Improving Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes
The Discovery Center was founded on two principles that continue to fuel our passion for our work. We seek to improve teaching and learning with specific attention to teaching and learning in STEM disciplines (science, mathematics, engineering, technology
We contribute to equitable access, opportunity, and outcomes for learners by conducting research, assessment, and evaluation of education initiatives in Ohio and across the US with explicit attention to project/program impact on and effectiveness for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Among our projects, we promote consideration of persons from groups historically underserved and underrepresented in STEM education and STEM disciplines, including women, individuals of color, persons with disabilities, first-generation college students, and those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Areas of Focus
Equity in STEM Education and Careers
- Evaluation of Leadership, Empowerment, and Advancement for STEM Women Faculty (LEAF) (NSF/ADVANCE)
College and Career Readiness
- Evaluation of Miami University Dream Keepers Project: A Grow-Your-Own Initiative (2015-2018)
Focus Area: College and Career Readiness
Project Description: The Dream Keepers Program (DK) is a college and career readiness initiative that targets high-achieving multicultural students in urban school districts in the greater Cincinnati Area. Miami University faculty and undergraduates collaborate with local educators to engage high school students in a series of sessions designed to enhance key dimensions of college readiness (e.g., cognitive strategies, self-management, and college knowledge). While DK assists students in enrolling in the college of their choice, the primary goal of the program is to instill in students, skills needed for successful college completion and graduation. The Discovery Center assists in collecting perceptual data from participating high school students, college student mentors, and high school site facilitators, as part of the DK Program evaluation. Data is collected prior to, during, and after participation in program activities. Referenced below is a post-questionnaire developed for participating high school students asking participants to reflect on their future higher education plans, including their preparedness for attending college.
Product/Publication: High School College and Career Readiness Post-Questionnaire, Spring 2016 (see Resources Library)
Non-Academic Barriers to Learning
- Evaluation of Making Ohio AWARE: Building Statewide Mental Health First Aid Capacity (DHHS SAMHSA/NITT AWARE) (2014-2019)
Focus Area: Non-Academic Barriers to Learning
Project Description: The Making Ohio AWARE project, is a collaboration among the Ohio Department of Education, the Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs (Miami University), the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success, as well as several state Educational Service Centers (ESCs). The project focuses on raising awareness of mental health needs among school-aged youth and increasing statewide and local capacity to develop, implement, and sustain the delivery of integrated, comprehensive, evidence-based mental health and behavioral health services for youth and families. As the external evaluator for the project, the Discovery Center collects impact and process data for behavioral and mental health awareness resources, activities, and strategies addressing youth violence, and healthy child and youth development. Supplemental to these activities is the Discovery Center’s role in coordinating, project goals, objectives, and activities with targeted data collection activities. Through the creation and development of a Coordination and Integration Plan (C&I Plan), Discovery has assisted the AWARE project team, and its partners in strategically organizing and implementing project-related activities.
Product/Publication: Coordination and Integration Plan (see Resources Library)
Elementary and Secondary STEM Education
- Evaluation of Targeted MSP: The University of Buffalo/Buffalo Public Schools Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (NSF/MSP)
- Evaluation of the BioXFEL Center: Biology with X-Ray Lasers (NSF/STC)