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2016 Fall Exchange: Challenges in evaluation

2016 | Cleveland, OH

OPEG wishes to thank all those who participated and attended the event at the ESC Center in Cleveland.

Presentation resources are available through the Members Only Content.

Welcome and introduction: asli buldum, OPEG Vice President & Tom Williams, OPEG Member-at-large


Evaluator's Role in Creating Data-Driven Cultures | Sheri Chaney Jones, Measurement Resources Company

Abstract: As an evaluator do you ever feel like you have more insights about the organizations you serve than they have about themselves? Have you ever been frustrated with the lack of commitment of government and nonprofit organizations put into their data collection and use? In this session, author and consultant, Sheri Chaney Jones will explore how evaluators can help nonprofit and government leaders create data-driven cultures, which will lead to greater community impact. She will share research related to the importance of establishing these cultures and best practice strategies evaluators can implement to increase the evaluation capacity of those they serve.

Sheri Chaney Jones specializes in helping organizations successfully create high-performance cultures that drive results. For over a fifteen years, Sheri has improved government, nonprofits, and small businesses through the use of performance management, evaluation, and organizational behavior best practices. Her experience and expertise has transformed the culture and as a result saved public dollars, improved outcomes, demonstrated effectiveness, and increased revenues. Sheri is the author of Impact & Excellence: Data-driven Strategies for Aligning, Culture, and Performance in Nonprofit and Government Organizations (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Sheri enjoys educating and inspiring others by writing a monthly blog on measuring impact and presenting at conferences and seminars. In addition, Sheri is an adjunct faculty with Franklin University teaching organizational behavior. Sheri earned her M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Central Michigan University and a B.S. with distinction in Psychology from The Ohio State University.

Q Methodology as a Tool for Program Evaluation | Susan Ramlo, PhD, University of Akron

Abstract: This workshop is meant to introduce qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods researchers to Q methodology. William Stephenson first introduced Q methodology in 1935 as a means of scientifically studying subjectivity. Although a relatively unknown and sometimes misunderstood methodology, Q allows researchers to investigate the divergent views of a group of people as well as the consensus among those views. Often the best known aspect of Q methodology is the Q sort where participants sort items, most typically statements, related to the topic. However, this technique as well as the method (using factor analysis to group similar views / people) represent only two aspects of the larger methodology. Q’s strengths include an expectation of a non-homogeneous population viewpoint about the topic. A mixed method, Q utilizes factor analysis yet also offers rich descriptions of the divergent views that emerge from those analyses. An overview of the stages of Q methodology will be presented and participants will perform a Q-sort. The presenter will use a previous study to demonstrate the benefits of Q methodology in evaluation.

Susan Ramlo, PhD has been on the faculty at The University of Akron (UA) since 1994 and currently holds the titles of Professor of General Technology-Physics and Professor of Physics. Previously she was Professor of Education and STEM Liaison at UA and also worked as an industrial physicist in the area of radiation-detection. Initially a quantitative social science researcher, Ramlo now focuses on the benefits of mixed methods research especially Q methodology (Q). Ramlo has published both applications and methodological journal articles and a book chapter. Although primarily focused on education, Ramlo has also led studies related to caregiving of aging adults and facilitated a study on evaluating medical interns’ performances. Involved in the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity (I4S) which is the international Q society, she currently holds the Executive Board position of Advisor and previously was the society’s President. Ramlo has been recognized for her teaching excellence including The University of Akron Outstanding Teacher- Scholar Award, the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education Award for Teaching Excellence, and Ohio Magazine’s Excellence in Education.

Participatory Analysis: What is it and how do you do it? | Carla Clasen, The Rucks Group, and Thomas Williams, ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County

Abstract: Participatory evaluation, in which evaluators involve stakeholders in the evaluation process, has been practiced for a number of years. Advantages include more active involvement in the evaluation planning process, greater understanding between the evaluation team and program stakeholders about program’s intended goals, strategies, and outcomes, and making evaluation results more useful. This session will focus on stakeholder participation in data analysis and will include practical suggestions for involving stakeholders in analysis. This presentation will include role playing where audience members will be the stakeholders and we will examine data from several faith-based mental health and drug abuse prevention programs.

Carla Clasen has worked in the field of evaluation for nearly 20 years. While employed at the Center for Healthy Communities at Wright State University, she conducted program evaluations and research for the Center, for nonprofit and educational organizations in Dayton, and statewide and regional evaluations. Evaluation work conducted for the Center included projects funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health. Ms. Clasen began working with the Rucks Group in 2012, extending her evaluation expertise to projects funded by Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the American Evaluation Association and OPEG. Ms. Clasen earned a bachelor of nursing degree from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a master of public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Thomas Williams has worked in around research and evaluation since 1978 beginning with the evaluation of a computer conferencing system funded by NSF to see if asynchronous communication between rehabilitation engineers and researchers using computers might be useful. Presently he is involved in evaluating the implementation of prevention and treatment programs for mental health and substance abuse. He has a Master of Art in Psychology from University of Iowa and a Master of Arts in Education from Baldwin Wallace University.

Designing High Quality Statistical Graphs | Ray Lyons, MPA, MLIS

Abstract: This session is a brief introduction to the principles and practices for designing high quality statistical graphs based on the works of William S. Cleveland, Edward Tufte, Howard Wainer, Dona Wong, and Stephen Few. The session will address the purposes of statistical graphs, graph components, and graphical distortions. Then step through a brief graphical makeover, followed by an exploration of guidelines for formatting graph axes and appropriate use of line charts. The session will close with an overview of basic graphical formatting topics evaluators should be familiar with.

Ray Lyons worked for the Ohio Department of Mental Health Office of Program Evaluation (OPER) from 1978 to 1981, where he suffered through the writing of the OPEG by-laws and served as the group’s first vice-president. He worked 25 years in information technology systems analysis and project management in library, healthcare, and newspaper automation. He has an MPA from Ohio State University and MLIS from Kent State University. Ray is the co-creator of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Services (, a national ratings system for U.S. public libraries published annually by the Library Journal. He has conducted workshops on library statistics, survey research, data visualization, and quantitative methods for the Association of Research Libraries, Public Library Association, American Library Association, and the Statistics and Evaluation Section of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA). His articles on library statistics have appeared in Public Library Quarterly, Library & Information Science Research, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, and Library Statistics for the 21st Century World (IFLA Pub. 138). Ray works in statistical programming and healthcare records automation in Cleveland, Ohio. His blog on library statistics and evaluation ( is kind of a one-of-a-kind.

Evaluation Reporting: Collaborating with Clients | Tina Ughrin, Smile Minded Smartworks, LLC & Richelle Wardell, formally of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority

Abstract: Tina Ughrin of Smile Minded Smartworks, LLC and Richelle Wardell formally of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority will share a case study in evaluator-client collaboration in clear, concise, readable evaluation report writing with a concentration on shaping reports for different stakeholder groups. Examples of communicating results with attention to formatting, structuring, and the use of graphics in both print and digital formats will also be presented.

Tina Ughrin has almost two decades of experience in research, assessment, measurement, and evaluation and a decade of experience in organizational development and community engagement. Past work has included teaching full-time in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services at Kent State University, managing the research software support services for Kent State University, and bringing evaluation services to an organizational development and community engagement firm in Northeast Ohio as Principal in that firm. As a partner/owner of Smile Minded Smartworks, LLC Tina provides tailored solutions for clients' information and decision making needs.

Smile Minded Smartworks, LLC helps organizations, agencies, and businesses develop data driven decision making as well as guide their use of that data to better tell their stories to external (funders and the community) and internal (Board, staff, and volunteer) stakeholders.

Services of Smile Minded Smartworks, LLC include comprehensive evaluation methods, organizational development, and community engagement packages. Smile Minded Smartworks' services have been engaged by organizations and businesses to evaluate and explore a range of issues including (but not limited to): providing data collection, analysis, and reporting for urban planning initiatives, providing strategic planning for organizations and coalitions, and establishing/evaluating shared measures in community impact coalitions.

Presently, Tina is working on strategic planning, program evaluation, and research projects across multiple counties with both small and large agencies and organizations.

Richelle Wardell is currently the Director of Community Impact in Education at United Way of Summit County. Prior to her role at United Way, she served as Manager of the Early Childhood Initiative at the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, an award winning program recognized nationally for its innovation and best practices. During her time at the housing authority, she used story telling through data to advance fundraising efforts, improve employee performance to reach model fidelity in their evidence-based curriculum and enhance the program’s national profile.

See the full program here

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