Collaborating with a university to enhance your program evaluation efforts. Cathy Chambless, PhD, MPA, CRC Center for Public Policy & Administration University of Utah September 21, 2010 Advantages of external evaluation Objectivity Expertise Credibility Outsourcing intermittent tasks Identify potential evaluation resources Logical partners UCEDDR, TACE, RCE look at their products – what have they done that is similar to what you want? Are they familiar with : populations served (people with disabilities)? program structures (federally-state partnerships)? Models Internal employees External contract Hybrid Collaborative model Finding mutual benefits DVR needs Evaluation expertise Professional products Timely service Collaborative team Universities have: A mission to do community service High level of expertise and quality For rates that are below private market. Faculty Research or teaching interests Students Service Learning projects/Practica Staff Looking for “soft money” projects Issues Indirect costs (F&A rates) : may be reduced for government agencies or NGO’s. Procurement: public agencies may not have to get formal “bids” from public universities for contracts. Institutional Review Board: ensures protection of clients and staff Create successful collaboration: SRC, VR, and external evaluator VR: Prepare description of what you need Comprehensive statewide needs assessment Consumer satisfaction evaluation Administrative data analysis SRC: Involve members in defining project Substance Transparency Evaluator: written proposal To define the project as evaluator sees it. After contractor has been chosen Meet to discuss the written proposal and ask questions, Clarify each other’s jargon, Help external evaluator understand your processes Learn what’s involved in the “evaluation method” Define your role As overseer of the project What are the lines of communication? How often do you want updates? Who should be involved? Collaboration Example – CSNA Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment University evaluators presented to full meeting of SRC • Purposes of project How it relates to the functions of the SRC SRC appointed a CSNA subcommittee • To meet regularly with evaluation team. Formed a ‘Stakeholders Group’ • VR administration staff (evaluation coordinator, director of support services, case services SRC subcommittee University Evaluators Function of stakeholders group • • Focus research questions Refine the survey questions Help interpret administrative data (RSA compiled data). • Field test surveys. • Review overall results to interpret meaning. • Post mortem – What could improve process next time? Resources InfoUse (2008, November). Developing a Model Comprehensive Statewide Needs AssessmentWith Corresponding Training Materials For StateVR Agency Staff and SRC Members: The ModelVR Needs Assessment Technique. Berkeley: Author. Altschuld, James W, Mumar, David (2010). Needs Assessment: An Overview, Los Angeles: Sage Publishing.