Certificate in Program Evaluation

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  • Entry requirements
    All applicants must:
    • Have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a professional or social science discipline (e.g., public administration, criminal justice, social work, education, business administration, sociology or economics).
    • Have acquired professional experience in the public or civil society sectors.
    • Have successfully completed an undergraduate course in research methodology or agree to complete such a course prior to enrolling in the program.
    • Be able to provide three letters of reference (at least one of which must be from an academic, and at least one of which must be from someone who can speak to your work experience).
    • Submit a resume.
    • Attend an interview or orientation session, if required.
  • Course description
    Methods of Delivery

    This program will employ various delivery methods including in class, online and self directed study.

    Good governance and public management require ongoing program evaluation and public accountability.  Program evaluation seeks to assess the relevance, sustainability, impact, effectiveness and efficiency of government programs, projects, policies and regulations by focusing on program results and value for tax-payers’ money.  It involves the systematic gathering of information about the performance of public projects, policies, programs and regulations in order to determine their relevance, success and cost-effectiveness. 

    Program evaluations are complex and delicate exercises which must be conducted professionally and competently in order to be both credible and useful.  Ultimately, the quality and integrity of evaluations depend on the quality and competence of the professionals who carry out this function.

    Evaluators must be able to apply appropriate research and statistical methods rigorously.  They also must be able to make sound critical judgments and communicate well with their clients in order to support them in bringing about change.  The core competencies of evaluators have been empirically identified by major professional associations, including the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES), and the Treasury Board of Canada.

    This graduate certificate in Program Evaluation consists of six courses, for a total of 15 graduate level credits.  All courses are competency-based, primarily designed to provide public sector and civil society professionals and managers with the practical knowledge, skills, and credibility for conducting, managing or participating in the program evaluation process. 

    Inquiry based learning is a central feature of the training approach.  Students will link scholarship to practice through case studies and problem solving exercises.  The goal is to enable students to apply sound evaluation methodologies in an ethical and professional manner. 

    This program delivers a transformative learning experience to mid-career professionals from various public management and service fields, as well as managers, consultants and researchers who expect to be involved in various capacities in program evaluation.  Students will acquire the core competencies required to professionally conduct a program evaluation. 

    This graduate certificate will be recognized by the Canadian Evaluation Society and members of the Consortium of University Evaluation Education.

    Program Outline

    Semester I – Fall

    Course      Title      Credits
    PE 700      Program Management, Policy Development and Performance Measurement     3
    PE 710      Program Evaluation Principles and Processes       3
    Semester II – Winter

    PE 720      Evaluation Design and Issues in Program Evaluation          3   
    PE 740      Applied Evaluation Techniques: Lab Exercises      2
    Semester III – Spring

    PE 730      Cost-Benefit Analysis                                        3    
    PE 750      Professional Practice in Program Evaluation     1

    Course Listings

    PE 700  Program Management, Policy Development and Performance Measurement
    This course introduces the student to the theory and practice of public sector management, policy development and performance measurement.  The course focuses in part on the role and importance of program evaluation and other performance monitoring mechanisms in informing policy and successfully delivering programs and services. The course places program evaluation within the broader context public sector management and accountability and introduces the general conceptual framework for the whole graduate certificate program.

    PE 710  Program Evaluation Principles and Processes
    This course introduces the student to the analytical and systematic processes used in program evaluation. It introduces the importance of logic models, examines the various approaches and research methods used in program evaluation and performance measurement, and critically examines the strengths and limitations of these methods.  The course introduces the notions of program ‘evaluability’, performance indicators, program audit, output measurement, impact assessment. Students will critically review several evaluation studies.

    PE 720  Evaluation Design and Issues in Program Evaluation
    This course introduces students to the design process in program evaluation including the selection of an appropriate research methodology. The course provides students with the skills and knowledge to design evaluation studies and other performance assessment tools. Students will be required to develop several evaluation designs.  The course also examines how issues arise from various stakeholder agenda including scope, processes, timelines and data, as well as other issues relating to the implementation and management of evaluation studies.

    PE 730  Cost-Benefit Analysis
    The course introduces students to the theoretical foundations and methodologies of cost-benefit analysis and examines the strengths and limitations of such analyses in the public sector. In particular, students will learn the economic basis for this type of analysis, valuing benefits and costs in primary and secondary markets, discounting future benefits and costs, contingent valuation with uncertainties, and valuing impact from observed behaviour. Student will learn about how to identify and measure the social impacts or outcomes of programs, their intended and unintended results, and present and future strategic opportunities.  The course teaches students the skills and methods for designing and conducting cost-benefit studies and interpreting their findings.

    PE 740  Applied Evaluation Techniques: Lab Exercises
    In this course students apply the techniques and skills they have gained through previous program courses through the completion of a number of case studies and problem solving exercises.  Students will apply their learning to cases and situations drawn from various public sector areas.

    PE 750  Professional Practice in Program Evaluation
    This course offers the student an opportunity to explore and practice the personal and interpersonal competencies that professional evaluators are expected to master.  This course also emphasizes the importance of values and ethical behaviour and professional standards in conducting evaluations.  This course touches upon the human side of evaluations, how competing views and interests are often at play, how misunderstandings and conflicts may arise, and how one may deal with them in order to mitigate their adverse effect.

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