The Impact of Culture and Context on Program Evaluation: The Model Institutions for Excellence Program
In 2004, NSF contracted with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to conduct a short-term study to assess program impact and collect evidence of project success in infrastructure enhancement (i.e., courses, equipment, faculty), and student recruitment, retention, graduation and advancement in STEM careers. In addition, the study was to describe the project model(s) and determine whether or not the model(s) could guide national efforts for achieving and sustaining diversity in the STEM workforce.
AIR undertook a three-part study that involved secondary analysis of MIE and national data, case studies of the MIE projects to identify the project model(s) and benchmarking the core components of the model(s) against national standards.
This paper specifically highlights the role of culture and context in the evaluation of this NSF/NASA sponsored program.