Talking about SEISMIC in your proposal

When writing a proposal and including information about SEISMIC, it is important to make sure that SEISMIC-specific content remains accurate to the overall mission, goals, and values of SEISMIC. 

In an effort to make the process easier, this page outlines the various ways to talk about SEISMIC in one’s proposal. 

This page contains boilerplate language for SEISMIC-based proposals. If you wish to include more information and would appreciate further feedback and review, please contact 

The text below can be copied and pasted, but please make sure to cite the SEISMIC website. Any other information obtained from the SEISMIC website should also be cited. 

In addition, the information below serves as a foundation for SEISMIC-based proposals, but it is not fully comprehensive. SEISMIC Central hopes that participants and collaborators can use this page as a launching pad. 







Focusing on equity and inclusion as metrics of success, SEISMIC accelerates and enhances efforts to improve large foundational STEM courses across a collaboration of institutions enrolling more than 60,000 new students per year.


To propel higher education into the next generation of introductory STEM, SEISMIC will set a new national standard for assessing the quality of foundational STEM courses that promotes courses that are inclusive introductions to STEM disciplines and that embody equitable classroom practices.


Building equitable and inclusive campuses must begin with admitting that our universities and fields need to change. SEISMIC’s work is guided by the following values:


  1. Antiracism We condemn white supremacy and call for public accountability, justice, and change to reform our undergraduate classes and institutions of higher education. We commit to taking action to promote antiracism in policy, representation, research, teaching, and mentorship on our campuses.
  2. Community ValueWe affirm that all students enter our institutions and introductory courses with resources and funds of knowledge. We believe everyone in our institutions—students, staff, faculty—has valuable contributions to make to our work.
  3. Commitment to CollaborationWe commit to support, encourage, and enable the successes of our SEISMIC community through collaboration and professional development opportunities.

SEISMIC Specifics  

Additional description of specific SEISMIC organizational structures:

The Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) collaboration is an extended, multi-institutional, multidisciplinary effort to reform STEM education by focusing on equity and inclusion as metrics of success. The central objective of this collaboration is research into and development of equitable, inclusive STEM foundational courses. Modeled on large science projects like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, SEISMIC draws in participants by providing them with unprecedented opportunities; enabling everyone to do things together they could never do alone. SEISMIC works across the range of STEM disciplines and provides an opportunity to bridge the divides among education research, instructional practice, and student support. Participants connect through parallel data analysis, coordinated experiments, a continuous exchange of speakers, and extended annual meetings. Parallel analyses focus on studies of equity and inclusion, student success, and STEM persistence across all institutions. Coordinated experimentation takes place in multiple disciplines across multiple campuses, sometimes supported by a shared information technology infrastructure designed to support education at scale. By focusing on equity and inclusion, we harness a higher level of collective passion from the students, faculty, staff, and administrators who participate. We also help to define a new standard for STEM reform projects: a class cannot be successful unless it is equitable and inclusive.

SEISMIC draws together a close, multifaceted collaboration of over 100 faculty, students, and staff in the STEM reform communities from 10 large, public research universities enrolling more than 60,000 new students per year. Each institution signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SEISMIC, confirming their ability and willingness to access and openly analyze the appropriate data for measuring equity and inclusion in introductory STEM courses. They have also each committed to hosting six or more speakers from across the collaboration each year and sending at least four participants to the annual meetings each year, thus accelerating and enhancing our efforts to improve introductory STEM courses.

-Essential data for SEISMIC come from Student Information Systems (SIS) present on all campuses. SIS data include admissions, demographic, and transcript level data about each student. During the course of the collaboration, we will explore analysis of data from additional sources, including learning management systems, digitally mediated educational activities, student surveys, and various forms of classroom observation. SEISMIC uses access to and analysis of institutional data as a new launching point for our multi‐institutional, multi‐ disciplinary STEM education research and practice collaboration. This collaboration supports participating institutions in their efforts to gather their own local data and put it to work in world class ways. In this way, we ensure that the evidence being used to motivate change is local, and hence clearly relevant in context. At this stage, SEISMIC does not share institutional data between institutions. Each institutional team is responsible for the security of their data. SEISMIC provides structure for sharing code to execute parallel analyses and only brings people in who have already agreed to this level of collaboration.

-Tools to enable coordinated research while protecting data security and privacy have advanced substantially in the last few years. These include data modification techniques like differential privacy and synthetic data, which make it possible to provide public access to the information present in a data set without releasing the actual data, as well as methods for distributed analysis, like data virtualization, which make it possible to provide access to data without actually sharing it. On the social side, the use of student information system data for learning analytics purposes has spread rapidly across higher education in recent years. Existing multi‐institution education reform projects like the Bayview Alliance and the University Innovation Alliance have helped set new standards in this regard. Corporations like Civitas Learning offer analytic services supporting student success to dozens of universities. This expansion has shifted the consensus about administrative openness with information about student success from something which seemed risky in 2013 to something which seems expected today. Advances like these should make the data access and openness much easier for us in the period from 2018 - 2023. 

-Funding & Structure

The initial funding for this collaboration supports the running of the collaboration itself. It allowed us to form the teams, receive commitments from each institution to provide data access to their own institutional members, and provide organizational support to the administration and working teams. Participating institutions are able to use SEISMIC as a tool for launching, supporting, and enhancing existing local efforts to reform STEM classes.

Collaborating institutions receive substantial support from the SEISMIC project, including the organizational efforts of the SEISMIC Director and Project Manager, significant financial support for participation in the annual collaboration meetings, and funding to support the participation of local members in the collaboration. Most importantly, participating institutions can take advantage of the research opportunity SEISMIC creates. Just as access to the Sloan Foundation 2.5 meter telescope provides a substantial, externally fundable research advantage to astrophysicists, participation in the SEISMIC collaboration provides a substantial, externally fundable, research advantage to education researchers and practitioners at participating institutions. 


- Dissemination

Each annual collaboration meeting provides opportunities for institutions and project teams to present their work, explore collective results, and pitch their projects to new participants. The speaker exchange program is another mechanism for sharing individual and project work. 

Research findings and recommendations for practice are disseminated primarily through existing channels of scholarly communication. This includes the peer reviewed scholarly literature, especially in journals of scientific societies like Science, of discipline‐based education research like Physical Review Special Topics: Physics Education Research and CBE -- Life Sciences Education, and of more general education research like AERA Open and the Journal of Learning Analytics. Because our aim is to support institutional change, communication within the literature of organizational change is important, too. This can be done through journals like Change and at conferences of organizations like Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

We also expect this collaboration to be well represented in less formal forms of publication and outreach. This includes higher education news media like The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and The EDUCAUSE Review. It is now possible to significantly enhance a project’s reach using direct electronic communication, news media, and social media as well, both to draw together a dispersed collaboration and to share what is being learned with our various publics. This is especially important for SEISMIC, because even the campus communities of our partner institutions include hundreds of thousands of individual students, faculty, and staff. Reaching them all will require the use of many approaches.

Finally, SEISMIC takes place within a larger landscape of regional STEM reform efforts including the AAU STEM Initiative, the AAC&U Transforming STEM Education, the APLU Network of STEM Education Centers, the Bayview Alliance, and more general student success initiatives like the University Innovation Alliance. The SEISMIC Collaboration Council works to connect us appropriately with all of these efforts, sending collaboration representatives to meetings of these groups and inviting speakers from them to both our annual collaboration meetings and our speaker exchange program. 


Additional Information 



Central Staff: Project Director (Tim McKay), Project Manager (Nita Tarchinski), Program Assistants (undergraduate students and post-bacs)

Leadership: Collaboration Council (CoCo) members, Working Group co-chairs, Advisory Council, project leads

STEM Courses: See SEISMIC General Courses List at the bottom of our Overview page



Institution Info


Lead Institution: University of Michigan

Participating Institutions: Arizona State University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, University of California Davis, University of California Irvine, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and University of Pittsburgh

Characteristics of Participating Institutions: Large, public, R1. Some are Hispanic-Serving. See 2020-2021 Annual Report

New Institutional Members: SEISMIC is currently accepting applications for new member institutions. To learn more about joining SEISMIC as an institution, click here.

Working Groups & Theme


Working Groups and Projects: Four Working Groups: Measurement, Experiments, Implementing Change, and Constructs. See Working Group pages for info on projects.

The Experiments Working Group has Research Coordinators to support the implementation of classroom innovations.

The Measurement Working Group ran a summer Fellowship for one year to support graduate student researchers.

Theme: Policies, Practices, and Assessments for Change – What are the best data-driven policies, practices, and assessment strategies to promote STEM classroom equity, and how can departments incorporate these strategies across their introductory courses? We have organized several activities to connect SEISMIC across Working Groups through this theme, including SEISMIC Scholars and the SEISMIC Podcast.

Speaker Events Bureau


Speaker Exchange: Each SEISMIC institution has committed to hosting 6 or more speakers each year on topics related to SEISMIC. 

Speaker Events Bureau: During our 2020 SEISMIC Summer Meeting, we heard from participants about the need for more coordination across our many speaker events, so we established the SEISMIC Speaker Events Bureau (SEB). This Bureau makes sure the collaboration overall stays informed on upcoming SEISMIC talks, as well as learns of opportunities for SEISMIC members to share their work both in and beyond the SEISMIC network. This Bureau organized the SEISMIC Conversations series.



Annual Meetings


We use our Annual Collaboration Meetings to build community across SEISMIC and advance the efforts of the Working Groups. Aligned with the cycle of the academic year, these Annual Meetings take place in the summer and provide an important structure for collaboration activities. Working Groups and institutional teams plan their work with these meetings as deadlines for significant stages in their work. Active participants in SEISMIC are encouraged to attend these meetings.

Task Force


In Fall of 2021 we established a SEISMIC Task Force to examine existing collaboration structures and recommend new or revised ones. Details on the outcomes of the Task Force are here.

History & Finances


Seeds of SEISMIC: Read this blog post for information on how SEISMIC began and its original mission and goals.

Seed funding from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: $1,061,264

Extension funding from Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: $250,000

We have received additional grants for specific projects within SEISMIC. See our Theme Landing Page for more info.




Participants Database: Password-protected page on the SEISMIC website to look up members. (Password: SEISMIC2020).

External Participants: If you are not affiliated with one of our SEISMIC institutions, you must apply to be an External Participant to be able to participate in SEISMIC. An External Participant is any person from a non-SEISMIC institution that participates in the SEISMIC collaboration. This person does not have any prior commitments to SEISMIC. External Participants must join SEISMIC through a key project or additional project. The Collaboration Council (CoCo) will review External Participants each year to confirm they are still valuable to the collaboration. Every External Participant must have a sponsor from an existing SEISMIC institution. More info.

External Connections


SABER: Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research 

ASCN: Accelerating Systemic Change Network

NCID: National Center for Institutional Diversity 

E&ER: Ethnography and Evaluation Research