Critical Resources Database

Choose one of the critical resource collections:

Working Group 3: Change LeadersWorking Groups 2 & 4: Costs, Benefits, and Demonstrating ImpactWorking Group 6: Aligning Faculty WorkBecome an ASCN Speaker » Submit a Resource »

Use the search or choose from a selection of topics below:



Results 1 - 10 of 280 matches

A Framework for Assessing Teaching Effectiveness (FATE)
Shawn Simonson, Boise State University
In higher education, teaching evaluation is often inadequate and inaccurate, neither improving teaching directly nor incentivizing teaching improvement. Complicating this is that effective teaching is difficult to assess and one or two subjective measures do not accurately consider all aspects of teaching and are often nebulous without established standards. COVID-19 may actually have helped by drawing more attention to this and reducing resistance to change as people became uncomfortable with student course evaluations not telling the complete teaching story that faculty and departments want told.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Faculty Evaluation
Resource Type: Blog Post

Creating new knowledge about change by combining research-based knowledge with the wisdom of practice
Kadian Callahan, Kennesaw State University; Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University
One of the core ideas behind the formation of the Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN) is to create and amplify knowledge by fostering interactions between two basic types of people who are working to improve postsecondary education: change researchers and change agents. While there is some overlap in these groups, they mostly operate independently. And, more importantly, each has access to different ideas and types of knowledge. Through knowledge creation and amplification, ASCN builds capacity within and across these two groups to more successfully enact change in undergraduate STEM education. Specifically, ASCN uses the model of a "Knowledge Creating Company." This way to think about business organizations was first published by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) who credited it for the success of Japanese companies in the 1980s and 1990s. It has since become highly influential in focusing businesses worldwide on the importance of knowledge and knowledge creation. In contrast to the Western approach to knowledge management, which views knowledge as explicit, Japanese companies place significant value on tacit knowledge.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Guiding Theories
Resource Type: Blog Post

Start somewhere: Resources on equity and inclusion for STEM and higher education
Kate White Temple University Naneh Apkarian Arizona State University Kate White (Western Michigan University), ASCN Research Director Naneh Apkarian (Western Michigan University)
These recent articles and resources are meant to serve as a starting point for learning about equity, inclusion, diversity, and justice - with a particular focus on addressing systemic anti-Black racism - within STEM and higher education. This list of resources is long, but not by any means exhaustive. As change agents and scholars, we know that effecting change requires informed action. We hope you will use these and other resources to develop concrete and informed action plans. Please use the comments to share additional resources and concrete actions being taken by you and your institution. We also invite you to join the conversation in our Equity and Inclusion Working Group. If you would like to join, please fill out the form to Join the Network and indicate that you would like to join Working Group 5 (Equity & Inclusion). On Wednesday, June 10, we join the movement to #ShutdownSTEM ( This site may be offline. ) .

Change Topics (Working Groups): Equity and Inclusion
Resource Type: Blog Post
Program Components: Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion

Communicating and Collaborating Across Disciplines
Judith Ramaley, Portland State University; Judith Ramaley
Those of us who are working on ways to attract students to the study of STEM fields must design a curriculum that prepares our students to understand and manage complex problems where scientific knowledge interacts with other ways of looking at the world. This means finding ways to work across disciplinary boundaries so that these problems can be studied in their broader social, political and environmental context. Boyd (2016, p. B4) argues that "if we really want to matter, we need to think critically about the questions we ask---and the questions we don't ask---and what influences that distinction." The questions we ask have powerful effects on how we design the curriculum, what we expect of ourselves and our students and how we work together with colleagues in our own department as well as other fields to prepare our graduates to live and work in a changing and uncertain world.

Resource Type: Blog Post
Program Components: Professional Development:Curriculum Development

What does systemic change mean to you?
Mark Connolly University of Wisconsin-Madison Mark Connolly
One of ASCN's working groups is focused on theories of change. Its role in the project is to help people engaged in change efforts understand theories and models that could profitably inform systemic change work. At this stage in our working group's development, co-leader Susan Shadle and I are trying to help our 15 members not only get acquainted with each other but also with each other's ideas about systemic change. In November, we asked the group members to answer in 1 or 2 pages this question: What does systemic change mean to you? Below is my response to that question. It is the first of several responses from members of our working group that will be posted on the ASCN blog.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Guiding Theories

Departmental Change: Starting an Initiative
Joel Corbo, University of Colorado Boulder; Courtney Ngai, Colorado State University; Gina Quan, San José State University; Sarah Wise, University of Colorado Boulder
The Departmental Action Team (DAT) Project supports departments as they make changes to their undergraduate programs through implementing DATs. This blog post is the second part of a four-part series on DATs, and describes the groundwork laid before a DAT officially forms in a department. Our first blog post describes our use of project principles. If you are interested in learning more, we are leading a free webinar (Tuesday, March 30, 12pm EST) about facilitating change using the DAT model. Register for the webinar.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders, Guiding Theories
Resource Type: Blog Post

What we wish we would have known about theories of change and change theory at the beginning
Laura Muller, The Jackson Laboratory; Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Carleton College
Six years ago when we first met, we were two individuals who identified a common challenge on our campuses – namely supporting students who arrived with varying comfort and experience using quantitative (Q) skills in STEM and social science contexts. Talking with others, we were eager to think about how we might collaborate to do better for our students. We wanted to make a change, but change theories or theories of change? We didn't know what those were! As we have learned about change strategies and change theory over the last six years, we've repeatedly come across ideas that make us think, "Wow, we wish we would have known this when we started this project!" This post is an effort to share some of what we've learned with other practitioners who might be trying to change things on their own campuses.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders, Guiding Theories
Resource Type: Blog Post

Departmental Change: Sustaining Impacts
Joel Corbo, University of Colorado Boulder; Courtney Ngai, Colorado State University; Gina Quan, San José State University; Sarah Wise, University of Colorado Boulder
The Departmental Action Team (DAT) Project supports departments as they make changes to their undergraduate programs. In previous posts, we described the principles that underlie the DAT Project, the initial stages of DAT formation, and how DATs accomplish change initiatives with the support of facilitators. In about 70% of cases, departments that host DATs continue to catalyze change after external DAT facilitation ends, and sometimes even after the DAT itself ends. In this final post, we explore several ways DATs catalyze sustained impacts.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders, Guiding Theories
Resource Type: Blog Post

Departmental Change: Engaging in a Change Initiative
Joel Corbo, University of Colorado Boulder; Courtney Ngai, Colorado State University; Gina Quan, San José State University; Sarah Wise, University of Colorado Boulder
The Departmental Action Team (DAT) Project supports departments as they make changes to their undergraduate programs. In previous posts, we described the principles that underlie the DAT Project and the initial stages of DAT formation. In this post, we'll share some of what DATs and facilitators do as they engage in a change initiative together. If you are interested in learning more, we are leading a free interactive webinar (Tuesday, March 30, 12-1:30pm EST) about facilitating change using the DAT model. Register for the webinar.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders, Guiding Theories
Resource Type: Blog Post
Program Components: Professional Development:Curriculum Development

The Great Resilience: Notes on a Discussion Series to Cultivate Resilience for STEM
Holly Kelchner, Carleton College
Higher education was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a result, many faculty, administrators, and staff quit their jobs. This Great Resignation produced upheaval at many institutions across the nation. Looking for a space to find hope and a positive outlook in the midst of instability, the Aligning Incentives with Systemic Change working group engaged in a series of discussions about resilience. During spring 2023, we looked for ways to cultivate personal and organizational stability in the face of the Great Resignation and its impacts on higher education.

Change Topics (Working Groups): Change Leaders
Resource Type: Blog Post
Program Components: Institutional Systems:Strategic Planning