Organizational Evaluation: Consulting for a Business Leader on Educational

Through the process of program evaluation, CoreCollaborative International (CCI) works with its clients to evaluate the effectiveness of programs, projects, and institutions. Undertaking the process of a formal mixed methods assessment – with its articulation of priorities, collection of diverse evidence, analysis of effectiveness, and identification of challenges and growth opportunities – helps leaders to determine the future direction of their organizations. Most evaluations are internal, serving to provide program leaders with guidance on how their programs function within their unique contexts. More rarely, evaluations are external, designed to aid clients outside an organization who want, for reasons of their own, to understand that organization more fully.

The leaders who approach CCI for program evaluation expertise typically have a strong sense of their own priorities as they launch the evaluation process. They know what is motivating their wish to assess program effectiveness, and they know what outcomes they would most like to see as a result of the collected data and in-depth analysis. However, the assessment process can be surprising.

Sometimes, results are unexpected and lead clients in directions they had not anticipated. Clients may have unspoken motivations not openly shared with the CCI team and perhaps not even fully realized until the evaluation process is underway. At other times, the very process of undergoing assessment causes leaders to rethink their priorities, or to understand the undertaking in a different light. Fortunately, when engaging a new client, the CCI team takes the time to establish a strong working relationship with them, and it remains engaged until the end of the process to ensure relevant outcomes. So even when the unexpected happens, the CCI team is able to guide the process towards a fruitful conclusion. 

As an example: in recent years CCI worked with a private client to conduct an external evaluation. The client had been asked to join the board of an educational start-up, at that point only a few years old and piloting a new delivery framework. The client himself had been searching for an opportunity to engage in the higher education space. He was hoping to find a potential educational alternative that would cause a major shift in the higher education landscape. But he wanted to learn more about this institution – to find out whether it was indeed that disruptor alternative – before committing to the responsibility of board membership. So the client came to CCI with a request to conduct an external evaluation of the institution. 

Undertaking this task, CCI had the advantage of working from key institutional documents which had been supplied to the client. The source materials included a college blueprint, chronology, strategic plan, budget, admissions plan, proposals for academic program design, and an accreditation roadmap. CCI supplemented this information with several big-picture conversations with colleagues in the same educational space, which allowed a broader view of what they saw at the institutional level. Given that the evaluation was external, and conducted without the knowledge of the organization, CCI could not rely upon open engagement with its representatives and students, as it normally would. 

Despite this, CCI was able to present the client with a robust institutional evaluation and analysis. The report focused on the start-up’s capacity to deliver on its mission as well as on the values of equity and sustainability, which the client considered his priorities.

There was ultimately something in CCI’s evaluation of the challenges facing the organization that intrigued the client. CCI had provided him with a comprehensive list of the kinds of questions he should be asking the start-up and, as he did that, he realized he wanted to be involved. In the end, he decided to join the board, finding there an opportunity to contribute, from within, to the work of finding solutions to the challenges the evaluation had revealed. 

CoreCollaborative International’s unique approach to program evaluation is founded, always, on stakeholder needs and priorities. The CCI team works with its clients to determine what is important to them – and in so doing allows for relevant and actionable (even if sometimes unanticipated) results. Contact the CCI team today to explore how CCI can help you articulate, refine, and perhaps even evolve your own institutional priorities.

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