Creating a Unified Community of Support: Increasing Success for Underrepresented Students in STEM

Wednesday, March 28th

9:30 am PT | 10:30 am MT | 11:30 am CT | 12:30 pm ET

Presenter: Elizabeth Holcombe, Research Assistant at Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California

Registration deadline: Monday, March 26th


This webinar discusses the findings from a 3-year study of the California State University (CSU) STEM Collaboratives project, funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The project selected 8 CSU campuses to rethink the ways in which they support first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority students in STEM as they transition to college and experience their first year. Each participating campus implemented three integrated high-impact practices (HIPs) through collaboration among faculty and student affairs. The three HIPs included a summer experience, a first-year seminar or first-year experience, and redesigned introductory STEM courses. The goal of these programs was to create a seamless, connected, and integrated experience for students, with curricular and co-curricular support as well as socioemotional support. This project is an example of a systemic approach to STEM student support, targeting both academic and student affairs and working across multiple levels of both individual organizations and university systems to effect change. The major takeaways from this project have important implications for practitioners who are interested in experimenting with this new way of organizing transitions to college for underrepresented students in STEM. Lessons learned that we will cover in the webinar include:

  • Knowledge necessary to support underrepresented students in STEM
  • Value of the project for students and broader campus communities
  • Facilitators and challenges to collaboration and implementation


This webinar is designed for faculty, institutional-level change leaders (program managers, deans, provosts, vice presidents for student affairs, and presidents), and national change leaders who are interested in learning about and creating integrated environments of support for underrepresented students in STEM.


During the webinar, participants will:

  • Review key research findings from the CSU STEM Collaboratives project
  • Develop an understanding of several ways to integrate curricular and co-curricular supports for underrepresented students in STEM
  • Recognize key challenges and facilitators to collaborating across departments and divisions in order to implement integrated support programs
  • Discuss ways to collaborate and integrate student supports on their own campuses


Registration deadline: Monday, March 26th

Time - 9:30 am PT | 10:30 am MT | 11:30 am CT | 12:30 pm ET
- 60 minutes
Format - Online web presentation via Zoom web meeting software with questions and discussion. Go to the webinar technology page for more information on using Zoom. Detailed instructions for joining the webinar will be emailed to registered participants one day prior to the webinar.
Preparation - There is no advance preparation required for this webinar.

Please email Mitchell Awalt ( if you have any technical questions about this event.


Elizabeth Holcombe
University of Southern California
Elizabeth Holcombe is a Provost's Fellow and doctoral research assistant with the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California. Her current research interests include undergraduate teaching and learning; assessment; faculty issues; student success in STEM; and leadership in higher education. Before beginning her doctoral work, Holcombe held a variety of roles in student affairs. These included working with a college access partnership, managing an academic advising and mentoring program, and leading a co- and extra-curricular assessment initiative. Prior to her career in higher education, Holcombe was an elementary school teacher with Teach for America in Atlanta. She holds a BA in Political Science and Spanish from Vanderbilt University and an MA in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.


1) Welcome and introductory marks - Mitchell Awalt, SERC

2) Webinar Presentation - Elizabeth Holcombe, University of Southern California

5) Q&A

6) Webinar Evaluation

Resources and References

After the event, a recording of the webinar and references will be posted here.

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