Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Using service learning in the teaching of and research on program evaluation


School of Social Work


College of Community and Public Service

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Most students who are planning for a career in the health and human services are required to complete a course on program evaluation. This article describes a graduate-level service learning course whereby the instructor divided students into small evaluation teams and assigned the teams one of two distinct models by which to evaluate the same non-profit organization. The teams were assigned either goal-free evaluation or success case method; and they conducted their respective evaluations independently and simultaneously. Each team was responsible for disseminating their findings to the program via a written report in addition to an oral presentation. At the conclusion of the course, the students were administered an attitude survey regarding their service learning experience; and upon reading the evaluation reports, the programs stakeholders were surveyed regarding the perceived utility of each of the evaluations. This article discusses the course structure, the evaluation methodology, the research on evaluation methodology, and the findings of the evaluation models utility. The concluding discussion section offers lessons learned from the perspective of course instructor, program evaluator, and evaluation researcher.

Conference Name

Michigan Academy Conference

Conference Location

Rochester, Michigan - Oakland University

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