The categories below will direct you to FAQs by subject area.

The Common Application
Shared Applicant Pool
The A la carte Survey
a La Carte validation Survey
Privacy Issues

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Email us your question at audrey.rorrer@uncc.edu.

The Common Application

Who is supposed to use the Common Application?

  • The Common Application has been a collaboration of the CISE REU community. The Assessment Work Group began discussions of the Common Application as a means of collecting descriptive information about the national pool of CISE REU applicants. All PIs are invited and encouraged to use the Common Application as the primary means of collecting applicant pools, which can be tailored to each site’s needs. Use of the Common Application is not required by the NSF.

What is the benefit of using the Common Application?

Benefits to PIs:

  • An easy to use online application form that populates a live spreadsheet of only your site’s applicants
  • User friendly for applicants
  • User friendly for PIs and site staff
  • Saves you the time of having to create and design an application
  • Customizable to include any additional unique items for your site application

Benefits to the CISE REU community & NSF:

  • Provides a comprehensive profile of non-replicated applicants to the NSF
  • Informs the community and the NSF of the national interest and need in CISE REU opportunities

How can I sign up to use the Common Application?

  • Contact the UNC Charlotte REU evaluator, and CISE REU Assessment Work Group member, Audrey Rorrer (audrey.rorrer [AT] uncc [DOT] edu). She will provide you with direct access to the Common Application for your site, and instructions for customizing.

How can I modify the Common Application to fit the unique needs of my site?

  • An instructional document will be sent to you in the Common Application confirmation email once you have requested access. The instructional document is also contained in the Toolkit, by following this link.

What if a student applicant does not want to fill out a Google Doc Form?

  • No student will be denied access to apply to CISE REU sites, even if they do not wish to complete the Common Application. They may contact the PI (as indicated in the application or site web page) or may opt to contact Audrey Rorrer, the researcher listed in the Informed Consent (first page of the Common Application). In the event that this occurs, the PI will need to offer a separate application to this applicant. This application copy will be accessible only by the site’s PI and administrative staff, and not to the Common Application researcher. Our suggestion is that the PI offer a document copy of the Common Application to complete. Any applicants who contact Audrey Rorrer will be directed to the site PI.

What if a student applicant does not wish to be included in the study?

  • Students who wish to be excluded from the research study underlying the Common Application may opt out by checking the box indicating that they don’t want to be included in the study compiled to the NSF. Their information will be omitted from the aggregate data pool and subsequent analysis and report.

What if a student applicant is under 18 years of age?

  • Students who are not 18 at the time of their REU application will be omitted from the aggregate data pool and subsequent analysis and report because they are ineligible for the study. Study participants must be 18 years old.

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Shared Applicant Pool

What is the Shared Applicant Pool and how does it work?

It’s a folder of student applications across CISE REU Sites who were not selected at the site of the student’s original application. Sites who receive a low number of applicants may wish to consult the Shared Applicant Pool to consider these candidates, and extend offers. Site PIs were asked if they wanted to participate in applicant sharing, and for those who indicated they did wish to participate, an item was included in the Common Application that provided individual applicants the option to participate in the shared pool for additional consideration. Applicants who elected to participate are included in a Drop Box folder, shared with all Site PIs. However, applicants are included in the Shared Applicant Pool folder ONLY AFTER the Site PI confirms that the applicant was not selected to their site.

How do I use the Shared Applicant Pool?

All Site PIs have received access to the Drop Box folder, “CISE REU Shared Applicant Pool” which consists of an excel spreadsheet of Common Applications of students not yet selected. You may request access by contacting Audrey Rorrer (audrey.rorrer@uncc.edu). You may peruse the applications and contact any individuals of interest to you for consideration at your site. Note that other sites interested in candidates will have notations next to applicant names; be advised that this may result in competing offers, so it is up to you whether or not you choose to engage those students who are being considered elsewhere. Please be sure to clearly indicate to the individuals who you are, what site you are affiliated with, and that you obtained the application from the CISE REU Shared Applicant Pool. You will also want to indicate that you are considering their application if they are interested in your site; this is particularly important for those applicants who would be relocating for the summer. You may need to request additional information from them as a part of your site’s application process. Please indicate in the appropriate columns next to the applicants names for all students you are considering and have selected for your site. This will reduce the potential of competing offers among other sites, i.e. other Site PIs may opt to avoid pursuing students under serious consideration at other sites.

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The a la carte Survey

Who is supposed to use the a la carte Survey?

  • The A la carte Survey has been a collaborative effort of the CISE REU community to review the common measures of student outcomes being implemented across CISE REU sites. The Assessment Work Group began discussions of the A la carte Survey as a means of selecting common student outcomes indicators, along with survey questions to measure the indicators, from a palette of indicators found to be useful by prior REU Site evaluators. The A la carte Survey is fitted specifically to CISE REU Site evaluation. All PIs are invited and encouraged to use the components from the A la carte Survey at their discretion as a way to strengthen the student outcomes research in the CISE REU community. Use of the A la carte Survey components is not required by the NSF.

What is the benefit of using the a la carte Survey?

Benefits to PIs:

  • A ready-made set of survey items by outcomes indicators designed to fit CISE REU
  • Choice in which sets of items to use, based upon which outcomes indicators align with your site goals

Benefits to the CISE REU community & NSF:

  • Comparable measures of CISE REU student outcomes
  • Strength in assessment of CISE REU student outcomes

How can I use the a la carte Survey?

  • Visit the A la carte Survey section of the Toolkit where you can view each module of the survey to determine which ones pertain to your site goals. An invitation to participate in the survey administration is sent, via direct email to site PIs in April and repeated in May. The invitation includes instructions and options for use.

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A La Carte validation Survey

How can I modify the a La Carte Validation Survey to fit the unique needs of my site?

  • The a La Carte Survey is unable to be customized, because the intent is to standardize CISE REU outcomes measures. However, use of the A la Carte survey does not preclude you from conducting any additional evaluation of your site, such as interviews, focus groups, exit surveys, etc. You can review the a La Carte Validation Survey in its entirety by viewing it on the Toolkit, review the reliability coefficients of each module, and choose modules of interest for your site.

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Privacy Issues

What about privacy issues for students when using the Common Application, Shared Applicant Pool, and the A la carte Survey?

Common Application: If you choose to participate in the Common Application, you will provide a link to the application for your institution on your REU site page, directing all applicants to this link. You agree to share applicant information contained in the Common Application with UNC Charlotte evaluator Audrey Rorrer. REU applicant privacy is protected by the following steps.

  • An Informed Consent is provided at the beginning of the Common Application. Applicants will see the informed consent information and be aware that you, the PI, will use the information to determine who will be an admitted REU student, and that Audrey Rorrer of UNC Charlotte will use the information as part of anonymous research information that will be protected for applicant confidentiality. This is standard procedure for collecting personal information, and the Informed Consent has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Research and Federal Regulations at UNC Charlotte where Dr. Rorrer is conducting the anonymous research with the CISE REU applicant pool. Her contact information is included, so that applicants can contact her directly with any concerns. Concerns will be addressed on an individual basis; redirection to the site PI will be conducted as needed.
  • Applicants may opt out of inclusion in the research and/or the Shared Applicant Pool. There are two distinct items asking applicants about whether or not they wish to participate in the research study of applicants, and whether or not they wish to have their materials distributed to addtional sites via the Shared Applicant Pool. These applicants are removed from the research study and Shared Applicant Pool according to their wishes.
  • Confidentiality of the applicants is ensured by limiting access to the Common Application. Each PI has access to applicants for his/her REU site only and does not have access to other site applicants. The applicant pool researcher, Audrey Rorrer, has access to all applicants. The applicant information is compiled via password protected Google forms and is confidential. The following steps will be taken to ensure this confidentiality: A unique code will be generated to label applicant information. The relationship between this code and identifying information will be kept strictly confidential. When reporting applicant pool information, care will be taken to ensure that no individual’s response can be identified. All information will be stored in a secure offline database, with no names associated with the data. Applicant information from the 2010 summer cycle will be archived following the above outlined procedure and the online application forms will be cleared (following notifications to PIs) for each new site application cycle.
  • Anonymity in reporting is maintained by aggregating applicant information which is compiled anonymously for general reporting purposes to the National Science Foundation, and may be used in future publications to describe REU applicant pool demographic information anonymously.

A la carte Survey: The a la carte survey is maintained on the Toolkit website. PIs wishing to use components of the survey, e.g. the items designed to measure self-efficacy, are free to replicate these items on their internal surveys. The method of delivery is the choice of the PI, who will collect and analyze the survey responses. The PI is responsible for adhering to research compliance policy at his/her institution.

If you choose to have the CISE REU Evaluation Toolkit distribute the A la Carte Survey to your student, you will receive a link to the Pre Survey and be asked to distribute the link (with its enclosed invitation to participate) to all of your REU participants within the first week of their start date, and will agree to allow Audrey Rorrer to send these same students a Post Survey within the last week of their REU experience. The pre and post survey data will be packaged and sent to you without any personalized information (names, emails) for your own program evaluation use. Additionally, you will receive coding and analysis instructions. You may want to consult with your institutional office of research compliance to determine what approval, if any, are required of you for use of this information outside of program evaluation. Your total participation time will be less than 1 hour to post links to your web page and send one email invitation to your students. Student response confidentiality will be protected by a unique code that is generated to label student data. The relationship between this code and identifying information will be kept strictly confidential and maintained offline in a locked office; this list of association will be destroyed within a year of survey collection. When reporting the results of total REU site surveys, care will be taken to ensure that no individual’s response can be identified.

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