STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Engaging your executive committee matters: STEP Success Factor 3: Admin Support. (EXCEL series:post 5)

In my previous post I discussed the importance of recruiting students and using data to demonstrate success. (Success Factors 1 and 2). Here I’d like to bring in a third important success factor: which is to build administrative support through engaging an executive committee consisting of Deans, Department chairs, and your project PIs.

The EXCEL program created an effective Internal (we call it Executive) committee which was consistently engaged in all EXCEL affairs. This committee consisted of all the important stakeholders (The Provost, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Deans of all the STEM colleges, the Chair of the Departments of the two PIs in this effort, and the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions). This committee met formally once a year; most importantly though the two PIs of the grant (Georgiopoulos, EECS and Young, Math) met with members of this committee (e.g., Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Deans of STEM Colleges) a number of times throughout the year to keep them appraised about the EXCEL progress and successes. An example of the wonderful working relationship that the PIs had with the UCF administration materialized at the end of the second year of funding (2007) when EXCEL was requested to submit reports related to their upcoming (Spring of 2008) third year review of the program. The Provost and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies became very actively involved in the creation of the necessary reports that needed to be submitted to NSF. EXCEL’s third year review in the 2008 NSF STEP Grantees’ meeting went very well, and our Program Manager Lee Zia, wrote to us, and I quote: “The NSF review team enjoyed meeting you and your colleagues at the Third Year Review, and we thank you especially for the efforts that you made to prepare for that review.  You and your team set a terrific example!  I look forward to your continuing reports about your project, and to seeing you again at next year’s STEP Grantees Meeting”.  We shared the success of the 3rd year review with all the members of the EXCEL Executive committee and more intimately with the Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies that have participated in the creation of the reports (Factor 3).