6
Recommendations: Part Two

The committee's recommendations on ONR's corporate programs are of two types: primary recommendations and suggestions for implementation. The two primary recommendations—to create a single vision for the programs and to provide a continuum of educational support—speak to the entire portfolio of corporate programs. The suggestions for implementation address specific programs or aspects of the programs that will help ensure that they meet the primary objectives.

Primary Recommendations

RECOMMENDATION #1

ONR should create a single, coherent vision for the corporate programs, tied more closely to the mission of ONR.

ONR needs a clear, integrated vision for what it wants to accomplish with these programs, including ways to use them to increase the number of women and minorities in science and engineering. It should then design a plan to make such changes as may be required. This plan should tie each program clearly to the research and development interests of the Navy, especially at the more advanced (postdoctoral) levels where ONR recruits.

Such a vision will increase each program's individual effectiveness by allowing it to build on the others. It will also create a framework for making decisions about when and whether to add or phase out programs and can provide a basis for ONR to resist ad hoc requests for new programs targeted at less essential needs. The committee's impression is that there are too many programs, some very small, and some that have evolved from various unrelated initiatives. This recommendation is not limited only to programs that ONR funds; the agency should exercise a leadership role, encouraging the Office of the Secretary of Defense to align all such programs with the long-term goals of the Department in the area of scientific and engineering personnel.

To integrate these programs more fully into the Navy's mission, ONR should create incentives for program officers who fund the core research and development program to become more involved in the corporate programs. This might include visits to fellowship recipients at the undergraduate and gradate levels on college



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6 Recommendations: Part Two The committee's recommendations on ONR's corporate programs are of two types: primary recommendations and suggestions for implementation. The two primary recommendations—to create a single vision for the programs and to provide a continuum of educational support—speak to the entire portfolio of corporate programs. The suggestions for implementation address specific programs or aspects of the programs that will help ensure that they meet the primary objectives. Primary Recommendations RECOMMENDATION #1 ONR should create a single, coherent vision for the corporate programs, tied more closely to the mission of ONR. ONR needs a clear, integrated vision for what it wants to accomplish with these programs, including ways to use them to increase the number of women and minorities in science and engineering. It should then design a plan to make such changes as may be required. This plan should tie each program clearly to the research and development interests of the Navy, especially at the more advanced (postdoctoral) levels where ONR recruits. Such a vision will increase each program's individual effectiveness by allowing it to build on the others. It will also create a framework for making decisions about when and whether to add or phase out programs and can provide a basis for ONR to resist ad hoc requests for new programs targeted at less essential needs. The committee's impression is that there are too many programs, some very small, and some that have evolved from various unrelated initiatives. This recommendation is not limited only to programs that ONR funds; the agency should exercise a leadership role, encouraging the Office of the Secretary of Defense to align all such programs with the long-term goals of the Department in the area of scientific and engineering personnel. To integrate these programs more fully into the Navy's mission, ONR should create incentives for program officers who fund the core research and development program to become more involved in the corporate programs. This might include visits to fellowship recipients at the undergraduate and gradate levels on college

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campuses and increased involvement in high school and summer programs, as well as regular meetings with young investigators, postdoctoral researchers, and female scholars. This outreach will also increase the visibility and presence of ONR on college campuses. Performance reviews should reflect individual program officers' success at meeting these goals. RECOMMENDATION #2 ONR should realign its corporate programs to provide a continuum of educational opportunities from high school through postdoctoral study. For all potential students and young researchers, but for underrepresented groups especially, a continuum of support, from one educational level to the next and into one's early career, is important. The committee's impression is that the efforts made by ONR at the high school level, for example, are not followed through with any substantial programs at the undergraduate level. Similarly, graduate students with ONR or NDSEG fellowships are not necessarily connected in a systematic way to postdoctoral or other research opportunities. ONR needs to be visible and active at each level in the educational process. The effectiveness of funds invested at one stage can be amplified by channeling some of the same students through multiple levels of ONR programs. In addition, academic year programs can be leveraged by providing recipients with follow-up internships or summer jobs at Navy facilities. At the very least, students who receive ONR funding should be made aware more systematically. The greatest break in support seems to come at the undergraduate level. Except for awards to the HBCUs/MIs and the occasional undergraduate who participates in a principal investigator's research grant under AASERT, ONR funds nothing at this level. The committee recommends that ONR consider creating undergraduate scholarships or a summer intern program at selected universities or Navy laboratories. Suggestions for Implementation RECOMMENDATION #3 ONR should use broader criteria for recruitment and selection. As with employment decisions, it is easy in fellowship or research programs to fall back on two or three quantitative measures of potential success such as grades and test scores or, at a more advanced level, to rely solely on the opinions of trusted colleagues. Such methods of recruiting and selecting participants for these programs can, however, eliminate strong candidates from consideration. In the first instance, those eliminated candidates may not have the highest quantitative measures of success, even though they show great potential or evidence of success in other ventures. In the second instance, they are seldom known to a group of peers that consists primarily of white males. Several of the recommendations about recruitment and hiring for ONR's work force in Chapter 4 can be adapted for use in these programs.

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RECOMMENDATION #4 ONR should extend support for minority students and faculty beyond the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs). Like many federal agencies, ONR has an extensive effort supporting the HBCUs and MIs, tied closely to, but going beyond, the 5 percent required ''set aside.'' These are good programs, but they reach only a small percent of the minority students in science and engineering, especially at the graduate level. Large urban institutions, and others with especially strong track records of success in educating minority Ph.D.s, should also be targeted for funding. If ONR is to use its corporate programs to increase diversity in its work force and, more specifically, to expand the pool of potential employees, it will need to target a much wider audience of minority graduate students and researchers. One effective way to do this is through predoctoral and postdoctoral training grants to universities that have a history of, or creative mechanisms for, educating scientists who are underrepresented in ONR. The NIH has now created comparable initiatives to try and increase the pool of underrepresented minorities at the doctoral level who will have the best education possible in the area of biomedical sciences. RECOMMENDATION #5 ONR should collect systematic data on program participants to allow for ongoing program evaluation. Data collection and evaluation are not just good practice; they are now required under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. Although data collection has occurred in some programs, it has been uneven in others. Data on the gender and race of participants will allow managers to identify members of underrepresented groups for potential future recruitment. It will also allow some evaluation of the effectiveness of each program in helping to increase the diversity of the pool from which ONR recruits. With these data as sparse as they currently are, there is no way to assess the effectiveness of these programs in reaching a diverse clientele. While there are privacy rights to be respected, the committee believes it is possible to collect these data by a process that is separate from, but parallel to, the application process for each award so that individual applicants will be assured that selection decisions are not influenced by personal characteristics. Equally important is a system to track the progress of program participants. ONR should create, or require its contractors to create, a system by which participants can be followed while they are in the program. They should also create a mechanism for systematic follow-up with a sample of program participants after they complete a program. In addition to providing necessary data for evaluation, tracking program graduates into college, graduate school, or their first careers will allow ONR to create a potential clientele for future research

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programs as well as job opportunities. It is the only way to know if individual programs—well designed in their own right—are truly contributing to the agency's overall mission. RECOMMENDATION #6 ONR should use the programs for postdoctoral researchers to recruit more aggressively for potential ONR employment. Individuals with Postdoctoral, Young Investigator, or Women Science Scholars awards are natural candidates for ONR program officer positions, if not immediately following their award, at least reasonably soon thereafter. ONR should use the same advertising and recruitment techniques for this group as is recommended here to increase the diversity of its current work force. While on tenure, these individuals could be brought to ONR headquarters to attend an orientation about what ONR does, to meet program officers face to face, and to tour some Navy facilities. They should also be tracked after completion of their awards as possible future job prospects and as members of boards of visitors or selection panels. In the case of the Women Science Scholars, the program should be redesigned to fit more closely into the mission of ONR. Specifically, the fields designated for research should better match fields of interest to ONR, and the relevant program officer(s) should be involved more directly in making these awards and tracking the progress of these scientists and engineers. This kind of program has the potential of yielding some strong employees for ONR or other Navy organizations, but only if the scholars' research fields are of strategic value to the Navy.