Boosting Grant Applications from Faculty at MSIs
Faculty at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) make considerable contributions to educating and training science leaders. Yet, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has received few proposals from MSI faculty over time. This project, underwritten by NSF grant no. 2127208, will implement an intervention that will support MSI faculty in two ways. First, MSI faculty will be granted time to write and submit proposals to the NSF. Second, faculty will be mentored through the proposal preparation process. The project will evaluate the impacts of the intervention by collecting and analyzing data from mentees, i.e., MSI faculty participants. The intervention is expected to increase NSF proposal submissions by MSI faculty, improve their proposal preparation skills, and in the long run, contribute to greater inclusion of faculty at MSIs in STEM. Undergraduate students will support the research process by assisting with data collection and analysis.
Prior initiatives suggest that a proposal mentoring intervention is likely to change behavior through several channels, e.g., information awareness and feedback, role models and networks, cognitive load theory, and metacognitive awareness. Underlying these different theories of change, is a factor that seems to have been taken for granted: faculty’s time availability. This research will directly tackle time constraints by offering MSI faculty mentees a course release to write proposals and address other constraints through intensive mentoring, workshops, and debriefing. Findings will be derived from a mixed-methods approach that combines quantitative and qualitative data analyses (i.e., surveys and focus groups). Impacts will be assessed by comparing different outcomes, in particular proposal submissions to NSF, before and after participating in the intervention across a treatment group of mentees and a control group of those who applied but were not admitted. Findings will be disseminated at academic conferences, meetings with federal agencies such as NSF, and by means of a final report to be posted on the National Bureau of Economic Research website.
Danielle Dickens is an associate professor of psychology at Spelman College. Her research interests include the intersectionality of social identities, underrepresentation in STEM areas, and the academic and career development of Black women.
James Poterba is the Mitsui Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the President and CEO of the NBER. His research straddles the fields of public and financial economics, with particular emphasis on tax policy and on the determinants of retirement security.
Angelino Viceisza is an associate professor of economics at Spelman College and an NBER research associate. His research focuses on behavioral and experimental economics, with applications in development, household finance, and entrepreneurship.