September 2018 Spotlight: Kathy Quardokus Fisher

The September 2018 GER Spotlight is Dr. Kathy Quardokus Fisher, Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment and the STEM Transformation Institute at the Florida International University. In this GER Spotlight, she discusses her work as a researcher of change in higher education and atmospheric science education.

What is the focus of your current geoscience education research?
My research includes two major areas.

  1. I study organizational change in higher education as it relates to faculty instructional practices. I am particularly interested in understanding what makes large-scale change initiatives successful in improving practices and culture. I also am interested in organizational change as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Right now, I am considering how faculty positions (e.g., tenure-track, adjunct) should impact the design of change initiatives.
  2. I also study the teaching and learning of atmospheric science. I am interested in lower-division coursework. I study how it attracts students and prepares them for entry into the field.

What has been the best tool or resource you've found for developing as a geoscience education researcher?
While receiving my degrees and as a postdoc, I had the opportunity to work with education researchers from mathematics, physics, engineering, biology, and geosciences. I also have had the opportunity to attend several conferences held by these STEM education research disciplines. This has given me the opportunity to observe how other communities have developed and to compare and contrast the differences in research practices across the disciplines. Communicating with people from other education research traditions has challenged me to articulate my own assumptions and biases. My research benefits from these diverse viewpoints.

What type of project would you like to collaborate with other researchers on?
I am interested in building the community of atmospheric science education researchers within GER. As a graduate student, I struggled to find this community and the foundational research for this work. Now as a tenure-track faculty member, I want to make sure my students do not face this same challenge.

Learn more about Kathy Quardokus Fisher's work on her faculty website,, or read her most recent publication: Henderson, C. (Ed.), Rasmussen, C. (Ed.), Knaub, A. (Ed.), Apkarian, N. (Ed.), Daly, A. (Ed.), Quardokus Fisher, K. (Ed.). (2018). Researching and Enacting Change in Postsecondary Education. New York: Routledge.