Initial Publication Date: June 17, 2016

About ASCN


The Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN) serves as an open, interdisciplinary, professional network and intellectual home for individuals and groups in a broad range of disciplines who are engaged in creating and/or studying change in higher education. The ultimate vision of ASCN is that students in every institutional setting experience teaching that aligns with what we know about how people learn, and that draws in and supports all students. ASCN strives to integrate what is known and soon to be discovered about organizing, leading, and evaluating change efforts to maximize network members' individual and collective efforts.

ASCN Overview document: ASCN Overview (Acrobat (PDF) 45kB Sep29 16)

ASCN's Mission and Goals »

Overarching Principles

ASCN is designed around three overarching principles. These principles represent the core values that guide all network activities.

  1. Systems thinking. Higher education is a complex system. Creating successful change requires understanding and strategic work at multiple parts of the system. Important system levels include: individual, department, institution, and extra-institution. Important considerations include: connections between subsystems, feedback loops, cultural differences, and alignment of action. Thus, thinking about change from a systems perspective requires a diversity of perspectives.
  2. Breadth of perspective. Complex problems can only be solved through the collaborative work of stakeholders with a broad diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and disciplinary perspectives. Specifically, the types of diversity we believe are most important to the success of this network are: individual members' racial/ethnic backgrounds, gender, career stage, position, disciplinary background and research expertise, and the types of institutions and other organizations represented.
  3. Serving all students. National-level strategies to improve undergraduate STEM education need to purposefully include all types of institutions serving all students. While the ASCN focuses on institutional-level change rather than individual programs of direct interventions with students, we embrace this principle by engaging the spectrum of institutions that serve different populations of students. This includes minority-serving institutions, community colleges, urban institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, as well as research institutions.

What ASCN Can Do

  1. Connect people and groups: ASCN connects and provides an intellectual home for researchers and change agents working on change in higher education. ASCN connects and coordinates with other national efforts that promote change in higher education.
  2. Curate resources: ASCN curates and creates resources (broadly defined) that are useful for supporting the work of researchers and change agents.
  3. Endorse ideas and resources: ASCN endorses and advocates for ideas and/or materials that facilitate change in higher education.

Structure and Roles

Network Members: Members can interact with the network in one of three ways. Anyone interested can join the network, regardless of interest in a particular working group. Member profiles »

  1. Receiver of information: Read ASCN newsletters (all available here!), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, orX/Twitter), and website for resources/blog posts; join events as they are relevant to your work; disseminate resources and events to colleagues. Time commitment depends on interest.
  2. Co-contributor: Everything described in receiver of information and join working groups to discuss new ideas in the field and help create resources and events for other change agents. May also contribute external resources or add announcements to the ASCN website. Time commitment depends on interest, typically 4-6 hours per semester.
  3. Working Group Leader: Lead working groups, sub-committees, and/or grant proposals to ensure the quality and consistency of ASCN outputs. Time commitment depends on community needs, typically ~10 hours per semester. 

Working Groups: Each working group (organized around key topics in change), develops projects that members can choose to be involved in. Working groups »

Steering Committee: Provide strategic guidance and support for the intellectual work of the community. Steering committee members »

Network Hub: Support the work of the ASCN by developing and maintaining structures, securing funding, setting initial agendas for the network, recruiting network members, and supporting working groups. ASCN Hub and Staff »

Network Funding

ASCN has received funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the National Science Foundation . In-kind support has also been provided by the Sloan Foundation and HHMI.

If you would like to stay informed as our project develops, please join the network.