34 CFR § 656.21 - What selection criteria does the Secretary use to evaluate an application for a comprehensive Center?

§ 656.21 What selection criteria does the Secretary use to evaluate an application for a comprehensive Center?

The Secretary evaluates an application for a comprehensive Center on the basis of the criteria in this section.

(a) Program planning and budget. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The extent to which the activities for which the applicant seeks funding are of high quality and directly related to the purpose of the National Resource Centers Program;

(2) The extent to which the applicant provides a development plan or timeline demonstrating how the proposed activities will contribute to a strengthened program and whether the applicant uses its resources and personnel effectively to achieve the proposed objectives;

(3) The extent to which the costs of the proposed activities are reasonable in relation to the objectives of the program; and

(4) The long-term impact of the proposed activities on the institution's undergraduate, graduate, and professional training programs.

(b) Quality of staff resources. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The extent to which teaching faculty and other staff are qualified for the current and proposed Center activities and training programs, are provided professional development opportunities (including overseas experience), and participate in teaching, supervising, and advising students;

(2) The adequacy of Center staffing and oversight arrangements, including outreach and administration and the extent to which faculty from a variety of departments, professional schools, and the library are involved; and

(3) The extent to which the applicant, as part of its nondiscriminatory employment practices, encourages applications for employment from persons who are members of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented, such as members of racial or ethnic minority groups, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.

(c) Impact and evaluation. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The extent to which the Center's activities and training programs have a significant impact on the university, community, region, and the Nation as shown through indices such as enrollments, graduate placement data, participation rates for events, and usage of Center resources; and the extent to which the applicant supplies a clear description of how the applicant will provide equal access and treatment of eligible project participants who are members of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented, such as members of racial or ethnic minority groups, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly;

(2) The extent to which the applicant provides an evaluation plan that is comprehensive and objective and that will produce quantifiable, outcome-measure-oriented data; and the extent to which recent evaluations have been used to improve the applicant's program;

(3) The degree to which activities of the Center address national needs, and generate information for and disseminate information to the public; and

(4) The applicant's record of placing students into post-graduate employment, education, or training in areas of national need and the applicant's stated efforts to increase the number of such students that go into such placements.

(d) Commitment to the subject area on which the Center focuses. The Secretary reviews each application to determine the extent to which the institution provides financial and other support to the operation of the Center, teaching staff for the Center's subject area, library resources, linkages with institutions abroad, outreach activities, and qualified students in fields related to the Center.

(e) Strength of library. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The strength of the institution's library holdings (both print and non-print, English and foreign language) in the subject area and at the educational levels (graduate, professional, undergraduate) on which the Center focuses; and the extent to which the institution provides financial support for the acquisition of library materials and for library staff in the subject area of the Center; and

(2) The extent to which research materials at other institutions are available to students through cooperative arrangements with other libraries or on-line databases and the extent to which teachers, students, and faculty from other institutions are able to access the library's holdings.

(f) Quality of the Center's non-language instructional program. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The quality and extent of the Center's course offerings in a variety of disciplines, including the extent to which courses in the Center's subject matter are available in the institution's professional schools;

(2) The extent to which the Center offers depth of specialized course coverage in one or more disciplines of the Center's subject area;

(3) The extent to which the institution employs a sufficient number of teaching faculty to enable the Center to carry out its purposes and the extent to which instructional assistants are provided with pedagogy training; and

(4) The extent to which interdisciplinary courses are offered for undergraduate and graduate students.

(g) Quality of the Center's language instructional program. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The extent to which the Center provides instruction in the languages of the Center's subject area and the extent to which students enroll in the study of the languages of the subject area through programs or instruction offered by the Center or other providers;

(2) The extent to which the Center provides three or more levels of language training and the extent to which courses in disciplines other than language, linguistics, and literature are offered in appropriate foreign languages;

(3) Whether sufficient numbers of language faculty are available to teach the languages and levels of instruction described in the application and the extent to which language teaching staff (including faculty and instructional assistants) have been exposed to current language pedagogy training appropriate for performance-based teaching; and

(4) The quality of the language program as measured by the performance-based instruction being used or developed, the adequacy of resources for language teaching and practice, and language proficiency requirements.

(h) Quality of curriculum design. The Secretary reviews each application to determine -

(1) The extent to which the Center's curriculum has incorporated undergraduate instruction in the applicant's area or topic of specialization into baccalaureate degree programs (for example, major, minor, or certificate programs) and the extent to which these programs and their requirements (including language requirements) are appropriate for a Center in this subject area and will result in an undergraduate training program of high quality;

(2) The extent to which the Center's curriculum provides training options for graduate students from a variety of disciplines and professional fields and the extent to which these programs and their requirements (including language requirements) are appropriate for a Center in this subject area and result in graduate training programs of high quality; and

(3) The extent to which the Center provides academic and career advising services for students; the extent to which the Center has established formal arrangements for students to conduct research or study abroad and the extent to which these arrangements are used; and the extent to which the institution facilitates student access to other institutions' study abroad and summer language programs.

(i) Outreach activities. The Secretary reviews each application to determine the extent to which the Center demonstrates a significant and measurable regional and national impact of, and faculty and professional school involvement in, domestic outreach activities that involve -

(1) Elementary and secondary schools;

(2) Postsecondary institutions; and

(3) Business, media, and the general public.

(j) Degree to which priorities are served. If, under the provisions of § 656.23, the Secretary establishes competitive priorities for Centers, the Secretary considers the degree to which those priorities are being served.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1840-0068)
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1122)
[61 FR 50193, Sept. 24, 1996, as amended at 70 FR 13375, Mar. 21, 2005; 74 FR 35073, July 17, 2009]

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