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How we apply for a $2.5M, 5-year EHR CORE grant

STEP #0: Have a new and innovative theoretical approach to statistical analysis and have some data. STEP #1: Distill the idea on to 1-2 pages and send to a friendly NSF Program Officer

STEP #2: Do what they recommend

So, our first step was the 1-pager that we shared with the NSF program officer. That 1 pager was not the ordinary kind. It represented the last 3 years of working and developing the STEM-US Assessment instrument and came from efforts by colleagues from multiple institutions with data from over 1000 HBCU students from Virginia State University. Our instrument, an iteration of the Personal Factors that Influence Academic Behavior (PIAB), is based on a theoretical model that examines specific protective factors and risk vulnerabilities of entering HBCU students. The goal of the person-centered analysis of the data was to produce a characteristic profile of a successful first year student. The STEM-US Assessment now serves as the foundation of a comprehensive Assessment Strategy put forth by the Analytic Hub to investigate the entire learning ecosystem of HBCU's. Because HBCU's are not unique, the characteristics of successful students from VSU are expected to differ from those of students at other HBCU's. This is our hypothesis. Along with the student characteristics, we seek to examine the roles that classroom experiences, campus culture and institutional demographics play in supporting successful matriculation to the 3rd contiguous semester. Hence, our need for a mixed-method, multi-dimensional approach using Representative Design. We are now in the conceptualizing stage of the grant process, which includes gathering of the partners and research collaborators. Our team will be lead by Drs. Avis Jackson and Damon Bryant from Morgan State University’s graduate program in psychometrics. We are recruiting research collaborators, preferably who teach in STEM disciplines. If you are interested and wish to learn more, please email me at

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