Deputy Director, Virginia Space Grant Consortium
Chris Carter is the Deputy Director of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC), where he oversees comprehensive higher education, precollege, and outreach programs, including VSGC’s scholarship and fellowship program and several internship programs. The VSGC receives seed funding from NASA to coordinate and develop STEM education, research, and workforce development programs statewide. Carter is principal investigator (PI) on two NSF-funded projects: Geospatial Technician Education – Unmanned Aircraft Systems (GeoTEd-UAS) and Expanding Geospatial Technician Education through Virginia’s Community Colleges (GeoTEd), funded by the NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. He holds a B.S. in Management Science from Virginia Tech and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Prior to joining the VSGC, Carter served as Training Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources at ETSU. He has also worked as a Workforce Training and Development Instructor with the Adult Education Department Virginia and as an adjunct faculty at several community colleges.
Chris Carter is the Deputy Director of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, where he leads two ATE projects.
How do you use logic models in your ATE projects?
Our team recently received our fourth ATE award, which will support the development of academic pathways and faculty training in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). UAS, when combined with geospatial technologies, will revolutionize spatial data collection and analysis.
Visualizing desired impacts and outcomes is an important first step to effective project management. Logic models are wonderful tools for creating a roadmap of key project components. As a principal investigator on two ATE projects, I have used logic models to conceptualize project outcomes and the change that our team desires to create. Logic models are also effective tools for articulating the inputs and resources that are leveraged to offer the activities that bring about this change.
With facilitation and guidance from our partner and external evaluator, our team developed several project logic models. We developed one overarching project logic model to conceptualize the intended outcomes and desired change of the regional project. Each community college partner also developed a logic model to capture its unique goals and theory of change while also articulating how it contributes to the larger effort. These complementary logic models allowed the team members to visualize and understand their contributions while ensuring everyone was on the same path.
Faculty partners used these logic models to inform their administrations, business partners, and employers about their work. They are great tools for sharing the vision of change and building consensus among key stakeholders.
Our ATE projects are focused on creating career pathways and building faculty competencies to prepare technicians. The geospatial and UAS workforce is a very dynamic employment sector that is constantly evolving. We find logic models helpful tools for keeping the team and partners focused on the desired outputs and outcomes. The models remind us of our goals and help us understand how the components fit together. It is crucial to identify the project inputs and understand that as these evolve, project activities also need to evolve. Constantly updating a logic model and understanding the relationships between the various sections are key pieces of project management.
I encourage all ATE project leaders to work closely with their project evaluators and integrate logic models. Our external evaluator was instrumental in influencing our team to adopt these models. Project evaluators must be viewed as team members and partners from the beginning. I cannot imagine effectively managing a project without the aid of this project blueprint.