Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity


The Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) is housed at the University of Washington Department of Sociology.  Our center focuses on conducting high quality program evaluation and research to improve equity and broaden representation in STEM fields, with a focus on higher education.   We help meet the challenges of the emerging workforce: recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and underrepresented minorities.

In 2016, we changed our name from the Center for Workforce Development to better reflect the type of work that we do and why we do it.

Why We Do What We Do

  • We believe that STEM fields should be equitable and accessible to all people, not just people from STEM’s dominant identity groups (who are often white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied, and/or male identified).
  • Significant changes must be made in order for STEM fields to be accessible, welcoming, and desirable to individuals belonging to excluded identity groups.
  • Our program evaluation and research offer evidence-based insights toward reforming systems and improving policies and practices.

What We Do & How We Do It

Integration of Research, Evaluation, & Consulting Multiple Methodologies Relationships Critical Lens
We see research and evaluation as complementary. We choose the right methods to fit each individual question, context, and population We establish and foster relationships with the people we work with because we respect the work that they do. We operate with a critical orientation. This means that issues of social justice inform our thinking and acting.

Current Highlights

Dr. Litzler Receives The WEPAN Founders Award

The prestigious WEPAN Awards honor key individuals, programs, and organizations for accomplishments that underscore WEPAN’s mission. Honorees demonstrate extraordinary service, significant achievement, model programs, and exemplary work environments that promote a culture of inclusion and the success of women in engineering.  Dr. Litzler was awarded the WEPAN Founders Award for exemplifying the spirit of the WEPAN founders through her extraordinary long-term service to the organization. This award is named for the three founders of WEPAN, Inc. – Suzanne G. Brainard, Jane Zimmer Daniels, and Susan Staffin Metz. You can read more about WEPAN and Dr. Litzler’s award at the WEPAN website.



BRAINS is Diversifying Academic Leadership in Neuroscience: National program positively impacts retention of over 150 neuroscientists from underrepresented groups

The national BRAINS Program has issued a new press release highlighting their work with seven cohorts of accomplished early-career neuroscientists belonging to underrepresented groups. Assistant CERSE Director Dr. Cara Margherio leads the evaluation and research components for the BRAINS leadership team.


Dr. Litzler appointed to Vice Chair of the American Society for Engineering Education Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the 2019-2020 Society year.

Logo for the ASEE CDEI committeeDr. Litzler will succeed the position of Chair in June 2020 and will succeed the position of Past Chair in June 2021. The charge of the committee is to identify, implement, and oversee the actions associated with ASEE’s Diversity Strategic Plan. Its goal is to ensure that there is responsibility, continuity and accountability for progress regarding ASEE and diversity activities.


Recent Journal Publications by CERSE Staff related to CERSE work:

Doten-Snitker, K., Margherio, C., Litzler, E., Williams, J., and Ingram, E. (2020). Developing a Shared Vision for Change: Moving toward Inclusive Empowerment. Research in  Higher Education

Margherio, C., Horner-Devine, M. C., Mizumori, S. J., & Yen, J. W. (2020). Connecting counterspaces and community cultural wealth in a professional development program. Race Ethnicity and Education, 1-21.

Margherio, C., Litzler, E., and Fenghali-Bostwick, C. (2020). Using a social ecological model framework for advancing the careers of women in science in academic medical centers. ADVANCE Journal 2(1).

Yen, J.W., Riskin, E.A., Margherio, C., Spyridakis, J.H., Carrigan, C.M., & Cauce, A.M. (2019). Promoting Gender Diversity in STEM Faculty through Leadership Development: From local and national leadership workshops to the online LEAD-it-Yourself! toolkit. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal.

DuBow, W., Hug, S., Serafini, B. & Litzler, E. (2018). Expanding Our Understanding of Backbone Organizations in Collective Impact Initiatives. Journal of Community Development, 49(2).

DuBow, W., & Litzler, E. (2018). The Development and Use of a Theory of Change to Align Programs and Evaluation in a Complex, National Initiative. American Journal of Evaluation.

Litzler, E. & Lorah, J.A. (2018). Degree Aspirations of Undergraduate Engineering Students at the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Gender. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 24(2): 165-193.

López, C. M., Margherio, C., Abraham, L., and Fenghali-Bostwick, C. (2018). Gender Disparities in Faculty Rank: Factors that Affect Advancement of Women Scientists at Academic Medical Centers. Social Sciences, 7(4), 62.

Yen, J.W., Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., & Mizumori, S.J. (2017). The BRAINS Program: Transforming Career Development to Advance Diversity and Equity in Neuroscience. Neuron, 94(3), 426-430.


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