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Program Evaluation Group News

  1. Shawna J. Lee
    Shawna Lee Appointed New Program Evaluation Group Director

    Shawna Lee, associate professor of social work, was appointed the director of the Program Evaluation Group, known as PEG, effective September 2019. Lee will bring her extensive knowledge and experience to the Program Evaluation Group. PEG’s mission is to provide professional evaluation services to a broad range of partners, including community-based organizations, social service providers, and university-based entities. PEG’s professional evaluation staff also train social work students in evaluation practice. PEG has a strong presence in Detroit and statewide, and has ongoing projects with collaborators such as the Kresge Foundation and the United Neighborhood Initiative.

    Lee joined the School in 2012. She completed the Joint PhD Program in Social Work and Psychology at the University of Michigan, where she was a National Institutes of Health (NIH) predoctoral trainee in prevention research. She was a postdoctoral research scholar at the Columbia University School of Social Work.

    Lee founded the Parenting in Context Research Lab whose research and community-based intervention work focuses on the role of fathers in promoting child and family wellbeing. She leads the design, implementation and evaluation of an intervention for low-income fathers in collaboration with Healthy Start home visitation program sites throughout Michigan. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, and the Fatherhood Research Practice Network. Lee teaches courses in research methods, program evaluation and social policy.

    Lee is on the editorial board of Child Maltreatment and Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal. She was named a 2017 Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Fellow.

    • September 25, 2019
    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams Write for the American Evaluation Association Blog

    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams, Evaluation Associates with the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group, were invited to write a post for the American Evaluation Association blog, AEA365.  Their post highlighted the tool they developed for the Program Evaluation Group, the Tiers of Skill Development.  The Tiers of Skill Development intentionally guide students through developing their evaluation skills.  You can read their blog post here.

    • January 6, 2016
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Staff and Students Present at American Evaluation Association Conference

    Evaluation Associates and students from the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group presented at the American Evaluation Association national conference in Chicago, IL on November 11-14, 2015, including three poster presentations and three oral presentations.

    Oral presentations included:

    • Intentionally Developing Skills and Competencies in New Evaluators: The Tier Approach. Presenters: Laura Sundstrom, MSW, and Megan Elyse Williams, MSW (Evaluation Associates)
    • Using the Social Work Approach to Enhance Evaluation Practice. Presenters: Megan Elyse Williams, MSW, and Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associates)

    Poster presentations included:

    • College Access and Social Anxiety: How Evaluation Results Led to Targeted Curriculum Redesign. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Sue Schooner, MBA (client); and Natalya Wawrin, MSW (former field student)
    • Data Automation 101: A step-by-step approach to effeciently handing multi-stide evaluation data. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Megan Elyse Williams, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Meredith Philyaw, MS (Evaluation Associate); and Jennifer Nulty, MSW Candidate (current work study student)
    • Evaluating a Human Trafficking Course Diversion Program: Building Knowledge to Better Serve Victims of Human Trafficking. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Chad Jobin, LLMSW (Evaluation Associate); Mary O'Brien, MSW Candidate (current work study student); and Cainnear Hogan, MSW Candidate (current work study and special studies student)

    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams (Evaluation Associates) also participated on a panel discussion entitled, "Strategies for Teaching and Enhancing Cultural Competence in Novice Evaluators."

  4. Bradley J. Zebrack
    Brad Zebrack Receives Grant to Evaluate an Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Care Program

    Professor Brad Zebrack received a grant from the Curtis Center in May 2015 to conduct an evaluation that supports the efficacy and value-added of exposing adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients to a defined AYA cancer care program.

    • September 30, 2015
    Laura Sundstrom invited to speak at WMU's Evaluation Cafe series

    Laura Sundstrom, MSW, Evaluation Associate with the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group, was invited to speak at the Western Michigan Univerity Evaluation Center's Evaluation Cafe speaker series on September 30, 2015 for doctoral students, faculty, and staff.  The Evaluation Center administers the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in evaluation program and provides evaluation, research, and capacity-building services to a University, public, community-based, national, and international organizations to assist them in assessing and improving their programs.

    Ms. Sundstrom's presentation, "Using Systems Thinking in Your Evaluations: How Separate Evaluation Projects Can Strengthen Eachother," focused on how to apply systems thinking principles to enhance the relevance and use of findings for evaluation consumers.

    • September 30, 2015
  6. Bradley J. ZebrackSue Ann Savas
    Brad Zebrack, Sue Ann Savas and Laura Sundstrom's Study Featured on American Society of Clinical Oncology Website

    Associate Professor Brad Zebrack, Clinical Assistant Professor Sue Ann Savas and Research Associate Laura Sundstrom’s study on psychosocial distress screening in cancer patients was featured on the American Society of Clinical Oncology website. The study is titled “Psychosocial Distress Screening Implementation in Cancer Care: An Analysis of Adherence, Responsiveness, and Acceptability”.


    Stephanie Evergreen

    The Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group is invested in finding ways to convene evaluators and evaluation consumers from across the campus and locally to advance evaluation practice.

    This semester, Dr. Stephanie Evergreen, author of Presenting Data Effectively: Communicating Your Findings for Maximum Impact, delivered the Education Series’ Keynote lecture. Dr. Evergreen is known nationally for her data visualization work and is a highly sought after speaker and consultant. The event was held in conjunction with the School of Social Work mini-course, “Program Evaluation: From Theory to Practice” taught by Sue Ann Savas, Director of the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group. 

    • March 24, 2015
  8. Bradley J. ZebrackSue Ann Savas
    Brad Zebrack, Sue Ann Savas and Laura Sundstrom's Study on Distress Screening for Cancer Patients Featured in Journal of Clinical Oncology

    Associate Professor Brad Zebrack’s study, in collaboration with Clinical Assistant Professor Sue Ann Savas and Laura Sundstrom (Research Associate), “Psychosocial Distress Screening Implementation in Cancer Care: An Analysis of Adherence, Responsiveness, and Acceptability” was selected as a featured article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


    • January 8, 2015
  9. John E. TropmanSue Ann Savas
    The Delicate Dance: University and community members learn about the intersection of philanthropy and evaluation

    On Friday, December 5, 2014, the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group convened a panel to talk with the University and the community about the delicate dance between evaluation and philanthropy.  In total, over 70 people were in attendance, including students and faculty from the School of Social Work, members of the University community, representatives from foundations, consumers of evaluation, and professional evaluators.  The conversation was facilitated and moderated by John Tropman, PhD, Professor of Social work.  Panelists included Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of Covenant Foundation; Rob Collier, President & CEO of Council on Michigan Foundations; Jane Fran Morgan, JFM Consulting; and Pam Smith, President and United Way of Wasthenaw County.

  10. Sue Ann Savas
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Presents at State-Wide Friend of the Court Association Conference

    Members of the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group presented results from the Re-tooling Michigan's Child Support Enforcement Program at the state-wide Michigan Friend of the Court Association (FOCA) conference on July 23, 2014.  Presenters included Sue Ann Savas, Clinical Assistant Faculty; Laura Sundstrom, Evaluation Associate; and Elizabeth Grim, MSW/MPH Candidate, Evaluation Field Student.  

    The FOCA conference was held at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, MI from July 22-25, 2014.

    • July 26, 2014

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