What is PACE?

The Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE) is a long-term, multi-site research project looking at climate in undergraduate engineering programs with a focus on persistence and retention. PACE is currently funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The PACE mixed methods study includes qualitative research in the form of interviews and focus groups with students and quantitative research via an online climate survey (conducted in 2008 and 2012). PACE is headquartered at the Center for Workforce Development at the University of Washington.

PACE Outcomes

The PACE team and PACE schools are currently working together to implement changes in order to make engineering programs more welcoming and inclusive for undergraduate students, and thus improve the retention of students in engineering. The PACE outcomes are as follows:

The PACE climate survey was administered in 2008 resulting in data from a sample of over 10,000 engineering undergraduate students from 22 schools and again in 2012 resulting in more than 10,000 respondents from 16 schools.

The PACE survey data has been analyzed to create an overview of results for schools, reports for individual schools, and to analyze change between the 2008 and 2012 survey administrations.

The PACE schools are using these results to implement new and revised programs and initiatives that aim to improve climate and create a more inclusive environment, especially for female and ethnic minority students.

PACE interview data (leavers (n=50) and stayers (n=116) is being analyzed to help bolster quantitative findings and create more nuanced and contextualized results that can be used by PACE schools and the engineering education research community.

Focus groups were conducted and are being analyzed to help understand the state of climate and the impact of specific interventions in undergraduate engineering programs.

PACE results have been shared via more than 27 journal articles, professional presentations, conference proceedings, newsletters, and magazines.

News and Updates

Research in Higher Education recently published a PACE article entitled Breaking it Down: Engineering Student STEM Confidence at the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Gender. The article is currently available online. View Article

The PACE Workshop on Effective Interventions was held on March 19-20, 2014 and 100% of participants rated the workshop’s usefulness as good to excellent!


PACE Participants

Each of the following schools has contributed to PACE data collection efforts through at least one of the PACE projects.

Arizona State University
Boston University
California State University, Los Angeles
Clemson University
Howard University
Michigan Technological University
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New Mexico State University
North Carolina State University
The Ohio State University
The Pennsylvania State University
Purdue University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Texas A&M University
Texas Tech University
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
The University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at El Paso
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Click here to see a Google map of the 22 PACE schools!