The UMCCTS is committed to a rigorous tracking and evaluation function. The evaluation goals include supporting:
- Center oversight through rigorous measures of accountability,
- continuous program improvement through formative feedback on Center implementation and outcomes, and
- ongoing summative assessment of Center outcomes.
Through pursuit of these goals, the tracking and evaluation provides ongoing value to the UMCCTS and the many diverse stakeholders who are or will become engaged with the Center and its research.
Through the attainment of key implementation milestones and effective utilization of new programs and/or resources, CCTS activity and accomplishments are expected to result in a range of short- and mid-term outcomes, which will directly support the attainment of CCTS' major goals. In order to assess the CCTS and its thematic areas' impact on the attainment of the overall aims, an initial set of component-specific evaluation questions, data collection methods, measures and sources were identified. Combined, the answers to these questions will provide tremendous insight into the extent to which CCTS is progressing towards its overall goals and support an understanding of which components of the Center are progressing, which are not, and why. In order to ensure the evaluation questions and methods produce meaningful conclusions and relevant feedback to key leadership, the evaluation team will engage in periodic check ups to confirm and/or address their alignment and effectiveness.
CCTS leadership engaged the services of an external evaluator in order to provide a level of objectivity and critique above what could be established within the Center. CCTS contacted the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute's Research and Evaluation Group (UMDI R&E Group) to collaborate in the development of the evaluation plan. The group's director, Eric S. Heller, EdD is the evaluation's Principal Investigator and is supported by Senior Research Manager, Steven F. Ellis and Research Manager, Beth-Ann Tek. Combined, they offer over 45 years designing and implementing complex research projects, including federal initiatives for the Department of Veterna's Affairs, the Department of Education, SAMHSA, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).