Project Evaluation, NSF ATE Center

Project Evaluation, NSF ATE Center

Sener Knowledge is the external evaluator for CyberWatch, an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), whose mission is to increase the quantity and quality of the information assurance (IA)/cybersecurity workforce.

As the project's external evaluator since 2005, Sener Knowledge has provided useful, actionable, and disseminable information from evaluation activities, for instance by:

  • Preparing and presenting reports which distill voluminous data into meaningful results
  • Identifying project-wide issues and trends for strategic consideration from the project management team
  • Identifying additional sponsors of project activities culled from evaluation data
  • Providing on-demand data and information to enable project leaders to inform policymakers about project activities and accomplishments.

Sener Knowledge uses an "arm's length" approach to external evaluation for this project -- close enough to understand the project while maintaining an outsider's perspective, capable of offering constructive feedback and indicators where project improvement may be needed.

As a member of the project's Leadership Team, Sener Knowledge uses its long-term project knowledge and 'big picture' perspective to help project leadership and members leverage evaluation data to support the consortium's accomplishments and expansion. CyberWatch has grown from a regional Baltimore/Washington-based consortium of 10 institutions and several other partners, to a national consortium with 84 member institutions and 34 partner institutions (businesses, government agencies, and professional associations) as of 12/31/11.

CyberWatch conducts a variety of curriculum development, faculty professional development, career pathways, and public awareness activities related to IA education at all levels from elementary through graduate school, with a particular focus on the community college level. As CyberWatch continues to grow in size, complexity, and impact (the current project has over 34 project objectives and more than 50 identifiable project activities), Sener Knowledge is developing evaluation processes and systems which will be useful not only for accommodating the evaluation needs generated by project expansion, but also for evaluating similar NSF ATE centers in the future.