Date of Award

5-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Gary J. Skolits

Committee Members

Jennifer A. Morrow, John M. Peters, Jennifer K. Richards

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore evaluator perceptions of the processes they engage in when evaluating faculty development programs; their use of program theory; and the evaluation models they use to design faculty development program evaluations. Due primarily to the fact that most faculty development centers were established during the last twenty years, (Wright, 2011), previous research has shown a lack of widespread knowledge of program evaluation, and its application to faculty development interventions. Studies indicate a gap in the literature exploring program evaluation in faculty development centers from the evaluator’s standpoint. This study was interested in the processes evaluators engage in when they evaluate various programs in faculty development; the extent to which evaluators link evaluations to short, medium, and long term outcomes; and the use of standard evaluation models in faculty development.

A descriptive qualitative method utilizing semi-structured interview questions was used to collect data about the perceptions of evaluators concerning their experiences with program evaluation in faculty development. Five primary themes and one secondary theme emerged from the data analysis of information offered by each participant. The primary themes that emerged were: (a) purposeful selection of programs to evaluate, (b) careful planning of the evaluation methodology, (c) understanding that it takes considerable time to evaluate programs, (d) strategically linking program outcomes to center goals, and (d) implicit application of a utilization-focused approach to planning evaluation; a secondary theme emerged: (a) thinking critically about how to evaluate programs. These themes reflect consistent elements and patterns in participants’ comments on programs they select to evaluate, methods used in program evaluation, and examples of how evaluation results can be used.

Implications of the findings are that program evaluators in the faculty development field should familiarize themselves with the evaluation processes, program theories, and evaluation models available in the literature and utilize them in faculty development evaluation. For future study, a descriptive case study of evaluation in faculty development programs is recommended. The suggested study design would include onsite observations, interviews with stakeholders, plus document review and analysis.

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