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. Margherio was named Virtual Visiting Scholar for the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network

Cara Margherio, Assistant Director of CERSE, has been named Virtual Visiting Scholar for the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network, a program funded through the National Science Foundation and administered by the Association for Women in Science. The Virtual Visiting Scholars program provides researchers across disciplines an opportunity to pursue meta-analysis, meta-synthesis, and big data curation on topics critical to STEM faculty equity. Cara’s project is grounded in a critical race theory framework and centers the experiences of women faculty of color in a meta-synthesis of research on mentoring for women faculty in STEM. More information on the ARC Network and the Virtual Visiting Scholars program can be found here:


Recent Journal Publications by CERSE Staff related to CERSE work:

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. 1098214018778132.

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. DOI:10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2018017998

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. DOI:10.3390/socsci7040062


Dr. Litzler and Dr. Affolter Presented a Webinar on the Basics of DEI Evaluation from the TECAID Project- Check it out on Vimeo!

Litzler, E, and Affolter, E. (2018).  Evaluating Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Change: Tips from TECAID’s Evaluators.  Webinar on June 13, 2018.  Attendees of live presentation: 108.


RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR)

Through the NSF-funded RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) project, CERSE is collaborating with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to conduct participatory action research with change agents who are engaged in making change on their campuses through the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) Program. In addition to providing RED recipients with a customized change curriculum and ongoing support for their projects, we are longitudinally tracking their processes and outcomes to better understand how change occurs within academic departments.

See the Research Page for tipsheets from this project and a five-minute “Hi-Five” talk about Strategies for Building Shared Vision presented at the 2018 CoNECD conference.


Drs. Affolter and Margherio shared CERSE Research with UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Drs. Affolter & Margherio shared CERSE’s research at the UW’s Atmospheric Sciences Department Colloquium on February 9th, 2018. Their interactive presentation was entitled: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of the Environment: Challenges and Possibilities for Change.”



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