Focus: Integrate critical frameworks and histories into STEM education research and bring in perspectives, expertise, and experiences from marginalized communities in STEM.

Description: The purpose of this Working Group is to excavate, document, and examine the diversity of constructs that undergird efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in foundational STEM courses. This group will study how concepts including (but not limited to) “diversity,” “equity,” “inclusion,” “intersectionality,” and “justice” are defined and operationalized in policy, practice, and research. The projects in this Working Group will use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to map and examine theoretical and experiential definitions of different constructs related to equity in the classroom and/or in research—and how they may vary by discipline and stakeholder. Doing so, this group will provide other instructors and researchers with accessible frameworks and guidance for how to think through and use more nuanced and dynamic understandings of equity, diversity, and inclusion and related constructs in their work.




Nikeetha Farfan D’Souza




Natasha Turman


Key Projects

Project Leads

  • Sara Brownell
  • W. Carson Byrd 
  • Susan J. Cheng
  • J. W. Hammond

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to systematically survey existing scholarship on “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” (and related constructs) in STEM education scholarship, documenting the heterogeneous ways these terms are defined and used. Data collected from this project through literature reviews and content analyses may also be used to develop a publicly accessible database with metadata that allow stakeholders to search for resources they might use at their local sites to inform teaching and research. 

Project Leads

  • Nita Tarchinski
  • Carson Byrd

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to track continuities and discontinuities between working definitions of “equity” and “inclusion,” and how they may vary by stakeholder. This project will draw on and analyze data from the SEISMIC Summer Meeting Presurvey, develop a construct-related survey to administer at SEISMIC institutions, and collect and analyze qualitative interview/focus group data on how different stakeholders think through issues of diversity and inclusion (and related constructs) in their local contexts.

Field Guide/Interview Protocol: 

This field guide consists of a standard interview protocol to be followed when conducting interviews with university students. The field guide details the introductory statements about the research objectives of this SEISMIC project, the structure and order of interview questions, and a basic outline of a “script” for interviewers to follow when speaking with interviewees. This guide also includes references to literature that illustrated similar studies that examined individual perspectives in education or workplace settings through qualitative interviews. 

Analysis Guide: 

This analysis guide consists of an outline on how to use affinity mapping and code transcripts of interviews after all interviews have been completed. It also includes specific examples of how interviews with students at the University of Michigan were coded and analyzed. This guide further includes references to the literature that the Student Perspectives Group used to better the understanding of affinity mapping.


July - 

  • Bring together a research team with some qualitative research experience. 
  • Advertise student research opportunity to students across SEISMIC institutions.

August -

  • Hire student researchers. Work with HR. (See “Tips & Tricks for Student Researchers” below.) 

September - 

  • Interview recruitment. Set up incentives.

October - 

  • Schedule and conduct interviews

November - 

  • Transcribe interviews

December/January/February - 

  • Affinity mapping/coding interviews. 

March/April - 

  • Summarize findings

June - 

  • Present at 2022 SEISMIC Summer Meeting

Tips & Tricks for Student Researchers:

Recruiting Student Researchers: 

  • Reaching out to faculty across SEISMIC Institutions in all departments can allow for professors to forward the opportunity to their class rosters as well as specific students that would be interested in such an opportunity.
  • For many second or third year students, this may be their first research opportunity and therefore may be a newer experience for them! It is important to reach out to students first and encourage them to email whenever they have questions both throughout the hiring process and during their involvement in the project. 


  • Hiring procedures at different institutions vary greatly. It is important to allow up to 3 weeks for HR and payroll to be set up in advance, so that student researchers can join the team as efficiently as possible. 
      • For example, if the project aims to bring on student researchers by the beginning of August, then interviews + hiring procedures + HR set up should begin about a month prior. 
    • Contact information for the right individuals at HR - make sure to directly introduce/connect students to the right people through an initial email as soon as possible. 

Training for Interviews: 

  • Code of conduct and ethics training procedures are required for student researchers to be qualified to sit in on interviews. 
      • CITI Training (link) is one of the widely certified platforms. Make sure to look into what training certifications different universities require. 
        • NOTE: Differs for each university! Students likely would not be aware what training their institution allows them to do, so it’s important to have that information researched beforehand so as not to delay the process. 

Project Leads

Project Description

The purpose of this project is to compare the ways that constructs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion are defined and used in and across disciplines outside of STEM education. A comparison of principles from non-STEM disciplines—such as gender studies, disability studies, critical race theory, decolonial theory, etc—will be used to inform the development of a SEISMIC framework for advancing STEM courses and higher education toward social justice. This work will also be used to develop materials for introducing STEM educators to critical frameworks and how these frameworks might be adapted to local contexts so that STEM education can advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in higher education.

Project Leads

Project Description

This project is focused on developing an inventory that identifies and catalogues the different resources, programs, projects, and offices related to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at SEISMIC institutions. A comparison of university resources and the outcomes of these resources can be done to identify the kinds of resources, or characteristics of resources, are particularly effective at improving course and campus climate.

Project Leads

Project Description

The SOAR project aims to develop short, engaging and accessible reading resources that support the practice of educational research and classroom teaching for equity & inclusion in undergraduate STEM education. Using design-based research methodology, we are creating short documents, called ‘Practice Primers’ that are quick to read, provide an introduction and guide the reader on research methods or teaching strategies of interest, with the goal of supporting engagement in STEM education research methods and teaching. We've designed these primers as professional development resources for STEM education researchers, teaching faculty, and anyone else interested in STEM education and research. Instead of focusing on curriculum or content, these primers focus on how to create and teach content in an equitable and inclusive way. Primers can be read as needed or in sequence for a scaffolded learning effect.


Additional Resources

Community Highlights