Planning, implementing and evaluating a program must be a continuous process, said Tom Chapel, a Tulane parent and chief evaluation officer at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. During a workshop at Tulane University, he addressed more than 50 leaders of the university’s community partners — groups which host Tulane students doing service-learning work or internships.
Tom Chapel, who has been helping public and nonprofit programs do planning and evaluation for several decades, leads a workshop at Tulane. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)
“If you wait for the evaluation findings, you miss opportunities to identify and take immediate action to improve the program in the planning and implementation phases,” said Chapel, who led the session on Friday (Jan. 10). These opportunities may surface in the early stages of an evaluation if logical gaps are identified or key players disagree about the purpose of the program, Chapel said. This all happens long before any data is collected.
The Tulane Center for Public Service
hosted the workshop, which also was attended by several Tulane faculty members.
Chapel explained to attendees the importance of using a systematic method to understand their programs fully. Developing a “program roadmap” identifies and builds consensus on the links between a program’s activities and its intended outcomes and also the potential resources and other challenges in the larger environment.
Chapel has been helping public and nonprofit programs do planning and evaluation for several decades. He is the parent of a Tulane junior.
Vincent Ilustre, executive director of the Center for Public Service, says Chapel volunteering his time to give the workshop highlights how parents have embraced the community engagement agenda at Tulane.
“Tom typifies our Tulane parents: dedicated, supportive and engaged,” Ilustre said. “Parents love our approach to community engagement — they see the academic enhancement that can come from service and love the idea that their kids can give back to communities while at the same time gaining valuable skills that will last them a lifetime.”
Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.