Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Educational Research and Methods
The Engineering Research Centers (ERCs), funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), play an important role in improving engineering education, bridging engineering academia and broad communities, and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion. Each ERC must partner with an independent evaluation team to annually assess their performance and impact on progressing education, connecting community, and building diversified culture. This evaluation is currently performed independently (and in isolation), which leads to inconsistent evaluations and a redundant investment of ERCs’ resources into such tasks (e.g. developing evaluation instruments). These isolated efforts by ERCs to quantitatively evaluate their education programs also typically lack adequate sample size within a single center, which limits the validity and reliability of the quantitative analyses.
Three ERCs, all associated with a large southwest university in the United States, worked collaboratively to overcome sample size and measure inconsistency concerns by developing a common quantitative instrument that is capable of evaluating any ERC’s education and diversity impacts. The instrument is the result of a systematic process with comparing and contrasting each ERC’s existing evaluation tools, including surveys and interview protocols. This new, streamlined tool captures participants’ overall experience as part of the ERC by measuring various constructs including skillset development, perception of diversity and inclusion, future plans after participating in the ERC, and mentorship received from the ERC. Scales and embedded items were designed broadly for possible use with both yearlong (e.g. graduate and undergraduate student, and postdoctoral scholars) and summer program (Research Experience for Undergraduates, Research Experience for Teachers, and Young Scholar Program) participants. The instrument was distributed and tested during Summer 2019 with participants in the summer programs from all three ERCs. The forthcoming paper will present the new common cross-ERC evaluation instrument, demonstrate the effort of collecting data across all three ERCs, present preliminary findings, and discuss collaborative processes and challenges. The preliminary implication for this work is the ability to directly compare educational programs across ERCs. The authors also believe that this tool can provide a fast start for new ERCs on how to evaluate their educational programs.
Zhao, Z., & Carberry, A. R., & Cook-Davis, A., & Larson, J. S., & Jordan, M., & Barnard, W. M., & O'Donnell, M., & Savenye, W. C. (2020, June), Streamlining the Process of Evaluating the Education and Diversity Impacts across Engineering Research Centers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35212
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