Gaining perspective: an examination of the short- and long-term effectiveness and helpfulness of the University of Missouri McNair Scholars Program
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase the attainment of PhD degrees by students from groups underrepresented in doctoral education. This indicates the need for program activities and services to have both an immediate and lasting effect on assisting participants in achieving the overall goal of the program. The current study utilized the logic model approach to develop a framework designed to capture the short- and long-term effectiveness and helpfulness of the University of Missouri McNair Scholars Program. The investigation was unique because it examined the perspectives of program participants at different stages of their academic lives: before participating in the program, immediately following their participation in the program (past participants) and while or after completing graduate a degree (alumni). The findings of the study suggest that overall, both past participants and alumni found the program activities and services to be helpful and effective; particularly those related to: conducting and presenting research, the graduate admissions process, and faculty mentor interaction. Additionally, alumni agreed that the program: (1) contributed to the increase in their knowledge of and ability to perform various activities related to entering, pursuing, and completing a graduate degree; (2) enhanced their undergraduate experience; (3) contributed to their success as graduate students and; (4) encouraged their consideration of obtaining a doctorate. These finding provided evidence that the program has both an immediate and lasting effect on students throughout their different academic stages. The framework developed for the study may be helpful to other program administrators as it displays student outcomes and impacts in a way that can be observed by policymakers and other stakeholders who define policies and allocate funding. Information such as this may be helpful in our efforts to ensure that more students from underrepresented groups have the opportunity to be adequately prepared to not only enter, but complete the PhD.
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