Program Evaluation Development and Standards
– By Melissa K. Demetrikopoulos, Ph.D

Program Evaluation is not just a requirement of essentially all funded projects, but, done properly, should inform program decisions.   Program evaluation should minimally inform program faculty, stakeholders, and funding personnel about program process, effectiveness, and progress in meeting benchmarks and reaching program goals and objectives.   Program evaluation plans include both formative and summative evaluation such that evaluation efforts measure both ongoing development and implementation of the program and the success of the program.  The summative evaluation will be tied to measurable program goals and objectives such as increased retention, enhanced skills, changes in attitudes or motivations, or participant enrollment in further educational opportunities.  Thus, program evaluation plans should be developed in concert with the program plans to ensure that goals and objectives are measurable and that program activities and evaluation efforts are effectively tied to measurable outcomes.

Programs serving underrepresented groups or individuals in vulnerable populations will be cognizant of the importance of having culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate evaluation efforts.  This is not simply a matter of translating an instrument into another language, but may involve the development of new instruments that address the needs of the specific population(s) engage in the program.  Measuring outcomes with inappropriate instruments may not allow the program to document outcomes or may produce misleading findings.

Ideally, program evaluation should be conducted by a professional who is external to the project, and so, many funding sources require the use of an external evaluator.  Since it is important that the evaluation plan and program design are informed by each other, it is important to engage with the external evaluator in the early stages of program design and proposal planning.  In choosing an external evaluator, it is important that they have an understanding of both your specific project and proper evaluation standards.  The American Evaluation Association is a member of the Joint Committee on Standards for Education Evaluation which have collaboratively developed program evaluation standards. The first set of standards are grouped together as utility standards which address several ideas including that evaluation should meet the needs of the stakeholders and that it should address this at the individual and group level as well as guard against any possible misuse of the evaluation effort.  The second and third sets of standards, feasibility and propriety standards, are critical to all program evaluation and are especially important considerations with programs that serve underrepresented groups or individuals in vulnerable populations.  Feasibility and propriety standards, reflect the reality that there are limitations to what one could theoretically evaluate based on what is realistically and ethically possible to evaluate.  The fourth and fifth sets of standards, accuracy and evaluation accountability standards address the need for evaluation to be technically rigorous, accurate, and justified.  A summary of the program evaluation standards can be found at

Melissa K. Demetrikopoulos, Ph.D. is the Chair of the Division of Program Development and Assessment at the Institute for Biomedical Philosophy. Melissa is a member of the American Evaluation Association and has a leadership role in the STEM Education and Training TIG of the AEA. She regularly conducts culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate mixed methods evaluations and has extensive experience with the evaluation of federally funded STEM workforce training and professional development projects (e.g. NSF, NIH, CDC, and US Dept of Ed) as well as privately funded educational projects (e.g. UNCF and HHMI). Melissa’s research interests include Partnership formation, Broadening participation, Scientific literacy, and enhancement of academic support and research opportunities for underrepresented minorities including examining strategies that support student success in research. She provides professional development training on inter-institutional collaborations, building consensus, and partnership formation. Dr. Demetrikopoulos’ successful approach to obtaining grant funding for academic institutions begins with a needs assessment and long-term granting strategy that is designed to match departmental needs with the Strategic Plan and Mission of the Institution.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Invisible Labor of Minority Faculty
Daniel A. Estupiñan

Like many postsecondary students who identify as members of the Latinx community, I experienced a variety of personal and academic challenges while in college. Each time, I sought guidance from faculty members who shared my experiences and empathized with the challenges I was facing. Yet, even at a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) like New Mexico State University, there were few faculty members who were reflective of my identity and background. Those who did were often disproportionately burdened by the invisible labor that comes with serving as a source of mentorship for first-generation and low-income students of color.

Across the United States, colleges and universities have struggled to reflect the growing diversity of their student bodies within their faculties. Even though the Latinx community now represents eighteen percent of the nation’s postsecondary students, only five percent of faculty members identify as members of the Latinx community. While the mere presence of these faculty members serves as a form of empowerment for historically marginalized students, inequities in representation place disproportionate burdens of service on faculty members of color.

Oftentimes, faculty members of color are highly visible in otherwise predominately white institutions. For some historically marginalized and underrepresented students, these faculty members represent critical sources of academic and personal support. Yet, for faculty members of color, the burden of mentorship oftentimes takes the form of uncompensated emotional labor that ultimately becomes a “professional and emotional balancing act.” At the same time, these faculty members often go unrecognized by their universities, as their efforts to mentor historically marginalized students are often perceived as “natural or self-serving.”

To a large extent, these inequities are rooted in the chronic underrepresentation of Latinx individuals in academia. While this disparity in representation is a collective challenge in higher education, HSIs have a unique obligation in leading efforts to promote greater racial and ethnic diversity within their faculties. By definition, these institutions are publicly recognized for their role in expanding access to postsecondary education within the Latinx community. Thus far, they have been incredibly successful in fulfilling that role, as approximately sixty-six percent of undergraduate Latinx students are enrolled at an HSI. Yet, while these institutions have succeeded in serving as a pathway to higher education, they have struggled in truly serving their Latinx students.

To meet the unique needs of their highly diverse student bodies, HSIs must pursue robust and comprehensive strategies for reflecting their student’s diversity within the faculties that serve them. These strategies should encompass policies that not only place greater value on service in the tenure process, but that also compensate faculty members for the extensive mentorship and guidance they provide. At the same time, it is critical that HSIs play an active role in encouraging students of color to pursue postgraduate degrees, while simultaneously supporting those who choose to pursue them. In doing so, HSIs can ensure they are providing their Latinx students with a comprehensive and quality educational experience, while simultaneously empowering faculty members of color with the resources they need to serve as active contributors of knowledge.

Daniel is a graduate student at Harvard University where he studies Social and Urban Policy. In his spare time, Daniel serves as the Co-Editor in Chief of the Harvard Kennedy School Journal of Hispanic Policy and as a research assistant in the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights.

Improving Student Focus During COVID-19

Keeping academically active during Summer and Covid-19
-Nicolas Mendez & Margie Vela, Ph.D.

This summer COVID-19 , social distancing, and the fight for social justice continues to have a profound impact on our way of life. Nevertheless, as we try to reinvent a new equitable and safer normal, we can engage in online training and education courses offered by colleges and universities across the country.

Online courses and programs are being offered in different formats. Participants can enroll in stand-alone courses, certification programs, and full programs. While some offerings are free, others are low cost and still others incur full online tuition. Harvard has adopted a model (, offering online courses in business, computer science, math, and other disciplines. These courses can prove advantageous for learning new skills and knowledge.

Another opportunity is to learn a new language. There are many online resources that use different types of teaching methods for learning a basic understanding for speaking another language. Duolingo1 is a reputable site for learning fundamentals of a language with quizzes and material provided by native speakers of the language. This website is free and has an app for smartphones and tablets. If you prefer learning through interaction with a person, Rype2 offers courses for 10 languages including Spanish, German, Mandarin, and Arabic. This site offers a 7-day free trial. After that fees are approximately $65 per month.

Finally, if you are looking for grant writing training over the summer break, the Jumpstart Grantsmanship Webinar Summer Series by the HSI STEM Hub will guide you through writing a proposal for submission to the NSF HSI Program. This series is funded by the NSF. Webinars are free and are live-streamed every Tuesdays at 3 PM EST through July 28. Participants engage in a Q & A session with presenters. A certificate of participation is awarded for everyone who participates in the live webinar. You can register at ( Recorded webinars will be posted on a 3-week delay to

Nicolas Mendez is a Master student in Industrial Engineering. He is from Bogota, Colombia and completed his Bachelor’s degree at La Salle University in 2018. During his professional career, he has worked in the pharmaceutical industry performing quality control, process analysis and cost evaluations. He is a member of the Recruitment Team for the Department of Industrial Engineering at New Mexico State University, working with middle and high school students to pursue a career in engineering. For his academic program he is working on research composites that will help to reduce waste in industry and re-use of environmental contaminant materials.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources

List of organizations that support diversity in STEM:
Edmundo Medina, M.S., Monica Torres, Ph. D. – Edited by  Margie Vela, Ph. D. 

There are many reasons for us, as STEM educators and professionals, to support diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and activities in STEM fields. We should continually make an effort to consciously be inclusive and supportive of diverse students and colleagues in STEM. And events of May and June of 2020 remind us that we must make every effort to oppose discrimination. This will ensure quality opportunities that will yield a diverse and productive workforce.

There are many organizations that advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in STEM and provide us with strategies, tools, and support to engage in those activities. The list below includes the names of some of those organizations, information about their mission and goals as posted on their websites, as well as their website addresses.

  1. 500 Queer Scientists
    • This webpage is a visibility campaign for LGBTQ+ people and their allies working in STEM and STEM-supporting jobs — a group that collectively represents a powerful force of scientific progress and discovery. 1,107 stories and counting….
  1. American Indian Science and Engineering Society (
    • The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.
  2. Association of Black Psychologists (
    • The Association is organized to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including but not limited to:
      • promoting and advancing the profession of African Psychology
      • influencing and affecting social change; and
      • developing programs whereby psychologists of African descent (hereafter known as Black Psychologists) can assist in solving problems of Black communities and other ethnic groups.
  1. Association of Black Women Physicians (
    • The Association of Black Women Physicians is an organized network of Black women physicians committed to the improvement of public health and welfare, through the advancement of knowledge concerning women and the community health. We endeavor to enhance the personal and professional quality of life of present and future Black women physicians. The Association of Black Women Physicians empowers Black Women to lead in health and wellness for ourselves and the community through premiere educational programs. The organization creates and supports numerous community health and wellness events that continue the tradition and goals set forth by the original charter members.
  2. Black Girls Code (
    • This organization has the purpose of increasing the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. To provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.
  3. Black Girls MAPP (
    • Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls. Girlstart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers.
  4. Code2040
    • Code2040 is a nonprofit activating, connecting, and mobilizing the largest racial equity community in tech to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black and Latinx technologists in the innovation economy. Through events, trainings, early-career programs, and knowledge sharing, Code2040 equips Black and Latinx technologists and their allies with the tools, connections, and care they need to advocate for and achieve racial equity in the tech industry.
  5. LGBT+ STEM (
    • STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have been traditionally thought of as heterosexual, masculine fields and the thought of this can be quite intimidating for those just starting out in the field who don’t fit this mold. This project showcases LGBTQ+ people in the STEM fields, showing the diversity of people that can be found in roles all across the STEM disciplines and hopefully providing some role models for people who are either at a junior stage in their careers, or who are only currently considering the possibility of going into a STEM field.
  6. National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (
    • Through partnerships with like-minded entities, NACME’s scholarship program for under-represented minorities serves as a catalyst to increase the proportion of Black/African American, Native/American Indian, and Latinx/Hispanic American young women and men in STEM careers. We inspire and encourage excellence in engineering education and career development toward achieving a diverse and dynamic American workforce.
  7. National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (
    • NOBCChE is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to assisting black and other minority students and professionals in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional, and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering, and allied fields. We invite you to browse our website, engage with us on social media, talk to our members, attend our annual conference and discover the NOBCChE spirit for yourself.
  8. National Association of Black Geoscientists (
    • The National Association of Black Geologists and Geophysicists (NABGG) is a nonprofit organization established in June of 1981 by a group of black geoscientists in the Houston/Dallas area. This organization is incorporated in the State of Texas with its headquarters in Houston, Texas.
  9. National Association of Mathematicians (
    • The National Association of Mathematicians (NAM) is a non-profit professional organization in the mathematical sciences with membership open to all persons interested in the mission and purpose of NAM, which are promoting excellence in the mathematical sciences and promoting the mathematical development of all underrepresented minorities. NAM was founded under the principles of inclusion and diversity at a time when major American mathematical organizations were excluding mathematicians of color from their membership, editorial boards, research symposia, and other professional activities.
  10. National Black Nurses Association (
    • NBNA serves as the professional voice for over 200,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean and Africa. Through our 115 chapters, we provide countless hours of community-based health care services.
  11. National Conference of Black Political Scientists (
    • The National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) is organized to study, enhance, and promote the political aspirations of people of African descent in the United States and throughout the world. It aims to contribute to the resolution of the many challenges that black people confront. Our organization promotes research in and critical analysis of topics usually overlooked and/or marginalized in political science scholarship. We believe that our scholarship must address wide-ranging “real world” issues and not the narrow, and often manufactured, concerns of the discipline.
  12. National Society of Black Engineers (
    • The mission of the National Society of Black Engineers is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.”
    • The National Society of Black Engineers strives to accomplish the following objectives for our organization:
      • Stimulate and develop student interest in the various engineering disciplines
      • Strive to increase the number of minority students studying engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
      • Encourage members to seek advanced degrees in engineering or related fields and to obtain professional engineering registrations
      • Promote public awareness of engineering and the opportunities for Blacks and other minorities in that profession
      • Function as a representative body on issues and developments that affect the careers of Black Engineers
    • Innovative project ideas are generated and implemented throughout the year on the chapter, regional and national levels. Some of NSBE’s present activities include tutorial programs, group study sessions, high school/junior high outreach programs, technical seminars and workshops, a national communications network (NSBENET), two national magazines (NSBE Magazine and NSBE Bridge), an internal newsletter, a professional newsletter (Career Engineer, a supplement in NSBE Magazine), resume books, career fairs, awards, banquets and an annual national convention.
  13. Out in National Security (
    • Out in National Security (ONS) is a group of national security professionals leveraging our professional networks and individual passion to expand opportunity for current and future colleagues. Merging activism and education, ONS speaks fearlessly in defense of LGBTQIA+ rights, connects like-minded national security practitioners, advances American interests, and improves American security. Defined by principles rather than party, ONS welcomes those with any, or no, political affiliation. As a 501c(3), ONS depends on the support of grants and gifts to grow our community and capability.
  14. Out in Tech (
    • Out in Tech is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that unites the LGBTQ+ tech community. We do this by creating opportunities for our 40,000 members to advance their careers, grow their networks, and leverage tech for social change. To ensure all are seen and heard in the defining sector of our time, we:
      • Inspire queer and questioning youth to explore tech through Out in Tech U
      • Support LGBTQ+ equality and activists with Out in Tech Digital Corps
      • Assist aspiring LGBTQ+ techies with the Out in Tech Coding Scholarship
      • Host 75+ local events annually to bring people together in real life
  1. Pride in STEM (
    • Pride in STEM is a charitable trust run by an independent group of LGBT+ scientists & engineers from around the world. Proud of who we are and what we do. We aim to showcase and support all LGBT+ people in STEM fields.
  2. Society of Black American Surgeons (
    • To improve health, advance science, and foster careers of African American and other underrepresented minority surgeons. To be the preeminent surgical organization and relevant voice in healthcare that:
      • Increases the number of black and underrepresented minority faculty in academic surgery
      • Cultivates development of surgical scientists
      • Promotes members to leadership positions in American and global surgery
      • Eliminates health disparities
  1. Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (
    • At WCAPS, we believe global issues demand a variety of perspectives. That’s why we created a platform devoted to women of color that cultivates a strong voice and network for its members while encouraging dialogue and strategies for engaging in policy discussions on an international scale. Through our dedication to mentorship and partnerships and our passion for changing the global community landscape, we remain committed to achieving our vision of advancing the leadership and professional development of women of color in the fields of international peace, security and conflict transformation.
  2. Women of Color Research Network (
    • Welcome to the Women of Color Research Network (WoCRN). The Women of Color (WOC) Committee of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers recognizes that women of color may face unique challenges to entering and advancing in biomedical careers. Some of these challenges have been well documented and described beginning with the historic 1975 paper by Shirley Malcom, et al. (Malcom, S. M., Hall, P. Q., & Brown, J. W. (1975) The double bind: The price of being a minority woman in science. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science).
    • The WoCRN was created to provide women of color and supporters of their advancement in the biomedical sciences information about the NIH grants process, advice on career development, and a venue or forum for networking and sharing information.

Edmundo Medina holds a medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ), where he found a passion for understanding different biological mechanisms. For his Master’s thesis, he directed a project in the characterization of an ion channel in a heterologous expression system where he developed expertise with neural cell culture and whole-cell patch-clamp techniques. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate at New Mexico State University, focused on projects that combine his clinical knowledge with muscle cell culture and cannabinoid pathways for the treatment of neuromuscular diseases.

Dr. Monica Torres oversees the planning, development and implementation of educational programs at Dona Ana Community College. She works collaboratively with deans, division directors, department chairs and program directors to meet the needs of a diverse community of learners at the community college and the community at large. Dr. Torres has also previously served as an assistant professor, associate professor and department head at NMSU’s Department of English. There, she taught classes, advised graduate students and performed research. As department head she oversaw the operation of the department including curricular, teaching and administrative functions. Torres has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from NMSU. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in American Studies with an emphasis in Cultural Studies.

High Impact Practices

Discourse on Racism in the Science Classroom
– Margie Vela, Ph. D. 

The current state of the country has highlighted many of the inequities faced by people of color in the U.S. Our students are experiencing individual and institutional changes that are manifesting in ways that can be contentious, uncomfortable, and often dangerous in communities where we live and teach. These times can be especially concerning and troubling for students of color and students attending minority-serving institutions. As we move into the fall semester, we have an opportunity and responsibility to engage in conversations that effect positive change at our institutions, in our communities and for our country.

There are many ways to engage in conversations about race and racism that affect our students, our disciplines, our institutions, and our nation. Many institutions of higher education are taking measures to create more inclusive spaces including incorporating diversity into the curriculum, providing cultural competency training for faculty and staff, and dismantling barriers for many underrepresented groups. While these measures are valuable to our institutions, engaging students in our classrooms in conversations about race, inequity, and justice can feel intimidating. Best practices for having these important and difficult conversations are discussed below.

  1. Examine your own identity in relation to that of your students. – Our identity is formed by our lived experiences and values. As we begin to engage in discussions about the experiences of others, we need to have a clear perspective of our biases and how they may relate to the experiences of our students[1]. Yale’s Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning offers a myriad of resources to begin engaging this process (
  2. Learn about the cultures of the students on your campus. – Our HSIs, TCUs, HBCUs, and other MSIs are designated by the racial/ethnic and socio-economic compositions of the student populations. It is important for faculty to learn about the cultures and identity groups of the students the institution serves1. It is also helpful to become familiar with the terms used in civil discourse about race, racism, and culture. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation provides a helpful glossary of terms in the Racial Equity Resource Guide (
  3. Create a safe space in your classroom and protect it. – Outline the expectations for tough discussions in the syllabus. Create a space where students can initiate discussion of uncomfortable topics, and the expectation of suspending the conversation when anyone feels personally attacked or witnesses another student being personally attacked. Discussions should be about issues and solutions, not personal attacks on students[2].
  4. Expect strong emotions. – The Southern Poverty Law Center suggests that facilitators of discussions about race and inequity should expect that this discourse can result in high levels of emotion. Try to prepare for this before you enter into this discussion with your students[3], and be prepared to respond if your student enters into this discussion. UC Berkeley provides a guide that includes information on self-management of strong emotions and role-modeling self-management for students (
  1. Establish class norms with your students. – Many students feel a need for confidentiality when they are sharing their experiences. It is imperative to establish a protocol for your students to enter into a respectful agreement of confidentiality. An extensive list of ground rules is provided by the UCLA Diversity & Faculty Development (
  1. Honor your students’ experience- Diversity in the curriculum helps to ensure that students’ experiences are reflected in course materials. The American Association for Colleges and Universities provides the diversity inclusivity framework ( Community-based research (CBR)  also expresses interest in the students’ communities and experiences. The Haas Center for Public Service shares a model for CBR (   Engaging students with culturally relevant curriculum and research help to ensure that students’ feel valued and heard.

One purpose of higher education is to create a transformational space where students have an opportunity to explore their identities. This includes the various ways students can identify which adds levels of complexity to how student’s view themselves and the world around them. Beyond this growth and transformation, we work towards developing spaces that challenge, inspire, liberate, and transform thoughts that propel students into actions promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity. It is appropriate that the university teach cultural interdependency and facilitate discussions about race and inequity. There is perhaps a no better place to commit to an organizational culture of cultural interdependency than in the classroom.


[1] Amer F.Ahmed & Shayla Herndon-Edmunds. ACUE Community: Classroom Diversity and Inclusive Pedagogy. (, 2018).

[2] Julie Wojtko (personal communication, June 11, 2020).

[3] Southern Poverty Law Center. Let’s Talk: Facilitating Critical Conversations with Students. (, 2019).

Margie Vela holds a Ph.D. in Water Science and Management from New Mexico State University and is a USDA NIFA Fellow. Dr. Vela has devoted her career to diversifying STEM through supporting and training underserved students. Her contributions to broadening participation of underrepresented groups in STEM include serving Delaware State University as the Assistant Director for the Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enrichment; performing analysis on broader impacts as a National Science Foundation Summer Scholar;  and serving Child, Youth, and School Services for Fort Lee, Virginia as the Project Director for the HIRED! Program. She has also designed and lead workshops for college students and researchers on various topics including interdisciplinary research, complex socio-environmental problems, and college success. As a researcher, Dr. Vela has successfully engaged community-based research focused on the relationships of water inequity and educational attainment for communities on the Southern U.S. Border while mentoring and supporting three undergraduate researchers during her doctoral studies. Margie has served as a USAID volunteer consultant for rural organic farmers in Colombia for water use and organizational development.

The HSI STEM Hub prioritizes the health of our staff and the communities we serve. In an effort to maintain social distancing, the Hub is transitioning our grantsmanship trainings to online trainings, webinars, and certification programs. We are excited to be a part of the development of HSI STEM faculty all over the country. We will keep you informed as we release thesetraining materials and begin registration for our webinars.
If you have any questions, pleasecontact us at [email protected].