Program Integration and DOC Reentry Program, Two-year grant award, Connecticut State Department of Correction – Sun State Ford

Evaluate two initiatives of the Department of Correction (DOC): CT DOC Reentry Workbook (pre-release) program and the Program Fidelity project (post release services) in order to 1) determine if programs are being implemented with fidelity to the model, 2) identify challenges and competing issues to implementation, 3) assess the extent to which program participants (inmates, ex-offenders) utilize these resources and what they find to be helpful, 4) inform program development and training, and 5) develop capacity to evaluate effectiveness of these initiatives (i.e., to ensure successful reentry for offenders and reduce recidivism- Sun State Ford).

Researchers gather and analyze information and data on implementation, utilization, and effectiveness of the two initiatives. Methodology includes interviews, focus groups, surveys, on-site observations, and review of program documentation.

 

Process Evaluation, Bridgeport Reentry Initiative, Connecticut State Department of Correction.

Conducted an implementation evaluation of the Bridgeport Reentry Initiative (BRI) grant. The evaluator worked collaboratively with a range of program staff – conducted an in-depth investigation of the program, learned about the program model and developments, explicated the objectives of the different elements of the program specific to creating change, and identified the framework or strategies for achieving the objectives. The final outcome of the implementation evaluation was the development of a logic model that: (1) Described the components and functions of the multi-agent program, (2) Established a shared understanding and a set of expectations among staff and key stakeholders of how the program will create change, and (3) Provided an approach for tracking participation and progress within programs over time and tracking outcomes for different participant groups (based on assessment of needs and risks and engagement in program activities).

Evaluating Implementation Projects in India, Engineers Without Borders, University of Hartford Student and Hartford Professional Team.

Implementation evaluation of environmental development work carried out by faculty-student teams on the University of Hartford’s Engineers Without Borders “Water for Abheypur” project, Abheypur, India. Information and data are collected through structured interviews with a range of stakeholders in the village to better understand level of interest, understanding, and engagement in Engineer Without Borders projects in relation to decision making and influence on implementation. By analyzing participant motivation, information, and influence, the model (Contextual Interaction Theory, Bressers & Xue, 2006) evaluates the likelihood that a project will “get off the ground,” and the likelihood that it will adequately address the problem.

Program Evaluation of University of Hartford’s Engineers Without Borders “Water for Abheypur” project, Abheypur, India.

The University of Hartford’s Student-Professional Engineers Without Borders (EWB) team has been working with villagers in Abheypur, a rural village in Haryana state in Northern India to establish sustainable and dependable water sources in areas of the village that have historically been dependent on neighboring communities. The purpose of the evaluation work, led by faculty-student field researchers, is to 1) conduct needs assessments to determine community priorities, 2) assess the impact of EWB efforts (i.e., positive change) on the daily lives and routines of the villagers, and 3) engage and involve local people in EWB activities and use what is learned to inform project development and ongoing management and maintenance for sustainability.

Evaluation activities include: on-site information gathering and observations of water systems and related infrastructures; reviewing available data and reports; and conducting meetings, interviews, focus groups, and household surveys with a cross-section of relevant villagers and key stakeholders such as village leaders, community members, women’s self-help groups, farmers, health care professionals, and educators.

Sun State Ford

Service Learning Workshops in lieu of Village Based Project. Grant award, Connecticut Campus Compact.

Evaluated the impact of service learning workshops in preparing students for field experiences in community development work. Students were taking courses at their own college to prepare them for their specific role in an Engineers Without Borders effort, then came together to participate in four service learning workshops prior to their fieldwork. The workshops were conducted during the fall semester, 2009 and work in Abheypur, a rural village in India, took place during the winter session, 2010.

Promoting Health and Economic Opportunities in the Western Kenya Lake Region through Entrepreneurship, Grant award, Women’s Education and Leadership Fund, University of Hartford.

This initiative builds on a partnership with the Kenya Agriculture and Research Institute (KARI) to establish amaranth grain as a cash crop and a new food staple within Gem District in rural Western Kenya. One objective of the partnership is to improve the livelihood of Alour, a group of HIV-positive women who have organized into a farming collective focused on “Living Positively.” A student-faculty team worked collaboratively with extension workers from KARI and with farmers from Alour on the co-development of business practices for marketing of amaranth and assessment of new technologies for production of amaranth. Student-faculty teams conducted interviews, surveys, and observations to collect information and feedback from individuals involved in the collaboration, assessed the receptivity of the local people, and assessed the resources and materials available for production and distribution of amaranth.  Interviews also gave an understanding of how the various stakeholders ‘on the ground’ consider and evaluate projects and make decisions. Business practices and strategies (package design and marketing materials) and new innovative technology solutions (human powered thresher and a mechanical seed planter) were designed, piloted, and further customized based on the marketplace, the receptivity of the local people, and the resources in the region.

 

Project Development:  US-Kenya (ACESS) partnership promoting research on clean water, appropriate technologies, and sustainable agribusiness, University of Hartford, University of Rhode Island, Mount Holyoke College, African Center for Engineering Social Solutions, and Kenya Agricultural and Research Institute.

Developed university-community partnerships based on a model of action research that provides faculty and students with opportunities for problem solving community-identified issues and conducting research designed for social improvement. Facilitated communication and kept process in motion for developing interdisciplinary collaboratives, fostering both team work and individual contributions, and advancing the goals of community groups. 

 

 Evaluation of the Diversity Program, Discover Center, Farmington, CT

Develop an evaluation tool that will assess students’ attitudes, perceptions, and stereotypes about race and ethnicity pre and post experience at the Discovery Center. The program “partners” urban and suburban schools together for three years and includes a combination of academic lessons and residential camp experiences.

A process evaluation was conducted during the 2007-2008 public school year in order to explicate how the program was designed to create a change in attitudes and behavior (i.e., towards others of different race, ethnicity, or family backgrounds).   A preliminary survey was developed using the findings from the process evaluation and a review of relevant literature and piloted to small groups of program participants (both pre and post program participation) during the fall of 2008. Based on the oral feedback from students and analyses of items (descriptive information), the survey was revised. Currently (2010 and 2011) administering it to a large sample of participants (400-500 students). Data from this sizable sample will be used to (1) conduct a thorough assessment of the instrument’s validity and reliability, (2) finalize the scales for each of the domains of experiences and outcomes, and (3) obtain preliminary data from the instrument for pre-post analyses.

Sun State Ford

 Meriden Partnership For Success and Middletown Best Practices Strategic Prevention Framework, Rushford Center Inc, Substance Abuse Prevention for Teens, Department of Mental Health Addition Services.

Provide technical support for evaluation and development to program staff and Community Task Force (Meriden and Middletown programs). Help to monitor both process and outcomes of initiatives and bring evaluation logic to programming to assist with setting up monitoring and feedback systems. Design evaluation with the coalition staff that focuses on short term outcomes.

Program Evaluation, Project Horizon. Process evaluation of a community outreach project of the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions.

Project Horizon is a community outreach project of the University of Hartford’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions. Nurse-students are required to complete a one-year internship (fall/spring semester) in homeless shelters in the city of Hartford. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the impact the nurse-students have on the homeless population in the city of Hartford and, in turn, to assess the impact the experience has on the nurse-students. On-site observations, one-to-one and group discussions and interviews with nurse-students and program staff, and a review of program data and other materials and documentation were used for analyses of how well Project Horizon met its intended goals. See reports: “Preliminary Assessment” and “The Impact of Nurse-students on the Homeless and the Impact of the Homeless on the Nurse-students: An Evaluation of Project Horizon”  Developed and helped facilitate implementation of a measurement tool (modification of measurement tool developed by George et al., 2007) to assess participatory action research conducted by the nurse-students. See measurement tool: “Appraisal of Participatory Research”

Program Evaluation of Educational Main Street, University of Hartford, 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, University of Hartford and Hartford Public Schools

Interviews, focus group data, and direct observations were used to assess the collaboration process among the grant partners. The evaluator attended program planning sessions, after-school activities, and also facilitated a focus group discussion (on the purpose, process, and progress of the after school program) and conducted individual interviews with teachers, the program administrator, several of the tutors, and the school principal. The information gathered for analyses focused on collaboration between the partners, specifically the progress and issues related to communication, decision-making, and the development and implementation of the after-school program.

Continue reading: National Technical Assistance Center and CT Children’s Medical Center – Cunningham Children’s Home

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