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2012 NSF S-STEM Projects Meeting!
Summary of Monday’s Session
Bert E. Holmes
Planning Committee
Top 10 Highlights from the
Opening Sessions
10. It is NOT about the Money
Sunday Evening Student Videos: Watching the student testimonials
during Sunday dinner clearly reminded everyone why all of you work
so hard for so little financial reward.
Monday morning Plenary:
1. Matthew Richey summarized what all of you told us about
your S-STEM project
---New PIs worry about recruitment of scholars, the financial aid
component and building cohorts.
---Experienced PIs have a slightly different perspective, they
worry about financial resources to provide sustainability.
However, both groups of PIs agree that they work very hard for little
financial reward.
2. Joyce Evans, Lead Program Officer for S-STEM, acknowledged
that NSF realizes “we know the PIs are not in it for the money”.
9. It is about NSF Annual and Final Reports
1. Annual reports summarize results for the most recent 12
months in clear, concise language. The annual report is a
formative report.
2. The final report gives an overall perspective of the project:
What worked, what got institutionalization, gives a 5-year synopsis
of your program. The final report is a summative report.
The ideal report is 10 ± 5 pages (maybe a few more if pictures NSF
can use are included as an appendix)
Do not include confidential information in the annual or final
report (SS #, phone numbers, GPA, etc.)
8. Recruitment
1. The best recruiters are current S-STEM scholars.
2. A key is coordination with your financial aid office, the
office of admissions, and the office of student support (Student
Life)
3. Transfer student recruitment could benefit from faculty and
Scholar visits to the campuses of the two-year schools
4. Recruiting students who are in high school is often more of a
challenge than recruiting students already enrolled in your college.
But, working with high schools can establish a sustainable
relationship/pipeline.
5. S-STEM does NOT focus on underrepresented populations.
7. Retention
1. Use the same guidelines for “academic ability” and for
“retention of scholarship” as used by your campus.
2. Students who leave the grant program can be replaced by
existing students.
3. LLC are very effective in retaining students.
4. Mathematics preparation is an common concern in many
STEM disciplines.
5. Targeted tutoring can be effective.
6. Strong and effective cohorts with strong faculty or peermentors can be very effective.
6. Building Cohorts can be the Foundation for your
Program
1. Opening fall picnic (ice fishing, sailing)
2. Seminars with a topical focus
3. Shared research experiences
4. Establish a consistent meeting time/place for cohort activities
5. Don’t over schedule.
6. Let the students organize some of their extracurricular
activities.
5. Living and/or Learning Communities, LLC.
1. Tutoring on location in the Living Community
2. Enrollment in common courses or all Scholars in one section
of the same course can both be effective.
3. Multi-semester learning communities.
4. Two-year campuses and commuter schools have very different
challenges than the residential campuses.
5. Uneven math preparation can be a challenge.
6. To be effective the Registrar’s Office needs to be your friend.
4. Mentoring
1. Training for both peer- and faculty-mentors.
2. Each first-year Scholar needs to have a Faculty
Champion/Advisor.
3. Peer mentors can show incoming Scholars the services
available and Scholars often prefer to talk to another student.
4. Hard for the students and the faculty to find the time to
schedule all the meetings if you over-program your mentoring plan.
5. What is the backup plan if the mentor-mentee relationship is
not working?
3. Evaluation is 250%
worse than a fourletter word.
I learned that in terms of
evaluation,
I would much rather be
Alina Martinez (at right)
describing Abt &
Associates’ job of
providing Program
Assessment for NSF than
David Green from ICF International
describing the S-STEM Database
website.
My summary: The data collected by
the S-STEM website is used by Abt &
Associates to provide assessment of
NSF’s S-STEM Program from a height
of 35,000 feet.
It is not an assessment of your
project.
At the 35,000 foot level it does not
matter that your recorded that a
student worked 5 hours/week when
it was actually 10 hours/week.
2. What will be the second most remembered
aspect of this PI meeting?
What is #2?
2. We ate a lot!!!
1. What will be the number one
remembered aspect of this meeting?
What is #1?
1. We meet lots of new colleagues
and made lots of new friends
that will establish sustainable
networks to help our projects
succeed.
Thanks for your attention.

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