I have no experience in program evaluation. Program evaluation, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2014, para. 2), “is the systematic, objective assessment of an ongoing or completed intervention, project, policy, program, or partnership.” Although the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2010) and Westat (2010) have similar definitions, Westat (2010) suggests that conducting evaluations for ongoing program operations produce the most valuable information for everyone involved in the evaluation. Program evaluation is conducted to gather empirical data to measure whether or not an organization's goals are being met (Bill & Melinda Gates, 2014; Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, 2010; & Westat, 2010).
My current interests are in the heroin overdose crisis. Although the crisis has been growing nationwide for some time now, my home state of Kentucky has recently experienced a huge increase in heroin overdose incidents. My current area of interest would most likely be in the evaluation of treatment programs, needle exchange programs, and safe injection sites. I believe that these areas of evaluation could include all of the program evaluation types listed in the discussion assignment. The “necessity for the program” evaluations could be the goal of an evaluation that addresses the need for new and ongoing programs in this field. “Program improvement” evaluations could discover more effective and efficient ways that these programs could be organized. “Program continuation or dissemination” evaluations could identify those programs that achieve life-saving goals as well as those that fail to achieve these goals. “Accountability” evaluations would help to place funding in the programs that work rather than spending valuable resources on programs that do not work.
I am currently teaching lower-level Homeland Security and Criminal Justice classes. I plan to continue teaching for as long as I can. Conducting program evaluations on the various drug-related programs will help me to better pass along valuable and empirically sound information to my students. Obviously, not all of my classes address chemical dependency so learning to conduct program evaluations, in general, will help me to be a better instructor.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Evaluation policy.
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. (2010). The program manager’s guide to evaluation (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Westat, J. F. (Ed.). (2010). The 2010 user-friendly handbook for project evaluation.