Access, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education

This project seeks to understand what various interventions and mechanisms can promote pathways for successful higher education and skill development, specifically for historically underrepresented students.

  Project Details

Pedagogy for Access, Equity and Inclusion Project

Access to education is a key factor to social mobility, but currently women and ethnic minorities are (generally) underrepresented in science-based research careers. This project is currently investigating how various types of interventions – such as study abroad, research apprenticeships and practicum courses – are beneficial to a wide range of students, including women, minorities and first-generation students. By beneficial, we mean interventions that produce a transferrable skillset that can either be utilized in the workforce upon graduation or within graduate studies. Specific questions of inquiry are:

  • How can educators successfully scale research experiences in order to provide greater access to underrepresented students?
  • What skills and preparation do students gain from their participation in various faculty directed activities (e.g. study abroad, research apprenticeships and practicum courses)?
  • How can we better inspire students to pursue graduate studies as well as prepare them for advanced research?
  • What mentorship structures are most effective for undergraduates?

First Generation Next Project

This initiative will be implemented in Fall 2020 to execute three primary goals: 1) Serve first-generation students within SHESC, currently 27% of our undergraduate, in-person student body by improving career readiness and further academic endeavors as they transition out of their undergraduate degrees. 2) Implement innovative teaching pedagogies – such as critical pedagogy and experiential learning – and assess student-learning outcomes in novel ways, including evaluating changes in structural competency and the abilities to overcome structural obstacles. 3) Investigate issues of higher education in the current economic and political climate, by training students as research assistants to study cultural understandings of the roles of public education as well as conformity and resistance to neoliberal ideologies within educational structures.

Partners: Lehigh University

  Research Team



Ruth, A., A. Brewis, C. SturtzSreetharan, A. Wutich & C. Stojanowski. (2022). Effectiveness of Online Social Science Undergraduate Research Experiences: Exploratory Evidence. Frontiers in Education.

Ruth, A., A. Brewis & C. SturtzSreetharan. (2021). Effectiveness of Social Science Research Opportunities: A Study of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). Teaching in Higher Education.

Ruth, A., C. SturtzSreetharan, A. Brewis & A. Wutich. (2020). Structural Competency of Pre-Health Students: Can a Single Course Lead to Meaningful Change? Medical Science Educator.

Ruth, A., A. Wutich & A. Brewis. (2019). A Model for Scaling Undergraduate Research Experiences: The Global Ethnohydrology Study. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. March: 37(1): 25-34

Ruth, A., A. Brewis, D. Blasco & A. Wutich. (2018). Long-term Benefits of Short Term Research-Integrated Study Abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education.

Ruth, A.(2018). Attaining the College Dream: The Effects of Politics on the Social Capital of First-Generation Undocumented Immigrant Students. Human Organization. March: 77(1)

Ruth, A., A. Wutich & A. Brewis. (2016). The Global Ethnohydrology Study: Integrating Global Health Undergraduates in Collaborative Research. Practicing Anthropology. October: 34(4)