Evaluating the quality of project summaries for S-STEM proposals
Rice University received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host workshops designed to help faculty members at predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs) develop competitive proposals to the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. S-STEM projects provide scholarships and other support to low-income students who demonstrate the academic potential to succeed in STEM disciplines with the aim of increasing their presence in the U.S. STEM workforce and/or graduate programs. Our recruitment efforts focused primarily on PUIs located in Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) jurisdictions. An initial search of NSF's awards database showed that despite enrolling the majority of students, PUIs - associate's colleges in particular - received a disproportionately small fraction of S-STEM awards. Additionally, at the time of our search, Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) awards had been made to institutions in only 50% of EPSCoR jurisdictions. By increasing the capacity of faculty members at PUIs in EPSCoR jurisdictions to successfully compete for funding, we can help improve the number and diversity of the institutions students S-STEM supports. Analyses are not yet available on the status of all proposals submitted by workshop participants; however, we are using project summaries as one preliminary, indirect indicator of likely proposal quality. In this paper, we present the rubric and describe the results of the project summary evaluations as preliminary findings to address the question: To what degree and in what ways do participants' project summaries change from pre-to post-workshop? The results have implications for prospective PIs who are seeking guidance on strengthening areas of S-STEM proposals.
Pearson, YE; Phillips, CML; Beier, ME; Gilberto, J; Mattingly, SP; Saterbak, A; Sheng, Y; Shethia, AK; Sun, R
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