Impact of a Regional Grant Program Through the Lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory: A Mixed-Method Evaluation

Cayla R. Teal, Anna T. Cianciolo, Andrea Berry, Christy Boscardin, Janet Riddle, Steven Rougas, Lynn Shaull, Judy A. Shea, Karen Szauter, S. Beth Bierer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Evaluations of educational grant programs have focused on research productivity, with few examining impacts on grantees or effective program characteristics. This evaluation examined the regional grant program sponsored by Group on Educational Affairs to examine if and how grantees' careers were affected by funding, and if these experiences aligned with program goals. Method In this concurrent, mixed-methods theory-driven evaluation, quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed independently and then integrated to examine complementarity. Quantitative data examined differences among 4 geographic regions and included proposal and grantee characteristics abstracted from administrative records of 52 funded proposals from 2010-2015 grant cycles. Qualitative data from 23 interviews conducted from 2018 to 2019 explored the impact on grantees, with Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) serving as a framework for deductive thematic analysis. To facilitate integration of findings, quantitative data were layered onto each interview to permit exploration of associations between the 2 data types. Results Although significant regional differences existed in project length and amount of funding, there were few regional differences in grantee experiences. Despite small funding amounts, grants were perceived as career launching pads. The SCCT framework accounted for grantee experiences, including researcher identity formation and subsequent research, but did not capture collaboration phenomena. Integration of the 2 data types identified experience patterns unique to different groups of grantees (e.g., more or less research experience). The diversity among grantees suggests that clarification of program goals and stronger alignment with criteria for funding may be warranted. Conclusions This evaluation illuminates why small educational grant programs may or may not impact interest and productivity in research. Implications exist for funders, including clarifying program goals and providing support for less experienced grantees. Future research should explore grantee subsets (e.g., underrepresented in medicine) to further identify what fosters or inhibits careers of medical education scholars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S149-S156
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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