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Networking STEP Projects in Texas- Phase II: Use of Data

This project is conducting a series of workshops to further strengthen the community of NSF STEP project PIs in Texas, by developing their knowledge and skills related to the use of academic and administrative data to inform project management and strategic decision-making. Three themes provide a framework for the overall set of activities of the series: + Analyzing data to make evidence-based decisions for the funded STEP 1A and 1B projects in Texas (formative evaluation); + Developing rigorous research questions and designs that inform data collection; and + Building a community of scholars into critical colleagues to offer scholarly review and suggestions related to data analysis issues and manuscripts for publication. Through an active peer-learning process in Workshop I, small teams are working to create or refine research questions and develop a research design and data collection related to an assessment of each PI's project. In Workshop II PIs are defining the types of data needed for collection and how data analysis should proceed in order to address the research questions developed in Workshop I. A third workshop is expected to move PIs beyond conference presentations to the submission of manuscripts for publication in peer-review journals. This set of workshops builds naturally on an earlier set of meetings designed to bring together STEP projects in the state to share best practices, and in so doing, to create a community of scholars among project personnel from these projects. A particularly important area of focus for workshop participants was on recruitment and retention activities targeting the large Hispanic population of the state and the seamless transition of community college students to four-year STEM majors. Through this proposed follow-on set of workshops the focus on research design, data collection, and data analysis is expected to lead to improved recruitment and retention of students and institutionalization of these efforts as well as increased dissemination of STEP project efforts. Three of the participating STEP projects are Hispanic Serving Institutions, and one is a Minority Serving Institution.

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