Evaluation Center Releases Report Detailing its Achievements

Community Engagement; Research; Social Work

In its first-ever Accomplishments & Impact Report, the Brown School Evaluation Center highlights its accomplishments, including doubling its staff size since its founding in 2015 and securing over $8 million in grants and contracts to advance the work of partner organizations and strengthen the evaluation capacity of partners and others in the field.

Uniquely positioned in Washington University’s Brown School of social work, public health, and social policy, the Center connects community organizations to the school’s broader resources, while training students and providing opportunities for community-engaged work by faculty and staff. “The Evaluation Center works with partners to build the evaluation approaches and tools that best meet their needs,” said Nikole Lobb Dougherty, the Center’s director. “We help organizations tell their stories, build their own evaluation capacity, and have a greater impact on the communities they serve.”

The Center’s work focuses on three core areas:

  • Advancing evaluation planning and implementation with partner organizations.
  • Strengthening evaluation capacity through a variety of learning opportunities.
  • Contributing to the field and amplifying the impact of our partners through publication and professional association leadership.

Tonya Edmond and Rodrigo Reis, interim co-deans of the Brown School, said that before the Center was established, many organizations requested evaluation support as they sought to understand their impact and demonstrate it to funders. “The Brown School listened, and developed the Evaluation Center to be a front door to the school’s evaluation expertise,” the deans said. The Center’s founding director, Nancy Mueller, recently transitioned to become the university’s Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness.

The Center and community partners have each benefited from their collaboration, said Heather Jacobsen, evaluation & communications manager. “Learning goes both ways,” she said. “We want our partners to grow their evaluation skills and, at the same time, we want to learn about the communities our partners serve and how we can engage them to develop evaluations that best meet their needs.”

“As the Center looks to its future, its highest priority is to expand the ways in which it advances equity and culturally responsive evaluation, within its team and with its partner organizations,” said Hannah Allee, the Center’s assistant director of evaluation. “With every evaluation and capacity-building partnership, the Evaluation Center seeks to advance the Brown School’s core commitments and strategic priorities for driving equity.”

Dougherty added: “I am humbled by our collaborations with thoughtful and inspiring partners and organizations and am excited by the possibilities the future will bring.”