The University of Alaska received National Science Foundation (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funding to implement “Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments” (Alaska ACE) in 2013. The evaluation focused on EPSCoR’s education, outreach, and diversity/workforce development (EOD) activities, measuring participant satisfaction and the extent to which activities contributed to building community readiness for adaption to changing environments and to future research capacity.
An outcomes-based approach was used to evaluate the impact of the EOD activities. The evaluation plan was framed around the EOD logic model, which defined several short-term outcomes to help determine if the goals were met. These outcomes were organized around themes common to informal science education: interest or engagement; self-efficacy (sense of ability); awareness, knowledge or understanding; and behavior changes.
Usefulness of Findings
Evaluation results were suitable for determining if the project’s EAD requirements were met, but also suggested ways in which the project – or other education and outreach efforts pursued by EPSCoR – could be made even better going forward.