Monday, July 19, 2010
I took a course Friday and Saturday -- Program Evaluation of Mission Impact and Organizational Improvement (Bad Influence Girl suggested that I raise my hand and ask why is was not called: Do your programs work for your organization?).
It was a nice change of pace to sharpen my pencils and spend two days on a college campus and stretch my brain. Math included.
The class was through the I.U. School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). There was pre-class homework of reading a book's worth of stuff about outcomes and inputs and evaluation and things I didn't even know about five years ago. I classified myself as a beginner in program evaluation when we introduced ourselves. The only other person who fessed up to the beginner stage was a woman who coached Division Three womens sports. Her outcomes were easy on the surface - wins/losses, GPA of student athletes --but how to do measure the impact against someone who didn't get a scholarship or make the team?
My measures seem pretty simple too - how many meals did we prepare, how many students did we graduate. But what about the impact on the folks that don't get our meals or are not accepted into the class. It's enough to make your head explode....and work a little harder.
The IUPUI campus is just a few miles from my house, but participants came from all over the country and Canada. I enjoyed bragging on my hometown and suggesting activities and sites to see to my classmates. I assured everyone it was perfectly safe to walk around downtown at night. When a text alert about this popped up I felt guilty. But that is a whole 'nother blog post.