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Central Indiana STEM Talent Expansion Program (CI-STEP): Transforming Education. Kathleen A. Marrs , Associate Dean † Jeffrey X. Watt , Associate Dean † Andy Gavrin, Chair, Department of of Physics † Charlie Feldhaus, Associate Professor* Stephen Hundley , Associate Dean *

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Kathleen A. Marrs , Associate Dean † Jeffrey X. Watt , Associate Dean † Andy Gavrin, Chair, Department of of Physics †

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Central Indiana STEM Talent Expansion Program (CI-STEP):

Transforming Education

  • Kathleen A. Marrs, Associate Dean†
  • Jeffrey X. Watt, Associate Dean†
  • Andy Gavrin, Chair, Department of of Physics †
  • Charlie Feldhaus, Associate Professor*
  • Stephen Hundley, Associate Dean *
  • Mariah Judd, Postdoctoral Fellow †
  • Howard Mzumara, Director of the IUPUI Testing Center
  • †Purdue School of Science, IUPUI
  • *Purdue School of Engineering & Technology, IUPUI
using mini grants to increase sustainability faculty buy in and institutionalization
Using Mini-Grants to Increase Sustainability, Faculty Buy-in and Institutionalization


10:00 a.m. – History of Central Indiana STEM Talent Expansion (CI-STEP) Grant

10:05 a.m. – Summary of CI-STEP Mini Grants

10:20 a.m. – Outcomes of CI-STEP Mini-Grants

10:30 a.m. – Role Play and Develop a Proposal

10:50 a.m. – Critique Actual Mini-Grant Proposals

11:20 a.m. – Brainstorm ideas on how to modify the RFP for other institutions



President McRobbie’s State of the

University address on September 28, 2010 stated that one of the highest priorities of the university is to retain and graduate a higher percent of its students on all of

the IU campuses.


September 2011, state-wide priority set to improve college graduation rates. “Changes are needed, especially when it comes to remediation” Complete College America Senior VP Cheryl Orr


The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) found in 2012 that economic forecasts point to a need for producing, over the next decade, approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions.

Goals of CI-STEP is directly aligned with all of these priorities.

iupui ci step

National Science Foundation, awarded September 2010, $1.99 M

“STEP seeks to increase the number of students receiving associate or baccalaureate degrees in established or emerging fields within STEM.”

CI-STEP at IUPUI is creating a central Indiana pipeline to increase the number of students obtaining STEM degrees of all demographic groups who:

(1) pursue STEM academic and career pathways;

(2) participate in STEM research, internships, and honors activities;

(3) graduate with an undergraduate degree in STEM fields; and

(4) transition into industry, graduate and professional programs.

“… STEP Type 1 activities should be aimed at adapting and implementing best practices that will lead to an increase in the number of students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) obtaining STEM degrees.”

iupui ci step goals

Our proposal aims to 'set the stage' for student success, removing barriers to learning and promoting a vision of a career in STEM. As a result, we are targeting for each year of the funding, a:

10% in the number of new and transfer students admitted to STEM majors,

10% in the number of minority students admitted to STEM majors

10% in the DFW rates for MATH, CS, PHYS, TECH and other courses

15 additional students participating in internship and research experiences

50 graduating seniors participating in honors seminars

17 departments in the School of Science and School of Engineering & Technology

Overall: The program has set a target of increasing the number of STEM graduates at IUPUI by 10% per year -- an additional 782 STEM graduates by 2015, for a total of 3,067 STEM graduates by 2015.

the targeted stem departments

* Includes AA, Hisp/Latino, and Native American students, excludes Asians and females.

^ Includes AA, Hisp/Latino, Native American and female students, excludes Asians.

Goal:10% increase each year from 457 in baseline 782 STEM graduates

profile of students and challenges facing the stem talent gap at iupui

In 2008, the IUPUI undergraduate student population was:

46% FT/FT, 23% transfer, 12% returning adults, 9% non-degree,

7% inter-campus transfer, 2% FT/FT international, and 1% all other.



4 major categories of initiatives:

Student Centered Pedagogies

Career Services

Student Success

Articulation with Ivy Tech

For each initiative:

Major research and education activities.

Major findings resulting from these activities.

Opportunities for training, development and mentoring.

Opportunities for outreach activities.


STEM Faculty Courses

Proud student presenters at the 2011 STEM Showcase

Transformation grants

Expansion of PLTL, JiTT, Peer Mentoring

Students engaging in Peer Lead Team Learning

New CI-STEP Internship Program

New School of Science Career Development Services

Student working

on new



Honors Seminars

STEM Mentoring Programs



Jeffrey Watt

giving math students one on one attention

STEM Summer Bridge


Women in Science

House (WISH) cohort

New Mathematics Courses

Collaboration with Bridges to the Baccalaureate

Revised Articulation with Department of Engineering and Technology

STEM Summer Bridge 2011. IUPUI student mentors with their mentees

Student-Centered Pedagogies



Articulation with 2 yr. Colleges



mini grant rfp purpose
Mini-Grant RFP Purpose
  • CI-STEP proposals are expected to help increase the numbers of students of all demographic groups who:
  • pursue STEM academic and career pathways;
  • participate in STEM research, industry internships, and honors activities;
  • graduate with an undergraduate degree in STEM fields; and
  • transition into industry, graduate and professional programs.
mini grant rfp characteristics
Mini-Grant RFP Characteristics
  • The proposal must involve work that is above and beyond the normal requirements of the individual’s position(s); and
  • Successful achievement of the objectives or outcomes will promote retention and persistence in STEM; and
  • The proposal must clearly identify the methods to be used for assessing outcomes
mini grant rfp preferences
Mini-Grant RFP Preferences
  • Seeking awards ranging between $5,000 - $25,000 ($250K available to award)
  • Involve collaborators;
  • Have immediate impact on a broad range students. 
  • Demonstrate Innovativeness, Effectiveness and Inclusiveness
mini grant rfp eligibility
Mini-Grant RFP Eligibility
  • Full or Part-time faculty at IUPUI, Ivy Tech and Butler University are all eligible
  • Proposals may be implemented over a single semester, multiple semesters or summer
  • Proposals must include project description, evidence of significance, timeline, expected outcomes, evaluation plan, dissemination plan and budget
submission process
Submission Process
  • Dean and/or Department Chair reviews and approves proposal
  • The CI-STEP Award Committee reviews and approves the proposal
  • Receive notice of award and begin work according to approved timeline
review criteria
Review Criteria
  • Work is above and beyond the normal requirements of the applicant’s position
  • Proposal promotes the goals and objectives of the CI-STEP initiative and promotion of retention, persistence and graduation are clear.
  • Evaluation and Assessment of project outcomes are clear

Mini-Grant Outcomes

  • Seamless transitions for AS/BS degrees (2-year to 4-year STEM programs)
  • Improved course grades -- Decrease in failure (%DFW) rates for targeted courses
  • Increased number of students who enroll and successfully complete STEM courses
  • Increased support of new or transfer students enrolled in STEM majors
  • Increased number of minoritiesenrolled in STEM majors
  • Improved rates of retention, persistence, and success of students in STEM majors
  • Improved satisfaction among students taking STEM courses

Mini-Grant Outcomes continued

  • Increased student participation, completion, and success rates in STEM Bridge / Residential Programs
  • Increased number of students using peer-mentoring or tutoring services
  • Increased number of students participating in internships or research experiences
  • Increased number of STEM students using Career Development Services (CDS)
  • Sustained increase in number of students completing STEM degrees within the duration of the STEP grant period

Overall Project Assessment

Two-Phase Project Assessment Framework


Types of Evaluation Measures Solicited

Direct Measures:

  • Course-embedded assessments
  • Exams/Tests, Papers, Assignments, Oral Presentations, Group Work, etc.
  • Standardized Achievement Tests
  • Exit Exams/Common Final Exam
  • Project Documents (e.g., mini-grant project proposals, progress/annual reports, etc.)
  • Student ePortfolio Assessments

Indirect Measures:

  • Pre-Post Knowledge Surveys (Questionnaires)
  • Participant Satisfaction Surveys
  • Interviews / Focus Groups with project participants
  • Faculty/Mentor/Protégé Surveys
  • Event Tracking/Usage Data Records
  • Course/Event/Session Evaluations
  • Extant Data (e.g., enrollment, participation, completion, retention, demographic data, grades, GPAs, %DFW rates, and related data)
  • Participant Testimonials/Reflections

Best Practices for Mini-Grant Data Collection

  • Build on proven strategies and activities to meet STEP goals
  • Mini-grant recipients and evaluator should collaborate early during the planning, development, implementation, and reporting phases of project assessment/evaluation activities
  • Whenever possible, encourage mini-grant recipients to adopt “methodological pluralism” with regards to collection and analysis of evaluation data.
  • Formally request mini-grant recipients to provide progress reports and/or final reports to help document achievements, challenges, and plans for long-term program sustainability(e.g., for annual reports to NSF and for broad dissemination of findings)
  • Development/presentation of mini-grant posters is useful…!

How to Connect Project Results to

NSF Reporting Requirements

  • Use sound metrics and establish a baseline from which to measure impact of project strategies and activities.
  • Where possible, collect appropriate measures needed to disaggregate data for purposes of evaluating the efficacy and impact of respective project strategies or activities.
  • Collaborate with mini-grant recipients in articulating specific components of their project outcomes that contribute directly to students’ retention and graduation in STEM fields.
  • Encourage mini-grant recipients to share empirical evidence, examples of proven strategies, or use of high-impact educational practices that enhance STEP project goals.

Challenges / Lessons Learned

  • Coordination and alignment of mini-grant project goals to obtain direct measures of project impact can be challenging
  • Limitations encountered in data collection/analysis included: inconsistency in data collection; missing or incomplete data; inadequate baseline data; inherent problem of self-selection of participants; and low participation rates for some projects.
  • Develop and share appropriate resources (e.g., Logic Model for CI-STEP Project, examples of assessment/evaluation tools, report templates, etc.) to facilitate collection/reporting of evaluation data.
  • Early and sustained communication between evaluator and project coordinators is crucial to success of mini-grant strategy.

Develop a Proposal

Groups will be formed and RFP’s will be distributed

Groups will begin the process of brainstorming ideas for a Mini-Grant proposal

Groups will discuss and address questions in the RFP in the areas of 1) project description; 2) significance/rationale/evidence; 3) anticipated difficulties; 4) timeline; 5) outcomes; 6) evaluation; 7) dissemination and 8) projected budget


Critique Mini-Grants

  • Groups will be formed and Mini-Grant proposals will be provided
  • Groups will read the proposals, use the criteria from the RFP and decide on whether the proposal should be funded or not
  • CI-STEP team will share whether the proposals provided to groups were funded and the rationale for the decision

Brainstorm Ideas on How to Improve/Modify Mini-Grant RFP’s

Are we helping our students reach graduation?

Are you (and your colleagues) doing all you can to help IUPUI meet their mission of increasing graduation rates and reducing attrition?

What efforts can you make to help contribute to the call for 1 million additional graduates? Do you have an idea that CI-STEP could help with?