Projects

AIR is conducting an evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Solution Network, an initiative seeking to systematically connect the needs of higher education institutions with support resources via a network approach. The goal of the evaluation is to support the Foundation's larger postsecondary strategy by analyzing and reporting on what works, for whom, and under what circumstances within the Network.

AIR conducted an in-depth examination of articulation policies in six states and their 20 institutions of higher education (IHEs). The study findings are based on more than 100 telephone interviews and focus groups with (a) state-level higher education administrators, policy staff, and representatives from articulation oversight committees; (b) senior academic administrators, faculty, and staff from IHEs; and (c) students who had transferred or were planning to transfer between a 2-year and a 4-year IHE within the state. The findings address policy approaches to articulation, governance structures, the roles played by various stakeholders, and supports provided to transfer students.

AIR, in collaboration with Quality Education for Minorities and the Kapor Center, is examining learning environments that enable undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to thrive and subsequently attain doctoral degrees in science and engineering (S&E). The goals of the study are to (a) identify unique characteristics of S&E learning environments at the 21 HBCUs ranked as top producers of Black baccalaureate degree recipients who earn S&E doctorates (“anchor institutions”), (b) identify HBCUs that have similar characteristics as the anchor institutions and have a high potential to graduate students who go on to earn doctoral degrees, and (c) develop and disseminate a model that builds HBCU capacity to produce graduates who go on to earn S&E doctorates. Click here to access the project website.

Researchers from AIR conducted an evaluation of CareerSource North Central Florida's Opportunity Quest program. The program leveraged U.S. Department of Labor Strengthening Working Families Initiative funding to simultaneously address the job training needs and childcare barriers among low-income, low-skilled parents, giving them the flexibility to train toward a sustainable career path. Through partnerships with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), education and training providers, community-based organizations, and local employers, Opportunity Quest linked custodial parents with flexible childcare resources and supportive services and aimed to provide them with an innovative training program offering occupational and entrepreneurial skills training to help participants develop employability and information technology (IT) skills.

Researchers from AIR are supporting the University System of Georgia (USG) in an evaluation of student motivations toward entering into technical fields. This project aims to help USG understand how postsecondary students—particularly women and students of color—learn about, understand, and take interest in high-demand, technical degree program offerings. This study, along with additional efforts by USG, will help it reach its ultimate goal of increasing the number of women and people of color who know about and engage in a USG offering that prepares for a career in those sectors.

As part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s postsecondary strategy, AIR evaluated a group of organizations, or Channel Partners, in their postsecondary institutional transformation efforts. The goals of the evaluation included understanding the services and resources that Channel Partners provide to clients, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and share lessons learned to support continuous improvement and the development of strategy.

AIR is conducting a consensus study on behalf of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Committee on Defense Research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Other Minority Institutions (MIs) that will examine the status of Department of Defense (DoD) research at HBCUs and other MIs. The goal of the study is to gain understanding of the methods and means necessary to advance research capacity at these institutions to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.

AIR is serving as an evaluation partner for the Data for the American Dream (D4AD) initiative. D4AD supports innovative efforts to expand access to education and career data, with the specific goal of helping students and jobseekers make better career decisions in a changing economy through data-driven information, and especially to help low-income and unemployed Americans access better jobs and education opportunities. AIR’s role is to help grantees, sponsors, and the field learn from these efforts.