Evaluation and Impact
BRAINS program evaluation is comprised of both formative as well as summative evaluation approaches. Formative evaluation techniques are necessary to support program improvement and ensure that the programs are continuously effective in reaching their intended goals. Because BRAINS is building on existing successful programming, the formative evaluation aspects will focus on whether the program adaptation and implementation is appropriate for the field of neuroscience. The elements of summative evaluation will assess the extent to which desired program outcomes have been achieved and the overall program impact. Both summative and formative evaluations are essential to the success of BRAINS and its long-term sustainability.
1. Evaluation Team
The Center for Workforce Development (CWD) at the University of Washington serves as the evaluator for this project. CWD has served as assessment consultants on a number of related National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant-funded projects including the UW ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant, LEAD, WEBS, and On-Ramps into Academia as well as the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences ADVANCE grant. CWD has also evaluated numerous NSF-funded projects related to science and engineering diversity. For more information about The Center for Workforce Development, please visit their website at www.engr.washington.edu/cwd.
2. Program Impact
Our inaugural BRAINS symposium in January 2013 was a huge success. Participants and panelists alike brought incredible insight, experience and wisdom to our gathering and reported leaving with a renewed spirit and a set of tools to apply to their careers. What follows are a few quotes from the post-symposium evaluation survey, e-mails sent to the BRAINS team, and annual survey of participants:
- “Hearing the stories of others enlightened me to the possibilities ahead. There is no set path and most barriers can be circumvented. I feel encouraged and motivated to take my challenges head on knowing that I am not alone in my journey.” 2013 Participant
- “I now have a strong network of minority scientists who I can both relate to and whom I can give and from whom I can receive advice.” 2013 Participant
- “BRAINS didn’t just tell me that I needed to do these things and that they were important. It has been explaining how to do these things.” 2013 Participant
- “I feel as though a heavy weight has been lifted and I am more free to move and navigate my career unencumbered by unnecessary fears and insecurities. I feel encourage that I am not alone in my struggle and I feel supported and lifted by a caring community.” 2013 Participant
- “The support, feedback and the new connections made at BRAINS are priceless. I have a new outlook that is refreshing and hopeful.” 2013 Participant
- “I feel encouraged to take my challenges head on knowing that I am not alone in my journey.” 2013 Participant
- “The BRAINS symposium was by far, the most valuable and enriching symposium I have ever been a part of to date... I must say, you have created something magical. The comments, perspectives and concerns expressed during the past four days are still resonating in my mind and heart. I have an even greater passion now ... to continue to share all I have learned to make the paths of others just a bit brighter and lighter.” 2013 Panelist
In a longitudinal survey of BRAINS participants, they attested to significant improvements in:
- The quality of their mentoring relationships
- Networking activities, especially collaborating with colleagues
- Their sense of belonging within neuroscience
- Satisfaction with their career progression
- Balancing work with personal demands
See the images below for more details on the symposium experience and BRAINS program impact.