Insights from the Bass Connections Program Evaluation

November 28, 2018

Highlights from the Bass Connections Annual Report

An annual evaluation helps Bass Connections leadership strengthen the program and better understand its impact on students, faculty and the societal issues addressed through the projects. Here are some highlights from the 2017-2018 survey.

Top Five Areas of Improvement Reported by Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Top five areas of improvement graphic.

Spurring Undergraduate Research

Many Bass Connections students take their research further, completing a thesis related to their team experience or becoming inspired to pursue research in a new area. Among the graduating class of 2018, 41% of students who had participated in Bass Connections completed a thesis, compared to 26% of the total senior class.

Thesis completion rates

The opportunity to study a global health issue through chemistry promised to unite my own disciplines in a meaningful way. My teammates with backgrounds in biology and psychology helped build a better understanding of mercury’s flow through the food chain and how human behavior and motivations shape dietary habits. The close collaboration across disciplines has been a formative experience. –Josh Grubbs ’18

Integrating Teaching and Research for Faculty

Faculty report benefiting from the opportunity to mentor students while furthering their own research. Team leaders also emphasized the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, learning from other faculty members’ areas of expertise to enrich their understanding of the topic.

Leaders noted a wide range of outcomes, including peer-reviewed publications; external grant applications seeded by their team’s research; data collection; conference presentations; public policy reports and recommendations; various prototypes and products; educational materials and trainings for community groups; and scientific models, formulas and algorithms.

Bass Connections has been transformative. It has provided a mechanism for the Duke community to work on important and interesting projects through a format/vision that is innovative and beneficial to the entire Duke and broader community. –Faculty team leader


Satisfaction data

It was a fantastic opportunity to work in a group setting and develop leadership skills. Bass Connections exemplifies what Duke does so well: providing opportunities for students to work collaboratively across disciplines and levels of experience and education. –Graduate student

Understanding What’s Most Valuable

Bass Connections is a multifaceted program. This year’s evaluation sought to better understand what students value most about the program.

2017-18 evaluation data

Bass Connections allowed me to explore my two passions in music and medicine in a well-integrated research project. I loved working on a small team with people I had never met before and learning to bond and work collaboratively. –Undergraduate student

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