Ultimately, the value of any needs assessment lies in whether it leads to action plans for improving and enhancing the organization or group for which it was conducted. In practice this may be more difficult that it would seem.
This book takes the reader through a journey of getting results utilized and then evaluating the needs assessment itself. Pitfalls to avoid along the way are thoughtfully illuminated. A major highlight of the text is the "double dozen" techniques that can be used to make the trip a special experience. The text explains where the techniques best fit into making utilization a reality.
Laurie Stevahn holds a B.A. in political science from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Seattle Pacific University, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. She currently is Associate Professor of Education at Seattle University and Director of the Educational Leadership doctoral program. She teaches graduate courses in research and evaluation, curriculum and instruction, and social justice in professional practice. Special areas of expertise include cooperative learning and conflict resolution, organization development and systemic change, interactive models of teaching and assessment, and essential competencies for program evaluators. Her publications appear in a variety of journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Social Psychology, Child Development, Journal of Educational Research, Theory Into Practice, Educational Leadership, American Journal of Evaluation, and Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. Stevahn is also the co-author of several resource books for educators, including Cooperative Learning: Where Heart Meets Mind and The Portfolio Organizer: Succeeding with Portfolios in Your Classroom. She is the author, with Jean A. King, of Needs Assessment Phase III: Taking Action for Change. Jean A. King is a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. She holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University and, prior to her graduate study, taught middle school English in upstate New York before moving to New Orleans, LA where she was on the faculty at Tulane University. In 1989 she moved upriver to the University of Minnesota as the founding director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) in the College of Education and Human Development, a position she held for four years before working collaboratively to revitalize program evaluation instruction in the College. King founded the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) in1996 and currently serves as its director. With over thirty years' experience teaching and conducting evaluations, Professor King has received numerous awards for her work, including the Myrdal Award for Evaluation Practice and the Ingle Award for Extraordinary Service from the American Evaluation Association, three teaching awards, and three community service awards. A sought-after presenter and long-time writer on evaluation, she is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and reviews and retains an abiding interest in participatory evaluation and evaluation capacity building.