Kezar Joins Commission to Examine STEM Issues

Adrianna Kezar

Adrianna Kezar, co-director of the USC Pullias Center for Higher Education (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

Adrianna Kezar of the USC Rossier School of Education has joined a cohort of higher education experts selected to serve on a National Research Council Commission for the National Academy of Sciences. The 17-member group is charged with examining barriers and opportunities in completing two- and four-year degrees in science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Kezar, co-director of the USC Pullias Center for Higher Education and professor at USC Rossier, is a recognized authority on higher education change, leadership and the professoriate. Author of How Colleges Change: Understanding, Leading and Enacting Change, she is currently leading a $600,000 National Science Foundation study of undergraduate STEM networks and how they can inform broader STEM undergraduate education reform.

She and her commission colleagues will survey research and prepare a comprehensive report to guide federal policy and programs that aim to attract and retain students to complete associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines.

Their national report will identify research about barriers and opportunities to STEM degree completion, and how these vary by race, gender, STEM discipline and sub-discipline.

It will also provide insights into how barriers and opportunities are unique for STEM majors, and how student perceptions of course requirements and career opportunities influence their decisions to enter or leave the discipline.

The commission held its first meeting in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11-12 and will conclude next June. The report is scheduled to release in 2015.

By Andrea Bennett