Jovonne Bickerstaff Discusses the Intention Foundry, A Forum to Advance Change in the Academy



In a new video conversation, Jovonne Bickerstaff, ACLS Senior Program Officer of Higher Education Initiatives, discusses the Intention Foundry (IF), a collaborative project convening learned society directors, emerging scholars, particularly first generation and scholars of color, and university administrators and faculty. Funded by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Intention Foundry brings these three constituencies together to accelerate equity, inclusion, and structural change in the academy.

“How do we create bridges between all of these groups that we work with in so many different ways, but that rarely have an opportunity to come together and speak with one another?” Bickerstaff explained.


The Intention Foundry is organized around the scholars’ “moonshot” ideas to advance change, which are presented in a lightning round, then workshopped throughout the convening. Bickerstaff reflected on initial learnings and feedback from the first sessions in spring 2021, which included 27 learned societies and 50 scholars.

“There were lessons that we learned at ACLS about the places we might be able to intervene, the ways that our position as a convener matters,” Bickerstaff said.

Learn more about the Intention Foundry at this link.