Welcome to the September Assessment Workgroup Newsletter! Last month we highlighted the amazing work done by our SWE member volunteers in K-12 Outreach through the data that we analyze each month. In this newsletter, we would like to share some insight on how that data is used to sponsor these impactful outreach events. We would also like to introduce you to one more Assessment Workgroup member.
- Melissa Jones recently joined this fiscal year and did the article for this newsletter. She is a Software Test/Systems Engineer for Honeywell Aerospace.
Strength in Numbers: How Program Measurements Impact Outreach Grant Opportunities
Data comes from SWE sections who are encouraged to report their numbers for all outreach events; thus helping us to identify and record the work that is done in the Society. This information is also used create S.M.A.R.T goals for the next year. For example, a section may have completed XX outreach events targeting YYY students FY17. Based on actuals from the previous year, we can plan to increase that number by a certain percentage, such as 10%. Actuals, such as attendee information, attendance, and interest are critical to determining the success of future events. This use of actuals is only one aspect where the use of numbers serves as a launching pad to host more successful outreach events.
The use of numbers can aid in obtaining SWE Program Development Grants (PDG) which are used to fund many SWE initiatives including Outreach events. The metrics from these events allow us to communicate with our stakeholders and are critical to obtaining the funds for future programs. In FY16/17, the SWE PDG provided funds for 40+ K-12 outreach events which hosted over 3,000 participants. These types of numbers are important throughout the application process. When requesting PDG funding, applicants must enter expected attendee information; including gender ratio, student/adult ratio, and certain demographic information. Recipients are also required to complete a post event close out report to capture the actuals of the event. Planning hours, the number of volunteers, and attendees (boy/girl) are some of the information that is submitted in the report. The close out report is also influential in determining whether a section receives funding for a second year.
Another aid that is used for event analysis are the attendee’s survey results. The results of the survey assessment are a way for the PDG committee to determine which activities the participants enjoyed. In some cases, pre/post event surveys are used to measure participant’s confidence in STEM, interest in pursuing a career in STEM, and knowledge of what an engineer does. Post-event results help to capture the impact and effectiveness of activities during the event. Measuring programs in this capacity allows us to show funders the value of our outreach initiatives. By SWE sections completing this quantitative and qualitative assessment data, we are enabled to communicate with funding sources, share best practices for successful events, and improve programs based on participant feedback.
We reached out to an actual PDG awardee for insight on how metrics are used. The Tampa Bay Area Professional Section received a PDG award in January 2017 to host a STEM Movie Event and Discussion for SWENexters. Here’s a snippet of their Q&A:
- How have the metrics helped with your outreach event?
- Metrics are the baseline for all planning activities for our section. At a minimum, metrics are used to determine attendee participation and venue selection. With this information, we can plan the content for the event as well as determine how many volunteers are needed, how much food needs to be provided, and many other details of the event.
- Q) How did the grant help to increase your metrics?
- A) The funds provided by the grant allowed for us to accommodate even more students than we initially anticipated! Due to the funds, we were able to include 20 more students and parents for the event. We were also able to provide small tote bags with various goodies for each student. This additional money resulted in an increase in attendee participation and positive feedback – metrics we use in planning for future events.
Outreach by the Numbers
The Outreach Committee publishes the SWENextEd monthly e-newsletter as part of our efforts to increase exposure of and participation in SWE’s K-12 Educator membership and related programs. We currently have 316 SWENextEd subscribers. We also publish SWENext monthly e-newsletters that all our K-8 and 9-12 grade SWENext members receive.
There are 73 registered SWENext Clubs worldwide. The Outreach Committee is developing tools and resources to support our growing SWENext Clubs program. This includes an on-going SWENext Club Challenge that will bring a club to WE17.
There are 3,011 current SWENext student members world wideand 2,375 SWENext adult members, which brings our total to 5,386 SWENext present members. We also have 282 SWE K-12 Educator members. We will be featuring a SWENexter in our next Constance & Nano Comic and recognizing our amazing students at WE17 through the SWENext Awards program.
So far this year, members reported 32 outreach events using the Outreach Metric Tool, showing an increase in entries from July to August. This brings our all-time total up to 2641 outreach events reported by SWE members.
Since kicking off FY18, members reached 2154 girls, bringing the all-time total up to 191913 girls impacted by SWE members at outreach events.
Sixty-seven SWE members volunteered for outreach events led by SWE members for FY18. Two of those events included a Parent Educator Program.
To find out more about the data analyzed by the Assessment Workgroup of the Outreach Committee, please see our monthly Assessment Report and Region/section Report. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Mengel or Darcy Andersen, SWE Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.