Social Work Office of Research & Public Service

Program Evaluation & Technical Assistance

We design and execute rigorous evaluations using a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to generate relevant data on quality of implementation and effectiveness of programs and interventions.

Formative Evaluation

  • Feasibility studies
  • Need/asset assessments
  • Environmental scans

Process Evaluation

• Logic model & theory of change development
• Implementation studies
• Program/practice model fidelity
• Rapid cycle evaluation

Outcome Evaluation/Impact

• Program effects on target population/behaviors
• Community impact studies
• Training evaluation/transfer of learning
• Cost analysis
• Cost-effectiveness evaluation
• Cost-benefit analysis

Technical Assistance

• Readiness assessments
• Program monitoring & quality feedback loops
• Quality assurance data assessments
• Evaluation capacity building
• Performance management systems
• Adoption of evidence-based/evidence-informed models
• Strategic planning
• Organizational assessments

Recent Accomplishments

Empowering & Transforming Public Health Nursing Education and Practice for Rural Underserved Areas to Improve Care Using Virtual-Based Simulation & Experiential Learning (eTHRIVE)

Partnered with UT Knoxville’s College of Nursing to provide evaluation services for a 2-year HRSA workforce grant used to deliver simulation training to improve the knowledge, skills, self-efficacy, and empathy of 150 registered nurses enrolled in an online BSN program. The program worked also with Remote Area Medical (RAM), a nonprofit organization that delivers free dental, vision, and medical care to underserved populations, to incorporate telehealth technology into their healthcare services. Students had the opportunity to complete clinical hour requirements by participating in RAM clinics. Program evaluation activities included development of pre/post knowledge assessments for training modules and tracking of student outcomes related to self-efficacy for key public health competencies and empathy.

United Way of Greater Knoxville TANF Opportunity Planning Grant

After the United Way of Greater Knoxville received a 3-month planning grant from TDHS to design a program that “revolutionizes TANF delivery in Tennessee,” they partnered with UT SWORPS to develop a logic model and evaluation plan to include in the application. We worked with UWGK and the six core partner agencies named in the grant to refine the program design and craft the documents to include in the grant application, which was successfully funded and resulted in $25 million dollars coming to the Knox County region. As the initiative moved to implementation, we support UWGK and partner agencies on continuous quality improvement efforts by analyzing client demographic data to guide equitable outreach, collecting client outcome and satisfaction data through online surveys and phone interviews, and calculating program impacts by analyzing client assessment data. Aggregate and partner-level reports identify best practices for programmatic improvement.

Department of Education State Evaluation & Technical Assistance for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Lottery for Education Afterschool Programs

For more than a decade, UT SWORPS has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Education Extended Learning Office grant administrators on the development and monitoring of performance measures related to a variety of program outcomes: state assessments, grades, early literacy, discipline, chronic absenteeism, student learning engagement, and family engagement. In collaboration with our Division of Technology & Development, the Program Evaluation team provides technical assistance to sub-grantees including help desk support, virtual and onsite training in data collection and reporting, and identification and promotion of best practices for improved student outcomes. We also work side by side with grant administrators on program monitoring to ensure compliance with state and federal program requirements, through both onsite and virtual visits.

Knoxville – Knox County Committee Action Committee’s 2023 Community Needs Assessment

Collaborated with the Knoxville – Knox County CAC to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment that documented changes in the well-being of Knoxville and Knox County residents and identified needs for ongoing and new services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The assessment used administrative data and surveys with CAC Board Members, employees, clients, and community partners. SWORPS and CAC identified the greatest needs in areas related to services for older adults, affordable housing, energy and weatherization assistance, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment. Knox CAC and partner agencies use the needs assessment to inform decision making, advocacy, and the development of services to meet areas where there is a gap between the need and what is available.

Hamilton County Mental Health Court – Trauma Track

Partnered with Hamilton County Mental Health Court-Trauma Track to perform annual reporting for a VOCA grant. Data collection included in-depth telephone interviews with a sample of program participants. Program participation data, participant satisfaction data, and incarceration data were analyzed also. Data analyzed were used to create a report detailing program participation, participant perspectives on the program’s benefits related to overcoming trauma and changes to their well-being, and recidivism.

Team Members

Chenoa Allen

Senior Evaluator

Amy Hardy

Senior Evaluator

Jessica Hill

Extended Learning Consultant

Ryan Kemnetz

Evaluation Specialist

Melissa LaGraff

Evaluation Specialist

Emily McCutcheon

Senior Evaluator

Sara Meeks

Evaluation Specialist

Don Sims

Extended Learning Consultant