WCE to Offer Graduate Programs in Evaluation and Organizational Learning

The Watson College will introduce a Master of Science (M.S.) in Evaluation and Organizational Learning and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Evaluation in fall 2020. The programs are designed for professionals in a wide range of fields, including health, business, education, social work, psychology, and public administration; and emphasize evaluation as a service profession that contributes to the advancement of an equitable and just society (see American Evaluation Association Guiding Principles for Evaluators).

“Evaluation is a growing and evolving field,” said Tamara Walser, WCE professor and evaluation program coordinator. “There is demand both nationally and internationally for professionals with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively evaluate programs, policies and organizations to improve their effectiveness.”

UNCW’s M.S. in Evaluation and Organizational Learning is a 36 credit hour program. Students will complete courses and collaborative applied learning experiences culminating in an evaluation capstone project. The curriculum is aligned with the American Evaluation Association Evaluator Competencies, and includes courses in evaluation theory, practice and organizational learning; communication, facilitation, and cultural competence; and data collection and analysis. The post-baccalaureate certificate is an 18-credit hour program that combines coursework and applied learning.

The programs are the first of their kind in the Southeastern United States to be offered fully online to accommodate working professionals. Walser and Michele Parker, both professors in WCE’s Department of Educational Leadership, have led the program planning team in partnership with UNCW affiliate faculty members Christina Lanier, professor of criminology, and Kristen DeVall, professor of sociology.

Walser has worked in the field of evaluation for more than 25 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation from Utah State University and teaches courses in evaluation, inquiry methods, and academic writing. Prior to coming to UNCW, Walser worked as an evaluator in non-profit and for-profit organizations. She has presented research and training on evaluation nationally and internationally, and co-authored the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use. She is also co-author of a forthcoming book, Completing Your Evaluation Dissertation, Thesis, or Culminating Project, which is currently in production.

Parker’s doctorate is in Educational Research, Statistics, and Evaluation from the University of Virginia. She teaches research and evaluation courses for undergraduate and graduate students. For 15 years, she has worked on several large-scale research and evaluation projects for schools, school systems and organizations. Currently, she is working with the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College. Parker’s co-authored book, Taking Flight synthesizes research on best practices for strategic initiatives within academia. The book covers conducting needs assessments, reporting, and using the results, as well as communicating with stakeholders. The book guides personnel in applying their knowledge and skills to play a pivotal role in translating visionary strategies into meaningful actions across organizations.

UNCW’s Graduate School is currently accepting applications for the new M.S. and certificate programs. Apply by July 1 to begin in fall 2020.

For more information visit the Evaluation program website.