Student Research Position
The Swearer Center for Public Service is seeking a Brown University undergraduate (graduating in December 2014 or May 2015) or graduate student to help design and execute a learning outcomes research project for its Social Innovation Fellowship. Each year, the Social Innovation Fellowship provides 15-20 students with up to $4,000 to grow a social venture over the summer, supported by a year of intensive skills training, complementary coursework, and a community of social entrepreneurs on campus offering mentorship and critique. Since our first class in 2009, the SI Fellowship has invested in over 75 students at Brown University launching or building social ventures.
Based on anecdotal evidence, we know that students are building critical skills and developing valuable knowledge that extends beyond the bounds of their venture. However, to date, we have not conducted any formal evaluation to measure this learning. We plan to launch a learning outcomes research project for the 2014 cohort beginning in January 2014, which will systematically assess the skills that students are developing through this program, using both qualitative and quantitative measures.
Following are the goals of this project:
- Measure what students learn through their time in the SI Fellowship in terms of concrete skills, liberal learning goals, and attitudes about themselves and entrepreneurial work
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the program, identifying areas of strength and areas for further improvement
- Place the SI Fellowship within the context of a higher education by demonstrating the value of “high-impact practices”* as a core element of one’s undergraduate career
- Gain insight into the elements of the fellowship that can be leveraged as a model for similar programs in other contexts
Specifically, we are interested in assessing fellows’ development around three categories of skills: liberal learning skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, and integrative learning), entrepreneurial skills, and leadership skills.
The graduate student will be responsible for the following:
- Help Swearer Center staff select appropriate assessment tools and administer the assessments with students;
- Design an e-portfolio structure to capture student work and reflections;
- Analyze qualitative and quantitative data captured through assessments and assignments to measure learning growth and outcomes
We are seeking candidates with the following qualifications:
- Demonstrated experience conducting student learning evaluations
- Demonstrated experience with both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.
- Strong detail orientation
- Experience with applied learning programs and/or social change work a plus
The selected student will be paid with a stipend per semester; undergraduates may also work with us to develop an Independent Study for academic credit. We are seeking a student who can commit to working on this project for at least two semesters (Spring ’14 and Fall ’14). Interested students should send a CV, letter of interest, and an example of an evaluation or research project they have conducted to Lizzie Pollock, Assistant Director of Social Entrepreneurship at email@example.com.
* See “Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education” by Randy Bass