Self-Evaluation Tools for Centers: Making Key Contributions to Undergraduate STEM Education

Friday 11:30 am – 11:55 am PT / 12:30 pm – 12:55 pm MT / 1:30 pm – 1:55 pm CT / 2:30 pm – 2:55 pm ET Online
Concurrent Session

Deborah Carlisle, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Gabriela Weaver, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Centers are key institutional resources. In their mid-level support roles, centers lead and facilitate transformative campus efforts that enhance organizational learning and performance. Our research has explored the roles played by STEM Education Centers and Centers for Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in STEM education. This session will showcase a set of self-evaluation tools that are currently under development to assist centers in their mission to improve undergraduate STEM education. These tools arise from data gathered from a purposive sample of national institutions and a national survey. Through cross-case analysis four primary construct areas were identified: Centralization, Use of data, Translation, and Network. Each construct represents a mid-level support role that strengthens a center's ability to respond to institutional needs, and leads to improved outcomes in undergraduate STEM education. Centers can apply these self-evaluation tools to establish a benchmark assessment and to identify new goals in undergraduate STEM education. Because the tools capture current national trends, they are valuable for centers who wish to effectively position themselves and expand in this area.
This research represents research area 1 of the Network of STEM Education Centers, NSEC initiative. As such, it seeks to support centers by offering a set of tools through which they can show progress and direction. This establishes center value beyond reputation and image, characteristics often used to measure performance in higher education. During this session we will review some example aspects of these evaluation tools and discuss the ways in which they may be used by the community. Center leaders, institutional leaders, administrators, and center stakeholders seeking to position a center within an institution will find these tools of interest.