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Needs Assessment - FIU Embrace Center for Advancing Inclusive Communities

Project type

Mixed-methods field study


Lead Principle Investigator

As the FIU Embrace Education program (EEP) grew and evolved, new challenges and stakeholder needs arose. As an organization, it was imperative that we not only identified current needs, but identified those needs that may arise in the future. We also had to devise solutions that would be scalable as we expanded in size, scope, and impact. The purpose of this project was threefold: a) develop both a holistic and a detailed understanding of student, parent, and staff perceptions of the EEP, b) identify areas of strength and areas for improvement grounded in the perspectives of EEP stakeholders; c) generate organizational discussions with program leadership that lead to effective strategies for strengthening the EEP.

The mixed methods education research project I designed and implemented was tasked with developing a scalable needs assessment model via quantitative survey and mixed methods focus group designs for Embrace Education, a university-based life skills transition programs for neurodiverse young adults with developmental disabilities. This research design followed guidance from Nicolaidis et al. (2020) on equitable methods for conducting interview research with young adults with autism, Krosnick’s (2018) best practices for survey design, Goodwin’s (1994) conversation analysis methodology, and Charmaz’s (2009) open coding procedures for qualitative interview data.

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