Wayne State University College of Education launches new online master’s in program evaluation

The Wayne State University College of Education now offers an online master of arts in program evaluation. Designed specifically for today’s evaluation professionals, the program prepares graduates to address issues related to accountability, measurability and sustainability in a variety of organizations.   

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, overall employment of individuals with skills in program evaluation is projected to grow 15% from 2020 through 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be increased as donors, sponsors and funders — including governmental agencies and foundations — seek to ensure initiatives and programs implemented by grant recipients achieve the outcomes they were designed to accomplish.   

“Nearly all organizations offer programs that address a societal need,” said William Hill, Ed.D., assistant dean of the Division of Administrative and Organization Studies in the College of Education. "The college supported the development of this new master's program because there is a growing demand for individuals who have the skill set to perform program evaluation. Organizations need people who can analyze, evaluate and interpret information and provide recommendations to help them determine whether their programs should be extended, enhanced, expanded or ended.” 

The fully online, five-semester curriculum allows students to learn anytime, anywhere. Recent graduates and current practitioners will develop the skills they need to pursue positions or advance their careers in evaluation and assessment. Graduates can work as analysts, evaluators, consultants and managers in various industries, including education, public health, public policy, business, nonprofits, government and human services.  

Master’s students must complete 33 credits. Courses cover organizational communication to highlight the importance of stakeholder engagement. They also provide a balance between qualitative and quantitative research methods to ensure students can conduct a needs assessment, create a program design, collect and analyze data, and prepare program evaluation reports in multiple settings. Attention to both approaches not only helps students become well-rounded but also provides them with a solid foundation for continued graduate study.  

A special focus on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) helps graduates understand and practice culturally responsive program evaluation.  

“In terms of national university trends, there is a growing emphasis on program evaluation,” said Jasmine Ulmer, Ph.D., associate professor of educational evaluation and research and coordinator of the master’s in program evaluation. “Diversity, equity and inclusion is also a priority for higher education institutions and other organizations. Students will learn how to incorporate DEI principles into every stage of the evaluation process, including planning, design, and data collection and analysis. It is a particularly important part of engaging and maintaining relationships with stakeholders.” 

The program also takes an interdisciplinary approach to program evaluation.  

“The master’s program was developed by faculty in the educational evaluation and research and learning design and technology programs," said Hill. “This collaboration gives students the opportunity to learn from individuals with expertise and experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as performance improvement, evaluation, needs assessment and other industry-based evaluation practices. 

Throughout the program, students will use technology to strengthen skills in team communication, collaboration, project management, design analysis, and data collection and analysis. In addition, students will take part in a practicum — a supervised educational experience during which students practice applying the knowledge they have gained by observing and interacting with professionals in their field of study — at the end of the program to give them a competitive edge in a growing field.  

“Students will develop the knowledge and skills needed to be effective program evaluators,” said Ulmer. “They will be able to immediately apply what they learn in the classroom in real-world settings, and graduates will be positioned to succeed in a variety of evaluation and assessment roles in a wide range of industries.”  

Visit education.wayne.edu/educational-evaluation-research/ma or contact Jasmine Ulmer at jasmine.ulmer@wayne.edu to learn more about the online master’s in program evaluation.  

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