7.6 DCI in Reporting and Site Visits

Last updated on 2021/08/25 by Court

DCI Directors provide formal updates on the ERC DCI strategic plan as well as the ERC's DCI activities and accomplishments through the ERC Annual Report and annual NSF Site Visit. Additional DCI reporting may be required for internal ERC meetings, partner institution process, grant writing, conference presentations or papers, and other ERC or campus reporting needs. The ERC's website should also include DCI content and may include ERC DCI strategic plan updates, DCI-related activities, and ERC demographics.

7.6.1 Annual Reports

DCI data and evaluation results are included in each ERC's Annual Report via two main mechanisms: (1) demographic data entered into ERCWeb, and (2) the DCI chapter narrative. The ERC's DCI Strategic Plan is included as an Appendix and one or more DCI-themed “highlights" should be included in Appendix IV. DCI projects and project updates may also be included in Appendix V and Appendix VI (see example). DCI Directors are encouraged to review the most recent Annual Report guidelines for any changes to NSF requirements that might impact the DCI chapter narrative or reporting for appendices.

Collecting and entering personnel data into ERCWeb is typically handled by the center's Administrative Director (See BPM 6.6). These data populate a number of diversity tables and figures that are required for the Annual Report. Since the DCI chapter includes a discussion of these data, the DCI Director should coordinate with the Administrative Director to establish dates for finalizing personnel data entry, leaving sufficient time for the DCI Director to analyze, disaggregate, and discuss the data.

The DCI Director is typically responsible for writing the DCI chapter narrative. The purpose of the narrative is to capture the ERC's activities and accomplishments over the past year, describe their integration with the other main ERC efforts, summarize demographic data, present DCI assessment and evaluation results, and report progress towards DCI goals and outcomes. This may include some overlapping DCI-related highlights from EWD programming or other areas of the ERC, requiring collaboration with other ERC leaders for overall annual report and narrative completion. The format for the DCI chapter narrative varies across ERCs, with some ERCs aligning the narrative to the ERC's DCI Strategic Plan. Site Visit Team members review this narrative prior to the Site Visit. NSF (Federal Government) Definitions and ERCWeb

It is helpful to keep NSF's definitions1 handy when considering ERC demographics and associated Annual Report DCI tables and figures. It is also important to recognize that while these are the race categories required by NSF, race is not a biological construct. Rather, it is a social construct and as such it is continually evolving. The definitions below are currently used in NSF reporting:

  • Black or African American: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

  • American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

  • Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent; for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific islands.

  • White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

  • Hispanic or Latino: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.

Figures produced by ERCWeb, NSF's demographics reporting system, benchmark participation of Women, URM, Hispanic or Latino, and Persons with Disabilities against national engineering averages. These data are further disaggregated by citizenship status (U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, Foreign, or Citizenship not Reported). It should be noted that in ERCWeb-produced tables and figures, the acronym URM refers to underrepresented racial minorities and thus includes individuals who identify as Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

7.6.2 Site Visits

The NSF Site Visit represents an opportunity for the ERC to receive valuable feedback. There will likely be at least one Site Visit Team member who is specifically responsible for reviewing the ERC's DCI programs, though multiple Site Visit Team members may ask questions and contribute to the written Site Visit report comments. It is the Site Visit Team's job to identify both strengths and weaknesses of the ERC's programs, and offer constructive criticism.

DCI appears several times within Site Visit presentations. As specified in the Annual Site Visit guidelines, NSF expects the following:

  • the ERC Director and Deputy Director will include DCI goals, strategy, and accomplishments within the Overview of the Center presentation;

  • the Engineering Workforce Development team will discuss the role of education programs in strengthening the diversity of the ERC; and

  • the DCI Director will…“present an overview of the ERC's strategy to increase the diversity of the ERC's leadership, faculty, and student teams, actions taken, results to date benchmarked on national averages in engineering, the diversity climate of the center and the ERC's impact on diversity, and plans for the future."

DCI Directors should review the most recent Site Visit guidelines for any changes to NSF requirements. It is helpful for DCI Directors to prepare their presentations with the appropriate Gen-3 or Gen-4 performance criteria in mind.

Most Site Visits include overnight written questions that the Site Visit Team presents to the ERC leadership team at the conclusion of Site Visit presentations. These overnight written questions from the Site Visit Team are answered the following day by the leadership team in a final presentation to the Site Visit Team. The DCI Director should be prepared to remain with the ERC team into the evening to draft responses to any questions that pertain to the Center's DCI programs.

A few tips for more successful Site Visit experiences include:

  • Anticipate potential challenging questions from the Site Visit Team based on your own assessment of your ERC's DCI weaknesses and practice responding to them.

  • Prepare with your ERC Director and EWD leaders so they are familiar with your evaluation of DCI programming or any relevant contextual data or information and can help support you.

  • Anticipate that the Site Visit Team will direct some DCI-related questions to partner institutions.

  • Explore including DCI highlights or accomplishments in non-DCI Site Visit presentations such as in the ERC overview or research presentations. This gives all ERC participants a chance to discuss their contribution to DCI and shows the integration of DCI efforts throughout the ERC.

  • Review the backgrounds of NSF Site Visit Team members--in particular those focused on DCI programs--to gain perspective on their DCI experience, their institution's DCI programming or focus, etc., in order to anticipate questions.

  • If possible, sit next to the Site Visit Team member to allow for side conversations about DCI and enlist them as a partner in achieving the ERC's DCI goals.

1 https://www.census.gov/topics/population/race/about.html