My Interest in ASCN: Ann Austin

National Science Foundation
Division of Undergraduate Education
Program Director

and Professor, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University

Prior Organizational Change Work

I am a co-founder and co-leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), which is essentially an organizational change network. CIRTL has created a 46-institution network to prepare doctoral students to be excellent teachers as well as excellent researchers. The Center's work has focused on supporting institution-level change in support of new approaches to doctoral education for STEM future faculty, as well as on creating a national network to foster such change goals.

I also have been involved for 18 years (since a Fulbright year in 1998)in working with senior leaders at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa on a major and long-term institutional change effort in support of dynamic and engaging teaching and learning processes in undergraduate education. The university serves a very diverse student population and has moved over the years to approaching teaching and learning in ways that draw on evidence-based practices and on commitments to creating learning environments that serve a highly diverse student body.

How ASCN Can Contribute to my Work

My research focuses on organizational change in higher education, reform in STEM education, improving undergraduate teaching and learning processes, and faculty issues. I hope the meeting will enable me to connect with colleagues with similar interests and related questions. In my role as a Program Director in DUE at NSF, I am very interested to interact with the scholars and institutional leaders who are working on institutional-level change in undergraduate STEM education and the priorities and directions they believe to be important to address.

How I Can Contribute to ASCN

With my colleague Sandra Laursen, I have led a grant-funded project to study the organizational change strategies used to foster more inclusiveness within major universities (especially for women in STEM). This project has enabled me to learn much about a number of change interventions as well as how they can be selected and integrated in response to specific organizational contexts. My experiences as the formal external consultant and evaluator for various institutions' NSF ADVANCE grants (organizational change projects in support of fostering more inclusive campus environments) have also given me much insight into campus-level change processes and leadership. I also have been a co-founder and co-leader of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), which has enabled me to learn much about the practice and leadership of organizational change efforts. In particular, I believe I can contribute insights about the development and leadership of institutional networks, and about managing the stages of as well as challenges to change at the campus level.