This article is published in the April 2013 issue.

Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP): Director’s Welcome

Dr. Jane Stout joined CRA in March as the Director of the Center for the Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP).

janeIn September 2012, the National Science Foundation awarded funding for CERP as part of a Broadening Participation in Computing grant to an Alliance of the Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women (CRA-W) and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC). The goal of CERP is to be a national resource for programs that promote research careers and diversity in computing. CERP’s flagship project is the development of the Data Buddies project, which is a database measuring issues of persistence among students and faculty in computing departments nationwide.In addition to its immediate value for program evaluation and benchmarking, this rich source of data will be analyzed in depth for what it can tell the computing community about factors that help thicken the research pipeline and underrepresented minorities and women (URM-Ws) in graduate programs and research careers.

On March 1, 2013, Dr. Jane Stout was hired to be the director of CERP.  She will promote CERP’s unique evaluative capabilities and lead formal evaluation of programs aimed at increasing URM-Ws in computing that are designed and run by CRA-W and CDC, and funded by external grants and sponsors.

Goals for CERP

Dr. Stout’s immediate goal is to work with CRA’s senior statistician, Delicia Mapp, to analyze data that have already been collected. There are many exciting research questions that can be answered with current and incoming data, such as: Are the CRA-W and CDC’s mentorship programs effective in retaining underrepresented students in computing? If so, what are the underlying mechanisms behind the benefits of our programs?

In addition, Stout expressed long-term goals: “Our nation very much needs to increase the number of talented and motivated workers in computing fields, and to make sure that workforce is diverse. With a diversity of experiences comes a diversity of perspectives, which fosters creativity and innovation. My team and I view our evaluation endeavors at CERP as well situated to promote a more diverse computing workforce. Through examining ‘what works’ in CRA-W and CDC’s programs, workshops and lecture series,we will be better able to advise on how best to structure current and future programs aimed at retaining women and individuals from underrepresented minority groups in computing.”

“Another long term goal is to make clear to constituents in other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academic fields and organizations that the DataBuddies project can be a valuable resource in understanding the type of programs that best promote students ’engagement and retention in their fields– particularly students from historically underrepresented groups.”

About the Director

Jane Stout obtained her Ph.D. in social psychology in 2011 at University of Massachusetts Amherst with a concentration in quantitative methods. There, she focused on understanding the many reasons why women pursue certain STEM fields less frequently than men. She continued this program of research as a postdoctoral research associate for two years at the University of Colorado-Boulder before becoming the director of CERP. She is eager to apply her methodological and statistical training to study the efficacy of the many valuable mentorship programs offered by CRA-W and CDC and other intervention programs offered nationwide.