Richardson conducted a needs assessment for the DREAM Project, a Dominican nonprofit, in summer 2017 in order to fulfill the Clinton School’s International Public Service Project (IPSP) curriculum requirement. The needs assessment was utilized to develop a supportive curriculum for students on scholarship at three local universities.
Through the development of the curriculum, a common theme emerged from both students and professors. Both groups of participants were identifying barriers to success and on-time graduation. Some of the findings can be linked back to personal, and governmental barriers.
Personally, students struggled with transportation and finances, articulating, “I have to choose between eating or going to class.”
According to professors, students have limited access to the internet and were not able to access the information necessary to be a successful student due to underfunded libraries.
Furthermore, there are macro-level statistics for all universities, but there is limited knowledge when it comes to student needs and barriers in developing countries. This gap widens when one looks at rural universities across the globe. The global rhetoric for higher education argues that students need to be global citizens upon graduating, and the rhetoric is pushing institutions to produce more research at the undergraduate level. Therefore, analyzing the data collected with a broader lens not only responds to a direct need at the local level, but to the larger higher educational rhetoric.