Immediate Action Items to Address Short-Term Issues
OPM is arranging for a demonstration to show PIs what agency officials
see when they run student searches.
OPM staff and PIs are exploring other possible implementations (e.g.
the University of Tulsa and Florida State University are both working
on projects to address this issue) to gather information on such “best
practices” and disseminate them among PIs and participating
OPM staff is developing a fact sheet for Federal human resource
personnel about hiring SFS students. (http://www.sfs.opm.gov)
NSF will consider funding experimental programs that address improving
the SFS student placement process.
NSF will evaluate information about students who were released from
the SFS program (i.e., not placed) to determine if any trends can
be identified to enhance the recruitment, application, selection,
or placement process.
NSF will explore the feasibility, costs, and desirability of performing
a National Agency Check for all scholarship students. Ideally, the
National Agency Check will take place as early as possible in the
process, for example, when student nominations are sent to OPM for
NSF will consider using the results of publicity efforts (successful
student placements and testimonials from agency representatives) to
initiate a marketing campaign. In budgeting for the upcoming year,
NSF will consider a marketing campaign to launch as early as December
As other entities evaluate the assumption that the government is
facing a critical shortage of individuals trained in IA, NSF will
report the results back to the SFS program participants and take into
account the relationship of the findings to the program.
NSF will consider including in the program solicitation a requirement
that PIs design and implement their own feedback mechanisms for students
who are placed.
Action Items to Address Long-Term Selection and Placement
The program should consider extending the potential length of available
scholarships to allow more than two years of funding, and consider
removing the requirement that scholarship students attend school on
a full-time basis.
The program should evaluate what changes would be needed to better
accommodate student co-op opportunities in lieu of internships.
The program should consider funding an internship coordinator position
at OPM for SFS students.
The program should assess the perceived level of need for IA personnel
at Federal agencies in the coming years as well as the available positions.
If the assessment suggests insufficient Federal placement opportunities
will be available for SFS students, the program should consider allowing
students to meet the service requirement by taking IA jobs at government-owned,
contract-operated facilities, such as the national laboratories, and
at the state and local government levels. The program should also
consider whether faculty positions in IA could be considered as placement
opportunities that meet the service requirement. If further placement
opportunities are needed, consider other Federal contractor positions.
The program should evaluate the post placement survey conducted
by the Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) program and
consider whether a similar survey should be implemented for SFS students.
The program should consider a mechanism to enable the current and
incoming SFS/NSF program directors to work together (for as long as
six months) before the incoming SFS/NSF program director takes over
the position. Participants felt that continuity of management at this
point in the program is highly desirable.
As much as possible, the program should strive to maintain consistent
or comparable guidelines for length of Federal employment commitment
between the IASP and SFS programs.
The program should consider requiring proposals to include (in an
appendix) matriculation data that document the existence of courses,
NSF should consider including on the review panel individuals with
knowledge about the Centers of Academic Excellence.
Principal Investigator Related:
To identify a larger pool of potential scholarship students, PIs
may wish to consider personalized recruitment efforts.
To enhance recruitment efforts and to attract more women and minority
students to the program, PIs may wish to consider other NSF grant
opportunities (such as the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement
program, which could support outreach activities to high school and
community college students, and the Advanced Technological Education
program, which partners with community colleges).
Potential Short-Term Approaches to Internship and Job Placement
Principal Investigator Related:
Hold a job fair for SFS students to meet with representatives of
Federal agencies. Invite representatives of Federal agencies to visit
your school (as early as possible in the academic year) and meet with
SFS students. Ideally, representatives should include both those in
the areas of technical focus as well as those with authority to hire.
Gather representatives of Federal agencies and present profiles
of available SFS students.
Meet with Federal agency representatives who have possible hiring
influence, explain the SFS program, present student résumés,
arrange for private meetings with students, and talk with human resources
representatives from the agency about hiring SFS students.
Aggressively seek out potential internships with Federal agencies;
if the agency can accommodate an internship but is unable to fund
it, contact NSF for a one-time funding solution (as a last resort)
If an agency is willing to provide a paid internship but has difficulty
putting an intern on its payroll, consider an arrangement whereby
the agency makes a grant to or contract with the university, and the
university pays the student intern. This arrangement allows for leeway
among the parties involved.
Contact currently placed students; invite them to represent their
agency at a job fair or have them identify a contact person in the
agency with hiring authority who may be interested in SFS students
Direct agencies that have recruited through the IASP program to
check the SFS database if they need more interns.
Consider publicity opportunities. Send details of successful placements
to NSF and identify representatives of Federal agencies who will give
testimonials about the high quality of SFS students.
Present details of successful placements and testimonials from employers
to your university’s PR office; ask the PR staff to publicize
in local papers, students’ hometown papers, and alumni magazine.
Ask OPM to promote SFS students for internship positions related
to IA but not necessarily denoted as 2210.
Network among each other, PI to PI. If you have contact with an
agency representative who is interested in the program but none of
your students meet the specific needs of the job, refer the representative
to other PIs.
Consider small-scale publicity/marketing efforts, such as including
text on the back of business cards or on individual faculty or department
websites promoting the SFS program.