Friday, August 1, 2008

Inaugural Session of the Arkansas Evaluation Institute (July 10-11, 2008)

The Inaugural Summer Evaluation Workshop was a success. The workshop began with a Senate Citation. Mayor Carl Redus, Jr., Dr. Calvin Johnson, and Dr. Mary Benjamin welcomed the participants. Dr. Fetterman provided an overview about the Arkansas Evaluation Center, the evaluation workshop, and the forthcoming certificate and masters' programs. Senator Steele highlighted the value of evaluation to inform his own decision making. He also pledged his commitment to the Arkansas Evaluation Center and plans to help support Center efforts. Representative Stephanie Flowers also expressed her support for the Center. Senator Henry "Hank" Wilkins, IV sent his letter of support for the workshop (which was included in the workshop program.) They helped draft the bill that was passed by the House and Senate (and signed by the Governor). Kevin Collins, from the Centers for Disease Control, provided a portrait of CDC best practices - both programmatic and evaluation practices.

Our first set of workshop facilitators, Drs. Stewart Donaldson and Tarek Azzam, from Claremont Graduate University, provided practical program evaluation and technological tools. Foundation officers, Charles Gasper (Missouri Foundation for Health) and Charlotte Lewellen-Willams (Clinton School of Public Service), spoke about the types of evaluation that were appropriate and valuable depending on the purpose for the evaluation effort.

Linda Delaney, chair of the Arkansas Group of Evaluators, facilitated the evening meeting. She introduced our remote speaker Dr. Abraham Wandersman, who spoke about his Getting to Outcomes form of empowerment evaluation. Linda also provided an overview of the second day of the workshop, highlighting Drs. David Fetterman and Rosalie Torres workshops. Dr. Fetterman provided an empowerment evaluation workshop and Dr. Torres provided a workshop about interviewing.

The workshop concluded with a host of free materials to further facilitate evaluation practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs
Introduction to Process Evaluation in Tobacco Use Prevention and Control
Introduction to Program Evaluation for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs
Pathways to Freedom: Winning the Fight Against Tobacco