Lunch Break Webinar Series: So, What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? A Look Into a Unique, Meaningful Career for Curious Minds

Join us for a Lunch Break Webinar on Thursday, November 04, 2021 12:00p– 1:00p EDT

What are my interests? What are my skills? What type of training do I need? These are some of the questions students often ask themselves when considering their future career opportunities.

In this 1-hour Lunch Break Webinar, So What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? A Look into a Unique, Meaningful Career for Curious Minds we invite students to an introduction of a unique and meaningful career path that many individuals are unaware of – Research + Program Evaluation.

In this webinar, we will:

    1. Answer questions such as, what program evaluation is; why it is important; how you do it; and where it is practiced.
    2. Demonstrate how you may have already been impacted by program evaluation.
    3. Discuss important qualities of researchers and evaluators as well as educational and experiential tips for preparing for a career in program evaluation; and
    4. Introduce students to internship opportunities with The Rucks Group.

 

If you’re someone who’s interested in working with data, or maybe you’re just curious by nature, then this webinar is for you.

Not able to attend the live event? Register anyway and we will send you the recording when it becomes available.

About the Presenters:

Alyssa McKinney-Hokky

Research Associate, The Rucks Group

Alyssa McKinney-Hokky joined The Rucks Group in April 2021 with more than four years of experience in STEM fieldwork and more than three years of experience in informal STEM education. Prior to joining the firm, she worked within various nonprofit and government agencies to aid in grant-funded project execution, database management, and data analyses. At The Rucks Group, she utilizes her skills to provide direct support for evaluators through statistical analyses, database management, reporting, and focus group and interview transcription. Ms. McKinney-Hokky holds a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences with a minor in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is currently pursuing a professional science master’s degree through the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Julia Siwierka, Ph.D.

Director of Research and Evaluation Services, The Rucks Group

Dr. Siwierka joined The Rucks Group in 2018 and during her tenure has become a key member of The Rucks Group team. In her new role, she will focus on maximizing The Rucks Group’s processes for high standards to ensure consistency and excellence on the firm’s full portfolio of projects. Prior to her advancement, she served as a Research and Evaluation Associate with the firm. In this role she was involved in designing, facilitating, and analyzing data using mixed methods; creating evaluation plans; reporting findings and recommendations to clients; and engaging with clients as collaborators in evaluations. Dr. Siwierka has several years of experience in program evaluation and applied research methods within educational and youth organizations and community-based initiatives. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Theatre Arts at Dominican University and a master’s and doctorate degree in community psychology from Wichita State University.

Lana J. Rucks

Lana J. Rucks, Ph.D.

Principal Consultant, The Rucks Group

Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Making Your Project “Change-Quake-Proof”

Join us for our next Coffee Break Webinar on Tuesday, October 05, 2021 2:00p– 2:30p EDT

Physical structures are built in a way that makes them earthquake-proof so that when an earthquake occurs, there is less likelihood of major damage to the structure. In a similar vein, as project teams strive to implement ambitious visions that require changes at the organization and systems levels, they need to consider how to implement plans that are “change-quake” proof. In this coffee break webinar, we are pleased to feature Elizabeth McIntyre, Director of the Tristate Energy and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Consortium. She has extensive experience in implementing “elastic” change initiatives. In this coffee break webinar, you will learn:

      • How to create initiatives that are resilient
      • What perspectives help leaders catalyze change
      • How to manage partnerships effectively

About the Presenters:

Elizabeth M. McIntyre

Elizabeth M. McIntyre

Director, Tristate Energy and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Consortium

As Director of the TEAM Consortium Elizabeth “Betsy” McIntyre is responsible for coordinating the activities of a diverse set of public and private entities including institutions of higher education, workforce boards, industry partners, and state officials. The goal of Consortium is to ensure an adequate supply of properly skilled workers for a targeted 27-county region in southeast Ohio, northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania. Before returning to this area a few years ago, Ms. McIntyre served as Vice President of Commonwealth Corporation, a $43 million quasi-public agency in Massachusetts. In this role she was responsible for diversifying the funding base for statewide workforce development programs, as well as for policy development, communications, and program implementation for sector-based industry initiatives.

Lana J. Rucks

Lana J. Rucks

Principal Consultant, The Rucks Group

Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Demystifying Evaluation Planning for Grant Proposals

In preparation for the upcoming grant writing season, we are offering an update on our formula for writing an evaluation plan.

The evaluation section continues to be an important component of a grant proposal. As such, we have previously introduced a formula for how to write an effective evaluation plan for a grant proposal. In this webinar, we share our updated formula and lessons we’ve gleaned over the past year of working with dozens of project teams. We build on those lessons for insights on how to increase the potential for you to garner grant funding.

In this 30-minute webinar we’ll:

  • Discuss what to review in a grant solicitation to aid in the development of the evaluation, making sure that all team members are aware of these key elements.
  • Suggest how to address unique situations and spacing issues particularly for large grants with tight word counts for proposals.
  • Use funders’ reviews to inform that next draft of the proposal (Resubmission is key. If you can resubmit, do it!)
  • Answer your questions.

For an optimal learning experience, we encourage you to review our Three-Part Formula for Writing a Grant Proposal Evaluation.

Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021
Time: 2:00 – 2:30p EDT
Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D.
Cost: Complimentary

Not able to attend the live event? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link for the webinar recording when it’s available.

About the Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Get a grip! Tips to Ease Annual Report Anxiety

 

Receiving grant funds to implement an innovative initiative can both be exhilarating and nerve-wracking. The usual responsibilities—and self-doubts—can intensify as the annual report deadline approaches.

How do you start? What details do you include? Are just two of the discomforting questions that come with tackling an annual report. Even when a funder provides a template, it does not necessarily simplify the process of fitting the unique aspects of what is happening on the ground with your program into a set format. Defuse your anxiety by attending the Rucks Group’s Annual Report webinar. In 30 minutes you will learn what most funders, and the National Science Foundation in particular, want to know from grantees.

Our free webinar will cover:

  • what you should definitely include in your program’s annual report;
  • how to leverage the evaluation report to tell your program’s story;
  • how to set up a timeline and complete tasks incrementally to reduce procrastination for on-time submission; and
  • NSF expectations for annual reports.

 

Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Time: 2:00 – 2:30p EDT
Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D.
Cost: Complimentary

About the Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Program Evaluation in Practice: A Case Study of Central State University’s STEM Success Center

Program Evaluation in Practice: A Case Study of Central State University’s STEM Success Center

Join us for our next Coffee Break Webinar on Thursday, February 04, 2021 2:00PM – 2:30PM. EDT.

Evaluation plays a critical role in providing feedback that allows project owners and project teams to make evidence-based decisions about the project and use evaluation findings to persuade decision with an institution.

In our next coffee break series webinar, The Rucks Group is pleased to partner with Central State University’s Dr. Morakinyo Kuti, Project Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s funded STEM Success Center. In this webinar, we will demonstrate how the elements of evaluation coalesced to enhance the implementation of project. Participants will walk away with an enriched understanding of how evaluation through continuous improvement, can enhance in grant-funded work. These concepts include:

  • How to use program evaluation and associated best practices;
  • How program evaluation helps to achieve the goals of a project;
  • And how program evaluation can aid in sustaining and institutionalizing aspects of a project.

About the Presenters:

Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti

Dr. Morakinyo A.O. Kuti, is the Director of Sponsored Programs and Research and also the Director of the Center for Academic Research and Innovation at Central State University (CSU) in Wilberforce, Ohio. He has a demonstrated record of success facilitating positive outcomes for underrepresented students, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Over 1,700 students have been positively impacted through Dr. Kuti’s programs with 300 entering the workforce or graduate studies. He has administered $161 million in public and private funds since 2005. Also, Dr. Kuti has secured over $11 million that have enhanced CSU’s physical infrastructure, enabled faculty research and scholarly activities, and provided students with scholarships and experiential learning opportunities. Dr. Kuti was the recipient of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities 1890 Universities Career Exemplar Awards for distinguished alumni.  He is a member of Pi Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.

Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: 5 Best Practices for Hiring the Right Evaluation Partner

Webinar: 5 Best practices for Hiring the Right Evaluation Partner

Join us for our next Coffee Break Webinar on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM. EDT.

Evaluators play an important role in framing and facilitating the evaluation but Identifying the right evaluation partner can be quite challenging. As such, there are many issues to consider when you attempt to identify an evaluator such as finding anntity that aligns with the philosophical approach of the project team and the projects’ needs, working with someone who is responsive and overall qualified, and the management of the internal procurement policies. Because of these varied factors, there are many opportunities for the process to go awry, leaving you feeling apprehensive about the entire process.

In this coffee break webinar, Dr. Lana Rucks will draw from her near 20 years of experience in program evaluation to provide five best practices and tips that can aid in the process and ultimately lead to a successful working relationship with an evaluator. All grant writers and project personnel are encouraged to attend!

For the most beneficial experience, we strongly encourage you to review the Now What? How to Use Program Evaluation Findings for Project Continuous Improvement and Developmental Evaluation: What is it? How do you do it? webinars where we introduce key concepts appearing in this webinar.

About the Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Developmental Evaluation: What is it? How do you do it?

Join us for our next Coffee Break Webinar on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 2:00p.m. – 2:30p.m. EDT.

Developmental evaluations apply evaluation principles to nascent innovations and complex systems. This approach is useful for evaluating new initiatives as evidenced by the Department of Labor’s solicitation for Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants prescribing a developmental or adaptive evaluation to be incorporated into the grant funded work.

In this webinar, we will introduce the key concepts of developmental evaluation and explain how to use them by walking through a Department of Labor-funded project that used developmental evaluation. Participants will leave the webinar with a better understanding of what developmental evaluation is and how it is applied.

About the Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar Series: Three-Part Formula for Writing a Grant Proposal Evaluation

In our increasingly measurement-driven culture, gathering evidence of the difference that an initiative makes is important. Gathering credible evidence of outcomes is an imperative within grant-funded work. All too often evaluations of grant-funded initiatives focus on project activities (e.g., outputs) rather than meaningful project impact (e.g., outcomes). Averting this common error is first addressed when writing an evaluation plan for a grant proposal. Whether you need to write an evaluation plan or review one provided for your project, this webinar series will provide a formula for writing a program evaluation plan.  Presented in three-parts, webinar participants will come away with an understanding of the evaluation plan elements to scale them for large and small grant proposals. Time will be allocated to address participants’ specific questions.


Part I: July 1, 2020 2:00p – 2:30p The Foundations: Theory of Change, Logic Models, and  Evaluation Questions The first webinar of the three-part series begins with a brief review of the six key elements that should be included in every evaluation plan. The webinar will then dig into the foundational components of a program evaluation: theory of change, logic models, and evaluation questions.

Part II: July 15, 2020 2:00p – 2:30p The Methods: Evaluation Design and Data Gathering & Analytical Approaches In Part II, building off of the program evaluation foundations, this webinar will focus on the methods of a program evaluation: design, data gathering strategies, and analytical approaches.

Part III:  July 29, 2020 2:00p – 2:30p The Finale: Evaluation Use,  Sharing Findings, and Evaluation Teams In Part III, the final key elements of a program evaluation will be discussed, such as using program evaluation for continuous improvement, reporting to funding agencies, sharing the findings with different audiences, including the necessary personnel involved in the entire process.  Most important, the final segment will pull together all three parts to show participants how to adjust the elements of an evaluation plan to fit the size of the program proposal.

About the Presenter: Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work nearly two decades of research and evaluation experience. Her extensive knowledge in the design and implementation of research and program evaluations is based on her leadership of dozens of evaluation initiatives. She has evaluated projects funded by federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation and non-profit organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

Coffee Break Webinar: Now what? How to Use Evaluation Findings for Project Continuous Improvement

Thursday, April 30, 2:00pET – 2:30pET

You’ve won the grant and now you need to do a program evaluation. There are two general mindsets toward this work: “proving” to funders what you’ve done or “improving.” The Rucks Group recommends you focus on improving because it overlaps with proving  and uses information from the program evaluation to advance your efforts.  Having an improving mindset also completely changes how you address the program evaluation and reduces much of the angst around the evaluation.

This Rucks Group webinar provides insights that will help you realize the true value of evaluation through the lens of continuous improvement, particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • This 30-minute webinar covers the following:
    • – How to demonstrate the importance of implementing the program evaluation starting on Day 1 of the grant.
    • – Introduction to the concept of developmental evaluation and how it relates to the improving mindset. 
    • – Best practices to rally a team to adopt an improving mindset. embrace the true value of evaluation.