The Rucks Group 2020 Spring Newsletter

By now you have heard, discussed, and thought dozens of times how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to abandon familiar rhythms of life. The Rucks Group team is doing the same.

We have been asking ourselves what resources can we provide to help the adjustment as it relates to the slice of life that we work in of research and evaluation.  As such, we’re highlighting a variety of resources and information on upcoming events that you may find useful as we all are slowly finding the beats to new rhythms.



Now what? How to Use Evaluation Findings for Project Continuous Improvement

You’ve won the grant and now you’re needing to do a program evaluation. There are two general mindsets towards this work: “proving” to demonstrate to funders what you’ve done or “improving” which addresses the proving by focusing the program evaluation on using the information from the program evaluation for project improvement. This complimentary webinar will provide insights into how to realize the true value of evaluation through the lens of continuous improvement and particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic. Time will be allotted to answer your unique questions. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020; 2:00pET – 2:30pET


Funding Opportunities for Your Innovative Ideas

There are several funding opportunities that you can pursue to identify funding for your innovative ideas. One such program is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program places on emphasis on the education of technicians within two-year institutions. Proposals are due by October 1, 2020.

In writing your grant, make sure to review the most recent solicitation for the appropriate program track. A focus area of note is the Adaptation and Implementation program track which is “designed to increase the pace of innovation diffusion and encourages the use of innovative materials and practices of demonstrated course and programs.” 

Also, the NSF DUE (Division of Undergraduate Education) is particularly interested in how the COVID-19 is impacting on undergraduate education. This is quite fitting considering how many schools had to rapidly transition to completing courses on-line.

Finally, note that NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grants are now due on April 22, 2020 (and change from the original March 25, 2020 date).

If you want resources to help develop your ideas, check out these websites:

ATECentral logo

Supporting Advanced Technological Education

EvaluATE logo

The evaluate resource hub for the NSF ATE community

Mentor Connect Logo
NSF ATE leadership development and outreach initiative

Browse our most popular blog posts below:

Partnership Rubric: A tool for measuring industry relationships
 The Partnership Rubric was designed as a tool to quantify the involvement of outside partners in a given project or center by measuring the changes in the number of and level of involvement of those partnerships in targeted areas. 

Student Success: Are we clear about what this means? 
In this two-part blog on student success, we are first sharing this article in which guest blogger Dr. Terry Mills provides his perspective. In the second blog on this topic, Dr. Lana Rucks will provide a perspective of a researcher and program evaluator on this key issue.

Paying Students to Attend Tutoring Produces Interesting Findings 
Students who received the stipend for attending tutoring sessions had the lowest failure rates and earned the highest percentage of As. 

The Rucks Group, LLC is a research and evaluation firm that gathers, analyses, and interprets data to enable our clients to measure the impact of their work. 

Potential Questionnaire Items for In-Person to Remote Courses

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions had to quickly convert in-person courses to remote courses. Understandably, the experience of students during this term may be quite unique. Many of the standard items included in end-of-course surveys may not be able to adequately capture these unique experiences. Provided in this document are a sampling of potential items that can be included in end-of-course surveys to gather student experiences in order to make appropriate plans for summer and fall terms. The items are grouped by topic and are not intended to be used as a whole, but single items can be used as appropriate. For additional questions, contact us at or 937-219-7766 (during normal operations call 937-242-7024).