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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Utah
  • Ramon Barthelemy
  • (231) 578-7885
  • Pearl Sandick
  • Jordan M Gerton
Award Date:01/10/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 198,143
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 198,143
  • FY 2020=$198,143
Start Date:01/15/2020
End Date:06/30/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:RAPID: The Impacts of Graduate Education Policies and Practices on the Success and Career Goals of Graduate Students in Physics & Astronomy
Federal Award ID Number:2000328
DUNS ID:009095365
Parent DUNS ID:009095365
Program:Integrative Activities in Phys
Program Officer:
  • Kathleen McCloud
  • (703) 292-8236

Awardee Location

Street:75 S 2000 E
County:Salt Lake City
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Utah
Street:115 S 1400 E Rm 201
City:Salt Lake Cty
County:Salt Lake City
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Understanding and supporting graduate education policies and practices is crucial to maintaining a well-trained workforce in the US, particularly for careers that require a PhD in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Within this mandate it is essential that all persons, regardless of background, are included in STEM training at the PhD level. Among STEM disciplines, physics has shown persistent issues regarding representation of persons from diverse backgrounds. This project will assess current reforms in a US-based graduate physics and astronomy program to understand their impacts on students’ educational experiences and success. The results of this study will be used to refine the program at the University of Utah and to develop best practices that can be adopted nationwide. During the 2018-19 academic year, admissions into the Physics & Astronomy graduate program at the University of Utah was halted while a complete overhaul of all aspects of the program was initiated by the Department. The program reform included the recruitment and admissions process, orientation and teaching assistant training, advising practices and other student support, the curriculum, and the exam structure. The first incoming class of graduate students has now entered the new program and are navigating these new policies and practices. The investigators will conduct a qualitative semi-ethnographic study on the experiences and outcomes of graduate students under the newly revised graduate program. This will be done by conducting multiple interviews with the new cohort of students throughout their first year in the program. Additionally, open ended survey data will be collected from the legacy students in the program to understand their experiences under the previous policies. This will offer a pseudo-control group to further understand the changes created for students by the new policies. In addition, the results will be the basis for a longitudinal study of graduate student experiences at the University of Utah, and will be disseminated to the broader community through the literature, conference presentations, and visits to other departments. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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