Transforming STEM Higher Education

Accelerating Undergraduate STEM Education Reform

Arlington, VA

Within many areas of undergraduate STEM reform, the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly been declared over, or over enough. And a return to the next, or some new, normal has sparked deep relief. However, for others, the pandemic’s “end” has brought little in the way of relief because the same institutional systems, structures, traditions, and beliefs that privileged some, while disadvantaging others, still exist. The resistance to accept, or even grapple with, this uncomfortable truth has made the need for a different kind of approach to STEM reform that much more urgent.

How bad, how good does it need to get?
How many losses? How much regret?
What chain reaction would cause an effect?

-Tracey Chapman

Doing the work of reform without reflection is like trying to solve a problem without acknowledging its causes. In that context, both are merely activities – ones that don’t teach us transformative lessons or reveal the consequences of our choices and actions. Reforming undergraduate STEM education, especially now, deserves our earnest and deliberate reflection. We must desire to know the truths that speak to our deeper selves, create space in our institutions for these narratives to emerge and take hold, and let new stories of who we were, and who we are, guide our path to reform. Do we have the courage to breakdown and rebuild our beliefs? Do we have the audacity to confront ourselves? Are we bold enough to confront the narratives that tell us we must “restart,” not reform, undergraduate STEM education? Imagine what we could achieve if we collectively refuse to go back to what was already broken.

AAC&U and its Project Kaleidoscope invite you to join us for the annual Transforming STEM Higher Education Conference as we explore these questions and other complex voids that have been left in the wake of recent pandemic-related, racially motivated, and socioeconomically driven events. This conference will challenge us to see not only voids in our reform thinking, but also the possibilities they hold when we are daring enough to allow new perspectives and new structures to define how we fill them.

The AAC&U STEM Conference advances undergraduate STEM education through its commitment to providing inclusive and quality professional development opportunities to the STEM reformers of American higher education. By foregrounding diverse disciplines, perspectives, worldviews, voices, and vantage points—especially of those who have been historically marginalized within STEM—this conference gives rise to a deeper understanding of national and institutional levers of reform; and outlines a national agenda for manipulating those levers to drive discovery, innovation, and social change in STEM higher education. With our attendees, we give voice, not just sound; demonstration, not just intent; and purpose, not just a plan for co-creating reform strategies that can accelerate the reform of undergraduate STEM education practice, research, and policy in ways that advantage all and disadvantage none.

Dates to Remember

  • Deadline to Submit Proposals

  • Housing Cut Off

  • Early Bird Registration Deadline

  • First Day of Conference

  • Last Day of Conference


For questions or additional information about the Conference on Transforming STEM Higher Education, please email [email protected]

Program Office

Office of Undergraduate STEM Education

Through its Office of Undergraduate STEM Education (OUSE), AAC&U works to empower institutions of higher education to catalyze higher education reform in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Statement on Event Locations

We are committed to ensuring that AAC&U events serve as educational spaces within which the higher education community can come together, engage local communities, and discuss the issues at the forefront of public debate.