June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.940.1 - 11.940.12
The Program Director, Ricardo Jacquez, a professor of Civil Engineering at NMSU, led the weekly seminar series, which included guest speakers, discussions about professional conferences, goal setting, research and preparation of personal statements and other PhD application materials. The seminar was not merely a means by which information was conveyed to the students; rather, it also served an important function in providing a regular context in which the students could interact with each other, get questions answered that they might not be able to ask their advisors/mentors, regularly interact with the Program Director, and sometimes just “vent” about the normal frustrations associated with graduate school.
Data and Methods Given the small number of students involved in the program, the evaluation team decided to use a qualitative evaluation design in which we would accumulate materials about the students from the start to the finish of the program and then analyze each student as a separate case study. Obviously, the draw-back of this method was that full results were not available until recently, when all of the students had completed or neared the completion of their masters program. Throughout the first two and a half years of the program, the evaluator met with program personnel on several occasions to verbally convey important feedback about the program for use in making minor modification.
The benefits of this approach are important. First, students’ confidentiality was carefully protected during their participation in the program by limiting program personnel access to certain types of data collected from the students and their advisors. Students were well aware of the program’s expectations—especially in terms of their timely completion of the masters degree and the transition to a doctoral program—and that their advisors were keys to their success. Because of the confidentiality issues, student participants were often—but not always—reluctant to say anything negative about the program, their department or their advisors until their participation in the program or their affiliation with NMSU was done.
Second, because there are so few students, any quantitative methodology was unlikely to effectively uncover key differences in the students’ experiences. Each student experienced his or her graduate program in very different ways: our task was to understand these differences and to learn if there were common themes for success and if there were ways to improve the program for subsequent students.
The case file for each student, therefore, included the following materials: Application to the program, which included: o Undergraduate academic transcripts o Two letters of reference o Personal statement. 2-4 evaluations of the student’s application. Statement of purpose written in Fall 2004 (in preparation for PhD program applications). Trip report on attending the NSF Human Resources Directorate Joint Annual Meeting (2004). Graduate academic transcripts.
Frehill, L., & Jacquez, R., & Ketcham, L., & Lain, A., & Williams, H., & Pena, R. (2006, June), Moving High Performance Urm Students Into The Professoriate: The Nmsu Amp Bridge To The Doctorate Program Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1375
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