https://bit.ly/COVIDFacSupp 

     
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