Centralized Institutional Training Grant Evaluation. The Graduate School and the Searle Center for Learning and Teaching are in the development stages of a plan for institutional evaluation for graduate student and postdoctoral trainee training programs. This plan will utilize REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture), a secure, web-based application for building and managing online data capture for research studies. This tool will therefore allow for the creation and collection of both quantitative and qualitative data such as focus group feedback, survey data, trainee and mentor outputs and training milestones. Through REDCap, this comprehensive program evaluation plan will include at a minimum:
- Trainee Progress Assessment: Completed by mentor to track trainee progress in research and career development.
- Trainee Assessment of Mentor: Completed by trainee to share feedback with program director(s) regarding mentor communication and support including professional and career development.
- Orientation Survey: Completed by trainees post-orientation to provide feedback on programming and includes a “pre-survey” in which trainees rate their level of confidence in ability in activities associated with conducting research and in other areas of professional development (e.g. communication skills, team-building skills). Identical set of ratings are completed upon completion of the program.
- Exit Form: Completed by trainees upon completion of the program. Used as post-completion survey to rank confidence in abilities identical to pre-survey given at orientation. Trainees also complete permanent contact and next position (outcomes) information crucial for tracking.
The goal of this evaluation system is to create a framework for evaluation of shared goals of many of our training programs (e.g. trainee communication skills and career preparation and exploration) while allowing each individual program to customize these shared goals and to easily add evaluative components specific to their program training goals. One benefit of having a centralized evaluation system is that it will allow us to use assessment data across programs to inform decisions and create best practices to strengthen our graduate student and postdoctoral training experience.