Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity

Current Research

Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroSciences (BRAINS)


Funded by the National Institutes of Health, BRAINS (Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in NeuroSciences) is a national program to increase engagement and retention of academic early-career neuroscientists from underrepresented groups by reducing isolation; providing tips, tools, and skills development to prepare for tenure track success; and increasing career self-efficacy. In addition to serving as the evaluator of the BRAINS program, CERSE also works with the BRAINS leadership team to conduct and publish research.

Selected Publications

Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., . Mizumori, S. J.Y, and Yen, J. W. (2017). Peer Mentoring Circles: A strategy for thriving in science. Web blog post. BioMed Central blog. BioMed Central, 18 May 2017. Retrieved from

Yen, J. W., Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., and Mizumori, S. J.Y. (2017). The BRAINS Program: Transforming Career Development to Advance Diversity and Equity in Neuroscience. Neuron 94(3): 426-430. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.03.049

Margherio, C., Mizumori, S. J.Y., Horner-Devine, M.C., and Yen, J. W. (2017). Strengthening Access to Community Cultural Wealth through a Professional Development Program Counterspace. Presented at the 9th Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Science Careers, San Antonio, TX, March 4, 2017.

Margherio, C., Horner-Devine, M.C., Mizumori, S. J.Y., and Yen, J. W. (2016). Learning to Thrive: Building diverse scientists’ access to community and resources through the BRAINS Program. CBE—Life Sciences Education 15(3): ar49. DOI: 10.1187/cbe.16-01-0058

Mizumori, S. J.Y., Horner-Devine, M.C., Margherio, C., and Yen. J. W. (2016). BRAINS-Broadening the Representation of Academic Investigators in Neuroscience. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, November 12, 2016.



RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR)

Funded first through an NSF EAGER and now an NSF RFE grant, this collaborative research project focuses on faculty change agents who are engaged in making change on their campuses through the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) Program. NSF has thus far awarded 18 of these five-year, $2 million RED grants to engineering or computer science departments (or schools) from 2015 through 2017.

REDPAR (RED Participatory Action Research) is a collaborative project between Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and UW CERSE. The Rose-Hulman portion of our team draws upon their extensive experience in the Making Academic Change Happen (MACH) program, a faculty development initiative that supports the work of change leaders in many different contexts, to provide training and support to RED awardees and facilitate consortium-level activities. UW CERSE is qualitatively investigating the work of the RED teams, through observation of all consortium-level activities and facilitation of focus group discussions among the RED teams. From this research, we are developing tip sheets that highlight the skills required to promote change in STEM; these tip sheets serve as informative resources for faculty and administrators who wish to make significant change on their campuses.



REDPAR Shared Vision Tip Sheet

REDPAR Strategies for Building Shared Vision Hi-5 (5 minute) talk from CoNECD 2018

Selected Publications

Margherio, C.M., Doten-Snitker, K., Williams, J.M., Litzler, E., Ingram, E.L., (2018). Forming Strategic Partnerships: New Results from the Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments Participatory Action Research. 2018 American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ingram, E.L., Litzler, E., Margherio, C.L., Doten-Snitker, K., Williams, J.M. (2018). The Researcher/Practitioner Strategic Partnership: Linking Theory and Practice for Change in Engineering and Computer Science Education. 2018 American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ingram, E.L. Forin, T., Sukmaran, B. and Litzler, E. (2017). Increase your Project’s Success through Coordinated Communication:  Research and Practice. 2017 Frontiers in Education Conference.

Margherio, C., Litzler, E. & Doten-Snitker, K. (2017). Developing a Shared Vision for Change: New results from the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments Participatory Action Research. 2017 American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Columbus, OH.

Ingram, E.L., Litzler, E. Margherio, C., & Williams, J.M. (2017). Learning to Make Change by Revolutionizing Departments: Initial Team Experiences. 2017 American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Columbus, OH.

London, J., Berger, E. Margherio, C., Branstad, J. & Litzler, E. (2017). The RED Teams as Institutional Mentors:  Advice from the First Year of the “Revolution”. 2017 American Society for Engineering Education Conference, Columbus, OH.

Litzler, E. and Margherio, C. (2016). Research Results on the Process of Beginning Academic Change. 2016 WEPAN Change Leader Forum, Broomfield, CO.


Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE)

PACE logoFunded primarily by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation with a supplemental grant from The Engineering Information Foundation, the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE) was an eight year, multi-site mixed mode research and intervention project intended to identify issues that affect persistence rates among engineering undergraduates. While this grant is currently over, CERSE continues to work on manuscripts from this data. PACE is headquartered at the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity at the University of Washington and pays specific attention to the intersection of race, gender and academic experience. The PACE survey, which was designed and pre-tested to accurately measure undergraduate engineering climate (culture), was administered online in 2008 to students at all 22 PACE institutions and again in 2012 at 16 of the PACE institutions. The new 2012 survey results enable assessment of the change in climate at the PACE schools.   The survey included questions about their experiences in the classroom and the laboratory and also about their interactions with peers, professors, teaching assistants and administrators. In addition, the survey asks questions about challenges to work-life balance, academic self-confidence; future career plans and the roles students believe race, ethnicity and gender play in today’s engineering departments. Qualitative data was also collected through one-on-one interviews and focus groups with students. Schools received reports that summarized the survey results and offered benchmarking data for up to three peer institutions. Reports also integrated the quantitative and qualitative results and offered a list of recommendations to improve retention.

The goal of PACE is to identify and address university climate issues to improve retention for all undergraduate engineering students.

Selected Publications

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

Samuelson, C.C. & Litzler, E. (2016).  Community Cultural Wealth: An Assets-Based Approach to Persistence of Engineering Students of Color.  Journal of Engineering Education,105(1): 93-117.  DOI 10.1002/jee.20110

Litzler, E., Samuelson, C.C., & Lorah, J.A. (2014). Breaking it Down:  Engineering Student STEM Confidence at the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Gender. Research in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1007/s11162-014-9333-z

Young, J. & Litzler, E. (September, 2013). “Investigating the Factor Structure and Invariance of Transfer Student Adjustment to College using Confirmatory Factor Analysis.” Community College Journal of Research and Practice.

Litzler, E. & Young, J. (April, 2012) “Understanding the Risk of Attrition in Undergraduate Engineering: Results from the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering.” Journal of Engineering Education. 101(2): 319-345.

Litzler, E. (2011). “How do gender and race/ethnicity intersect to impact students’ perceptions of experiences in engineering?” The Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering and Technology, March 7, 2011.

Litzler, E. (June, 2010). “Sex Segregation in Undergraduate Engineering Majors.” Dissertation, University of Washington. ISBN: 9781124227849.

Litzler, E., Jaros, S., Metz, S., & Brainard, S.G. (2010). “Gender and Race/Ethnicity in Engineering: Preliminary Findings from the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering.” 2010 ASEE Conference: Louisville, KY.

Metz, S., Brainard, S.G. & Litzler, E. (2010). “Extending Research into Practice: Results from the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE).” 2010 ASEE Conference: Louisville, KY.

Metz, S. and Litzler, E. (2010). “Retention of Undergraduate Engineering Students: Extending Research into Practice.” A panel discussion. 2010 WEPAN/NAMEPA Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Litzler, E. (2010). “PACE Findings and Discussion.” A presentation at the PACE Workshop on Organizational Transformation, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, March 17-18, 2010.