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Evaluation and Assessment

Build an Evaluation and Assessment Plan from the Start


Be flexible, learn and adapt as you build programs, evaluate and assess your work, and make adjustments accordingly.

Evaluation and monitoring are essential aspects of community engagement work. Assessment and evaluation provide opportunities to learn from past experiences and to build upon more successful efforts. In this way, feedback mechanisms provide essential feedback (e.g., mechanisms to ascertain participant and organizer experiences, the impact of outputs, etc.). Evaluation should thus be planned from the beginning, reflecting the objectives being set, and may require specific methods that use qualitative and/or quantitative criteria. As you are clearly stating your objectives at the start, also take the time to define specific evaluation criteria before the activity begins.
  • By nature, community engagement activities are a continuous and iterative process that organizers can capitalize on to learn and adapt from past experiences. The evaluation of a public engagement process should build in methods for formative and summative methods to ensure that past and current activities will inform future activities.

Assessment Links and Resources:

  • The University of Michigan. Article with methodology and resources for understanding assessment and integrating assessment into your program.
  • The University of Colorado. Worksheet providing examples of what type of assessment is possible for outreach and engagement events and a brainstorming worksheet for goals and assessment.
  • American Libraries Association. Article with the methodology behind assessment and examples that are suitable for some outreach events.

With this guide, we hope to help you build your outreach and engagement programs. It is a start to build faculty and staff capacity by identifying resources, training, services, and opportunities for faculty, staff, and students interested in engaged scholarship. Our long-term purpose is to use this resource guide to learn from one another to build and strengthen a culture of engagement at UW, demonstrating a robust integration of engagement values across university departments and endeavors. We will continue to update and post specific opportunities for professional development and outside training here as we become aware of them.


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