Plenary II: Are We Measuring and Interpreting What We Value about Programs?
Clifton Poodry—Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Kelly Mack—Project Kaleidoscope; Daryl E. Chubin—Independent Consultant;
Anthony L. DePass—Long Island University-Brooklyn
Regardless of the interventions utilized, success for many programs designed to broaden participation in science and research related careers often is judged by progress toward the outcomes mandated by the funder of the program. For several programs, the ultimate goal has been the increase in diversity of those in the PhD ranks that has been translated to be the number underrepresented students entering doctoral programs by the end of the program’s funding period. This principal metric has, especially in the past, been the measure upon which grant reviewers and programs have relied on to determine the effectiveness of a program. With the obvious pressure for funding renewal, some PIs have employed extreme tactics that include undergraduate students signing contracts under the threat of repayment of program support if the student decides not to pursue doctoral study.
The utilization of this primary metric has also led many to question the efficacy of many programs as the number of PhDs from underrepresented groups in many science disciplines remains low. This plenary session will explore measures that would appear to counter some of the current efficacy interpretations. It will shed light on progress toward increasing diversity in the scientific workforce that might have been missed. In sum: Are we asking the right questions? Are we misinterpreting the reality of our programs based on the data we choose to acknowledge? Would different metrics better reflect what we value while serving both programs and their students?