Bass Connections Program Evaluation

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. All data reported below is based on survey respondent data.

Highlights from the 2018-2019 Survey

Skill Development

Students report that their experience in the program improves their abilities in a range of arenas, many of which are skills highly sought after by employers across all industries.

To what extent do you believe you have improved in the following areas?

[The most valuable part was] engagement with every aspect of the scientific method. I was able to work on asking questions, generating hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, and then drawing conclusions. I also gained presentation experience at a local conference and learned from the different members on the team. –Undergraduate student

Deepening Engagement

For some students, Bass Connections is an avenue to help them find, or grow, academic passions while also developing new relationships outside of their existing communities.

To what extent did Bass Connections help you...

Our project intersected in the areas that I am most interested in: medicine, cultural anthropology and global health. The project affirmed that I am pursuing the right track for me, and I felt so engaged and motivated by the subject matter! –Undergraduate student


Year after year, the annual evaluation underscores the value of Bass Connections’ layered mentoring model. For graduate students, who often mentor the undergraduates on their teams, 65% report that their experience in the program led to significant improvements in their ability to mentor others.

The year-long project offered me a chance to mentor undergraduates in a way that TAships do not provide. I became close with some of my students and feel invested in them as scholars and as people. It was incredibly rewarding to see their work come to fruition and to hear them reflect on what they had learned from the process. –Graduate student

[My most meaningful experience was] having the opportunity to mentor students across disciplines and across multiple learning levels, and training/leading them to train/lead each other – both up and down the learning levels (e.g., seniors teaching sophomores and vice versa, juniors teaching master’s students and vice versa). –Team leader

Integrating Research and Teaching for Faculty

Faculty participate in Bass Connections for a variety of reasons – to mentor students in a different way, to explore a new research area, to further existing research. Similarly, faculty report that the program benefits them in a number of ways, straddling their teaching and research roles.

To what extent has participating in Bass Connections helped you professionally in the following areas?

I am a fairly new faculty at Duke. Bass Connections gave me an opportunity to form collaborations quickly with faculty who are outside of my department. It has been a huge networking tool. It has also provided me with a way to collect preliminary data to apply for larger grant funding. It also provided exposure for my project, which allowed me to recruit students from several different disciplines in an organized fashion. –Team leader

Earlier Evaluations