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

Two new journal articles published by staff members Litzler and Margherio

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).

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


American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 2018 Conference

Multiple CERSE staff will have papers at the 2018 ASEE in Salt Lake City, UT.  Here are the titles of the papers:

The Researcher/Practitioner Strategic Partnership: Linking Theory and Practice for Change in Engineering and Computer Science Education

Forming Strategic Partnerships: New Results from the Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments Participatory Action Research

The Redshirt in Engineering Consortium: Progress and Early Insights

Institutional Context and the Implementation of the “Redshirt in Engineering” Model at Six Universities

Building and Breaching Boundaries: An Intersectional Coherent Group Approach to Advancing Women Faculty in Engineering.


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.”


Dr. Litzler presented on CERSE research and evaluation to staff and faculty at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

What’s Your Impact? Evaluating Programs and Grants Lessons learned from Connect Grants and Connectivity Series (presented 4/19/2018)

Assets-based approaches for student and faculty success.  RIT Center for Advancing STEM Teaching, Learning, and Evaluation (CASTLE), 2/28/2018


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.




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