ISKME surveyed PS grantees after the June 2010 convening to assess participants’ key takeaways from the convening and to solicit input as to what should change or remain for next year. The analysis revealed that 79 percent (73) of survey participants found the convening useful or very useful to their project work.
Additional high-level findings from the survey include:
- The most commonly reported takeaways from the convening involved connecting with other grantees (31 percent), and learning more about BMGF’s strategy, scope and tactics (30 percent). Survey participants also reported increased understanding of other grantees’ work (22 percent) and insight into new and alternative approaches to postsecondary education (20 percent) as key takeaways.
- In terms of next steps after the convening, the highest percentage of participants indicated plans to follow up with the connections they made (36 percent), or to incorporate learnings and insights from the convening into their current project work (22 percent). Eight percent of participants indicated plans to explore or research new solutions (primarily educational technology solutions) discussed at the convening.
- Survey participants indicated that they would like to have heard more about several specific topics at the convening, including research and evaluation findings from other grantees’ project work (17 percent), and grantee perspectives and project learnings (12 percent).
- When asked what should remain for next year’s convening, the primary responses included student presentations and participation (32 percent), the ability to interact with other grantees (18 percent), and the presentations and sharing by BMGF staff (13 percent).
- Finally, in terms of what grantees would like to change for next year’s convening, the highest percentage of participants reported a need for more interactive sessions and discussions (13 percent). Grantees further indicated a need for both unstructured and structured time for conversations, discussions and networking (56 percent), specifically when asked about the balance between sessions/presentations and free time to connect and converse with other participants.
As a whole, these findings reveal central themes around the importance of unstructured interaction as well as formal conversations in supporting project work—with students, faculty, grantees and foundation staff alike. As this community moves forward, focused on college completion, we invite you to take part in this online space with your own personal insights, and explore or share more around successes and challenges—whether it’s to browse, find new resources, comment, or write a blog post.