Student Experience

The Student Experience Project (SEP) is a collaborative of university leaders, faculty, researchers and national education organizations committed to creating more equitable learning environments by leveraging social psychology to develop innovative, evidence-based tools and practices that support the academic achievement and well-being of all students. As a partner in the SEP, CTC is leading the development and testing of evidence-based tools and practices designed to support student success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses and majors. Working with our partners, we are identifying the most impactful opportunities for change within STEM disciplines, supporting the development of changes to spur student success, and synthesizing the evidence about the SEP’s impact on student outcomes.

Background & Theory

The Challenge

Colleges and universities are enrolling more diverse student populations than ever before. Yet, students from structurally disadvantaged and negatively stereotyped groups remain underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Students of color, women, and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds tend to enter STEM majors at lower rates, exit STEM majors at higher rates, and underperform academically compared to their peers. Research indicates that these differential rates of STEM participation and persistence may be linked to the presence of situational cues in STEM contexts that signal to some students that their social group is stigmatized, negatively stereotyped, or not valued in STEM.

The Opportunity

Focusing initially on the experiences of students in STEM, the SEP aims to develop replicable models for transforming college students’ psychological experiences of their learning environments so that more students can persist through academic challenges to earn their degrees. Once piloted with faculty, staff, and students in STEM disciplines, SEP leaders will create replicable models that can be scaled to other disciplines or college contexts.

Current Research

CTC is currently collaborating with all SEP partners on research to better understand students experiences in STEM disciplines. In the next phase of this project, CTC and our six university partners will work together to explore opportunities for leveraging social psychology to improve student outcomes in STEM on their campuses, and will then work with our team to collaboratively design and test innovative practices to transform the college student experience and support student success.

Organizational Partners

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
Coalition of Urban Serving Universities Coalition of Urban Serving Universities
The Raikes Foundation The Raikes Foundation
Shift Shift

University Partners

Colorado Sate University Colorado Sate University
Portland State University Portland State University
The University of New Mexico The University of New Mexico
The University of Toledo The University of Toledo
University of Colorado Denver University of Colorado Denver
University of North Carolina Charlotte University of North Carolina Charlotte

Learn More

Get Involved

Partnership Opportunities

If you are interested in working with the CTC on a future project related to student experience, we encourage you to fill out our interest form to receive updates on upcoming opportunities, or send us an email.

Learn More about the Student Experience Project

Principal Investigators

Kathryn Boucher, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis
Mary Murphy
, Herman B. Wells Endowed Professor, Indiana University
Christine Logel, Associate Professor, Renison University College, affil. University of Waterloo