The Application of Logic Modeling to the Inter-ethnic/Interdisciplinary Mentoring Institute for Graduate Education

Perry, Kedrick, Higher Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Wathington, Heather, EDLF, University of Virginia

Over the past several years, the mandate of The Inter-ethnic/Interdisciplinary Mentoring Institute for Graduate Education at the University of Virginia has been to promote a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment for diverse graduate and professional students. Specifically, the objectives of the Mentoring Institute have been to: a) Enhance the educational experience of first and second year graduate students and facilitate their successful transition to teaching and researching and; b) Increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of marginalized groups at the University of Virginia.
Looking at this student affairs program, just as with many others, involves asking the questions: What resources are the program using? What type of programming is occurring? What are its goals? Will it be impactful? There is also an ever increasing concern for how to convey the program and its objectives in a succinct manner to participants and other stakeholders. The field of student affairs has not generated many dynamic or innovative approaches over the years in addressing how to tersely convey program theory or how to prepare a program for assessment.

The purpose of this capstone project is to demonstrate how a tool, the logic model, can help the higher education community better understand how a program works by unambiguously identifying what inputs are a part of the program, the processes that occur within the program, and what goals the program is striving for. Moreover, it is an active tool that can assist with the contextualization of the program within the greater university by allowing stakeholders to interpret resource streams and lines of accountability.
Information to create the logic model was gathered from several different sources: mentoring literature, logic model literature, program materials, and most importantly, interviews with stakeholders in the Mentoring Institute. The interviewees were program administrators, faculty members, and graduate student participants. The literature yielded guiding principles by which to create the logic model such as the amount of detail to include, how to ascertain if the model expresses a coherent story, or if the model is logical to interpret and follow.

Based on all information attained, the implementer developed a logic model that clearly specifies the resources that are being invested into the Mentoring Institute, the processes that are/should be occurring, and the [expected] outcomes. This information is beneficial when articulating program goals and during evaluation or modification phases. With this model, the program director or other stakeholders will have an expedient tool that will allow them to understand streams of answerability and present the logic of the program to outside entities.

This capstone project is significant because it introduces logic modeling in student affairs practice as a means to rationalize and more pithily relate the inner workings and aims of a program in order to create a shared vision for all those involved. Additionally, this project brings together the fields of pre-evaluation and student affairs and offers a new way to examine a student affairs program.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
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