Revolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED) Participatory Action Research

Supported by NSF collaborative research grants, the REDPAR team (MACH at Rose-Hulman and CERSE at UW) has conducted participatory action research (PAR) with change agents who are engaged in making change on their campuses through the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) Program. The PAR approach is intended to be a collaborative, self-reflective, and empowering inquiry undertaken by both researchers and participants. The RED grant recipients are disciplinary experts, but they may have not been equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that research suggests are essential for effective change management.

The REDPAR team provides RED recipients the opportunity to learn and develop these skills through a customized change curriculum that is delivered during the annual meetings of RED recipients and through monthly conference calls. REDPAR has followed the work of these agents over more than five years, capturing their reflections on their efforts through observation, phone interviews, focus group discussions, and site visits. The research focuses on change management skills, project leader and team characteristics, impacts of MACH training, shared vision with stakeholder, and the role of context, broadly defined.

Research Products

REDPAR produces a range of traditional and non-traditional professional products, including journal articles, conference papers and posters, workshops, and tip sheets.

Ideas and findings have been presented at ASEE, the NSF EEC grantees conference, CoNECD, the World Engineering Forum, and FIE.


Kerice Doten-Snitker, Cara Margherio, Elizabeth Litzler, Ella Ingram, and Julia Williams. “Developing a Shared Vision for Change: Moving toward Inclusive Empowerment.” Research in Higher Education 62 (206-229). DOI: 10.1007/s11162-020-09594-9 preprint on OSF

Shared vision is an important process for change projects, serving to amplify success, increase participation, and erode the divide between project leaders and constituents. Yet there are few empirical examinations of the process of building shared vision within academic departments. Using focus groups and participant observation, this study examines shared vision development within 13 large-scale change projects in engineering and computer science higher education. We find that teams of faculty, staff, administrators, and students built shared vision with stakeholders through co-orientation, formational communication, and recognition of stakeholder autonomy. Our results delineate practices for developing shared vision for academic change projects and demonstrate the benefits of inclusive stakeholder empowerment.

Cara Margherio, Julia Williams, Kerice Doten-Snitker, Elizabeth Litzler, Eva Andrijcic, and Sriram Mohan. 2020. “Cultivating Strategic Partnerships to Transform STEM Education.” IIn White, K., Beach, A., Finkelstein, N., Henderson, C., Simkins, S., Slakey, L., Stains, M., Weaver, G., & Whitehead, L. (Eds.) Transforming Institutions: Accelerating Systemic Change in Higher Education. Pressbooks. (open-access book)

Conference Procedings

Margherio, Cara, Kerice Doten-Snitker, Elizabeth Litzler, Julia Williams, Eva Andrijcic, and Sriram Mohan.“Building Your Dream Team for Change.” American Society for Engineering Education, Tampa, FL.6/16-19/2019. Download from ASEE PEER

Margherio, Cara, Kerice Doten-Snitker, Julia Williams, Elizabeth Litzler, and Ella Ingram. “Forming Strategic Partnerships: New Results from the Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments Participatory Action Research.”American Society for Engineering Education Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT. 6/24-27/2018. Download from ASEE PEER

Margherio, Cara, Elizabeth Litzler, and Kerice Doten-Snitker. “Developing a Shared Vision for Change: New results from the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments Participatory Action Research.” American Society for Engineering EducationAnnual Meeting, Columbus, OH. 6/25-28/2017. Download from ASEE PEER


Tip Sheet: Communicating Change

Tip Sheet: Creating Strategic Partnerships

Tip Sheet: Creating Shared Vision

Tip Sheet: Forming and Developing Teams

“How ‘Buy-In’ Gets it Wrong” blog post with Ella Ingram at

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