Educational Consultant, Lamoka Educational Consulting
Peggie Weeks serves as an external evaluator on multiple National Science Foundation projects. She has twice been a program officer at the National Science Foundation, helping to manage the Advanced Technological Education and other Division of Undergraduate Education programs. She was on the faculty at Corning Community College for sixteen years, where she taught in the Engineering Science and Mechanical Technology programs. Prior to teaching, she was employed as a process engineer with Corning, Inc.
Recently a friend posted a blog whose theme was gratitude. Reading his blog caused me to reflect on gratitude in my own professional life.
I have been evaluating ATE projects since 2002, and I have been on a learning curve from the beginning – though I must say that the curve is not nearly as steep as it once was. I have learned much from the ATE Community, especially those evaluators with whom I have collaborated. I realized early on that we evaluators have different styles and strengths, and I sought out those who I hoped would complement my own strengths. Here are some examples of lessons learned from my evaluator colleagues:
- Peter is a global thinker who taught me how to formulate the “big picture evaluation questions” that Jane Davidson describes in her lovely guide Actionable Evaluation Basics.
- John’s attention to detail – and to reminding me to pay attention to the logic model – has served me well over the years. I remember first learning about logic model development in one of EvaluATE’s webinars http://www.evalu-ate.org/wp-content/uploads/formidable/Slides_2010-EvalTools.pdf
- Dave has consistently utilized outside-the-box thinking and encouraged a number of us to employ a “value creation” framework in our evaluation work. He first introduced me to Wenger’s work a couple of years ago: http://wenger-trayner.com/documents/Wenger_Trayner_DeLaat_Value_creation.pdf
- And Candiya, with her extensive experience in education and workforce research, has taught me a great deal about evaluation through conversations and presentations (see http://www.evalu-ate.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Report_2011_MATE_Highlights.pdf for a nice summary of some of Candiya’s work).
- Other evaluators in the ATE Community – Terryll, Stephanie, and the two Amy G’s – have influenced my ways of thinking, and have provided encouragement and thoughtful advice.
I am especially indebted to the leadership team at EvaluATE, and to Lori and Arlen in particular. Their guidance and support through the years has been invaluable, and I have benefited from EvaluATE’s wealth of resources. Arlen’s recent blog “Strengthening Post Hoc Professional Development Evaluations” is printed out and occupies a prominent spot on my makeshift bulletin board. Lori’s thoughtful attention to detail in designing and developing the EvaluATE webinars continues to serve the community well. I always learn something new when I tune in.
ATE is a community rich in knowledge and experience. I encourage you to make opportunities to learn from the members of this community. Find ways to collaborate. If you are an evaluator new to ATE, or if you are thinking about becoming an ATE evaluator – start by spending time with the evalu-ATE.org website. If you have questions, ask for help. Start with me if you wish. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m pretty good at finding people who do. I am grateful for the mentors and colleagues in the ATE Community who have shared their wisdom. Thank you.
Presenter(s): Elaine Craft, Lori Wingate, Peggie Weeks, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): November 17, 2010
Congratulations on your new ATE grant! This webinar will give you the information and resources you need to get your evaluation started off on the right track. We’ll cover issues like what should be included in your working agreement with your evaluator, how to integrate internal and external evaluations, obtaining human subjects research approvals, and what should be included in evaluation reports and who should receive them. Elaine Craft, PI for the ATE-funded SCATE Center, will serve as discussant, sharing her experiences and suggestions for developing an effective PI-evaluator working relationship.
Presenter(s): Gordon Snyder, Karl Kapp, Linnea Fletcher, Lori Wingate, Peggie Weeks, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): July 21, 2010
In this free, 90-minute webinar, participants will learn how to make evaluation a strong component of their ATE proposals. Staff from the ATE Evaluation Resource Center will provide guidance about how to focus an ATE evaluation, develop a plan for data collection and analysis, describe the evaluation in a proposal, and work with an evaluator.
The webinar will feature NSF-ATE program officer Linnea Fletcher, who will provide NSF’s perspective on these topics, Gordon Snyder and Karl Kapp, a veteran ATE PI-evaluator team, will also join the webinar, talking about their successful experiences working together on funded ATE proposals.
Presenter(s): Lori Wingate, Mark Viquesney, Peggie Weeks, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): May 19, 2010
Too often, evaluation reports serve little purpose beyond collecting dust on a PI’s shelf. Thoughtful, intentional planning for making use of evaluation findings can help you get more bang for your buck.
In this webinar, the Evalua|t|e team will share strategies to help you increase the impact of your evaluation findings so they can be better used for program improvement. Evaluators, you’ll leave the webinar with strategies to make your evaluations more accessible and easier to understand. PIs and project staff, you’ll see how the evaluation reports you receive can and should do more than take up space on your desk (or desktop).
Presenter(s): Arlen Gullickson, Lori Wingate, Peggie Weeks, Peter Saflund, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): March 17, 2010
Evaluation Data: So You Need to do a Survey….
Who should you send your survey to? How many people? How can you locate them? What’s a good response rate and how can you get one? Are there other ways to find out what you need to know? This free webinar will focus on survey implementation, addressing these frequently asked questions.
Surveys can be a simple and effective data collection tool. But getting the information you need from the right people can be tricky.
Presenter(s): Lori Wingate, Mark Viquesney, Peggie Weeks, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): January 20, 2010
How, exactly, is evaluation done? This webinar’s focus in on logic models, success indicators, and standards of performance — the blueprints for an evaluation.
A logic model maps out a project’s activities and intended outcomes and impacts. Logic models facilitate the identification of success indicators (measurable information about key aspects of your project) and performance standards (what counts as “acceptable” or “excellent” performance, for example). You’ll leave the webinar with a better understanding of how to create and use these tools to generate a robust and useful evaluation.
We’ll also discuss why it’s important to go beyond thinking about evaluation simply in terms of determining whether project goals were met to a broader assessment of actual impact.
Presenter(s): Arlen Gullickson, Lori Wingate, Peggie Weeks, Stephanie Evergreen
Date(s): November 18, 2009
Looking to formalize your evaluator-client relationship with a contract? We will share materials that can help shape a clear agreement. Thinking about your evaluation budget? We’ll offer guidelines and tips for maximizing evaluation cost effectiveness. Still need an evaluator? We’ll show you how to access directories of evaluators, offer guidelines for issuing an RFP for evaluation services, and suggest questions you should ask a potential evaluator.