CRA-DMP Evaluation Report #1

Table of Contents

About the Evaluation

Executive Summary

Introductory Materials

The Students' Point of View: Issues Involved in Participating in the DMP

  1. Students enter the DMP to make decisions about future career paths

  2. Immersion in an academic environment: Students' transition to a more sophisticated understanding of academic life
    1. Learning about the academic environment
      1. Learning about graduate school: Observing and interacting with graduate students and faculty
        1. Being an "honorary graduate student" allowed students to develop an understanding of graduate school life
        2. Students learned "strategic" information about applying and choosing a graduate school
        3. Students realized they had misconceptions about graduate school
        4. Through interacting with and observing graduate students, students were able to identify with the graduate student experience
      2. Learning about the research process: Shifting from a classroom learning style to the self-directed research process
        1. Students initially felt overwhelmed when faced with learning how to "do" research coupled with learning a large amount of new information
        2. Students came to recognize ways to adapt and work within an open-ended and self-directed research process
        3. Students' confidence increased through "doing" research
      3. Learning about the role of faculty: Getting beyond stereotypes
    2. DMP career outcomes: Trying graduate school on for size helped students to realize their interests in graduate school and academia
      1. Defining interests in graduate school
        1. Graduate school in CS&E is "right" for me
        2. Some students came to realize that they were not interested in or ready to commit to pursuing graduate study in CS&E
      2. Pursuing a career in academia
        1. A career in academia is "right" for me
        2. Some students were ambivalent about working in academia after completing the program
        3. A career in academia is not "right" for me

  3. Students as "part of a larger whole:" Including students in the research process and graduate school environment creates a more successful DMP experience
    1. Students benefited most when doing something "real" that contributed to their mentor's research
    2. Students were motivated to do research when they were included as contributing members of the research team
    3. When students felt excluded from the collaborative research process, they became less motivated and felt isolated

  4. The multi-dimensional role of the mentor
    1. Within the framework of the program: Orienting and helping students in their research project
      1. Defining the working relationship
      2. "Making time" for the students
      3. Designing and implementing a project: Giving students freedom within limits
        1. Choice within structure: Students wanted their mentor to prepare a project or series projects
        2. Students wanted structure and guidance in their research
    2. Beyond the framework of the program: The mentor as role model and professional resource
      1. Orienting students about the field of CS&E
      2. "Modeling" life in the field
        1. Students identified with and learned from their mentor's experience in CS&E
        2. Students realized that a woman could be successful and respected in CS&E
        3. Some students realized that women can have a successful career and have outside interests

  5. Logistical problems with the DMP

The Mentors' Point of View: Issues involved in Mentoring in the DMP

  1. The Goal and Structure of the DMP
    1. DMP goal: To encourage women to consider graduate school and a research career in CS&E
    2. How the structure of the DMP achieved this goal
      1. Immersing students in an academic environment increased their understanding of graduate school and research
        1. Developing an understanding of graduate school
        2. Learning about academic research
      2. Matching students and mentors "plugged" students into a network of CS& professionals
        1. Creating professional connections
        2. The female mentor as role model and guide

  2. The Mentors' View of the DMP Students
    1. Mentors needed to invest time preparing and guiding students in their research projects
    2. Mentors were impressed with their students' initiative and capabilities
    3. The lack of background and motivation of the students could inhibit a positive experience
      1. Students who lack basic skills in CS&E may be unable to work on interesting projects
      2. Mentors who perceived their student to be unmotivated viewed their participation in the DMP as a "waste of time"

  3. Receiving assistance on their research: Two different mentor expectations of the DMP
    1. The "best of both worlds:" Assisting an undergraduate and receiving help
    2. A necessary component of the DMP was for the mentors to receive research help from the student
      1. Mentors viewed their participation in the DMP as an investment of time that should return some research benefit
      2. Mentors wanted more input in the student selection process to ensure some research benefit

  4. The Role of the Mentor in the DMP
    1. Being a role model: Providing an example of a successful woman in CS&E
    2. Guiding students in their professional development
      1. Guiding students in their career choices
      2. Introducing students to the culture of an academic career in CS&E
        1. Introducing students to the research process
        2. Introducing students to the academic environment
      3. Setting up a framework for the student's research
        1. Preparing for the student's arrival
        2. Arranging meetings with the student
          1. Some mentors met with their student on a casual, informal basis
          2. Some mentors set up weekly formal meetings
        3. Guiding the student in her research
          1. Providing guidance and direction
          2. The role of the graduate students in providing guidance
          3. Defining the nature of interaction in the meetings

  5. Strategies in creating a successful DMP experience
    1. Creating a well-defined and doable project that challenged the student and was part of the mentor's research program
      1. Tailoring the project around the student's background and abilities helped to ensure completion of the project
      2. The completion of a project that contributed to their mentor's research increased students' confidence and gave them a sense of accomplishment
      3. Multiple projects provided relief when students were bored, frustrated or had technical difficulties
      4. Having multiple projects benefited the mentor by contributing to her research
    2. Immersing students in a research community
      1. Involving students in a research community that included graduate students gave the DMP students a more accurate view of graduate school
      2. Involving students in a research community gave them a better understanding of the collaborative research process
      3. A research community provided multiple resources for the student
      4. A community decreased the time commitment of the mentor

  6. Receiving recognition for their participation in the DMP
    1. A letter to their department or the appropriate Dean
    2. Publicity for their participation in a journal
    3. Funding may influence more faculty participation

Survey Results
1995 Student Participant Survey Results
1994/1995 Mentor Survey Results
Breakdown of 1994 Students Attending/Considering Attending Graduate School

Appendix A: Interview Protocols for Student Participants and Mentors

Appendix B: Surveys for Student Participants and Mentors

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