West Virginia University’s College of Human Resources and Education Program Evaluation Research Center works hand-in-hand with the University’s 2020 Strategic Plan to help it establish national research prominence and improve the quality of life in West Virginia.
The center collaborates with WVU faculty to complete effective education-related research through program evaluation, research design, data analysis and promotion of results.
“PERC has an impact through supporting the pursuit of external research funding, offering a training ground for graduate students in real-life research and evaluation, and the affect of the projects themselves on education throughout West Virginia,” said Dr. Reagan Curtis, PERC director and assistant professor in the WVU College of Human Resources and Education.
Since its establishment in July 2011, PERC completed two major grant projects and has three ongoing projects in the College of Human Resources, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and Health Sciences Center. Many other projects are also in the works with funding proposals under review.
“PERC differs from other academic entities because of the explicit goal of being self-funded, if not being profitable. We are well on our way of realizing that this semester, and we want to continue to grow,” Curtis said. “That capability allows us to advance our students’ educational paths, too.”
PERC projects include:
-Engineers of Tomorrow. PERC provided internal evaluation for Engineers of Tomorrow, a program funded by the National Science Foundation that encourages Appalachian students, especially underrepresented populations, to pursue higher education in the science, math, engineering and technology disciplines.
– Quality Rating and Improvement for West Virginia Childcare. PERC conducted research design development and data analysis to another successful endeavor, Quality Rating and Improvement for West Virginia Childcare, which was funded by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau for Children and Families.
-Research Experience for Teachers. In research also funded by the National Science Foundation, PERC provides ongoing evaluation on how technology and research training for high school teachers impacts the attitudes and capabilities of both students and teachers.
-Walk the Talk. This study, funded by Education Alliance, targets and attempts to re-engage at-risk high school students in post-secondary opportunities. PERC conducts video interviews for feedback on students’ experiences.
-WV eMentoring. PERC provides research evaluation for WV eMentoring, which pairs high school students with an eMentor to discuss graduation eligibility, higher education and career plans. PERC sent a proposal to the National Institute for Health to assess the program’s impact.
“Synergy exists between what is abstractly considered in the classroom and hands-on, practical experiences through research by PERC,” said Malayna Bernstein, professor in the WVU College of Human Resources and Education Department of Curriculum and Instruction/Literacy Studies. “Mentorship occurs between the graduate students and professors, and the support of professors contributes to the development of students. The entire university is benefitting from PERC.”
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CONTACT: Christie Zachary, Human Resources and Education