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Evaluation & Engagement

Evaluation & Engagement

We help develop campus and community programs and foster connections between Duke and the broader community through responsive and actionable research and evaluation.

Lorrie Schmid, Jessica Sperling, and SSRI Director Tom NechybaSSRI provides evaluation services and learning opportunities to meet an increasing demand for evaluation at the university and in the broader community. We partner both with Duke and community entities to better understand program outcomes and improve program processes. 

We foster these partnerships through various means, including serving directly as an evaluation partner for external entities, integrating evaluation into research projects, and prompting Duke/community connection through evaluation – for instance, by performing community needs assessments that lead to university-based research. We also engage Duke learners through direct community project involvement, workshops, and educational modules on evaluation.

Our efforts advance Duke programming, inform community-based programming, and further Duke’s mission of knowledge in the service of society.


From informing program development to communicating program outcomes to stakeholders, our staff have expertise in evaluation and related areas of program development that can help your program from day one. 

Jessica Sperling teaching a workshop about evaluationWe provide an array of evaluation services and other assistance around program development and capacity-building.

Our work includes:

  • Overall strategic planning
  • Logic modeling, theory of change development, and other aspects of outcome mapping
  • Evaluation design and planning
  • Data collection and analysis, both qualitative and quantitative
  • Accessible reporting that focuses on program successes and avenues for continued program improvement, and
  • Developing evaluation language for finding requests.

We provide discrete services and reporting needs, but we are especially invested in building long-term collaborative partnerships that help develop program models and establish evaluation data that promotes program advancement.

Kids in school hallway, walkingPARTNERSHIP AREAS

We provide evaluation and program development to two types of partners:

  1. Community-based programs related to education and human development, including nonprofit and public entities, and
  2. Duke-based programs, including student programming, faculty development, and more.




Duke Bass Connection posterBass Connections provides both graduate and undergraduate students with greater exposure to inquiry across disciplines, partnership with unlikely fellow thinkers, sustained mentorship in teams, and the chance to experience the intersections of the academy and the broader world. Since the program’s inception, SSRI has worked with Bass Connections not only as a hub for the EHD theme, but also as an evaluator for the program. The first two years of the program were focused on developmental evaluation, helping to guide the growth and direction of the program. In year three and beyond, SSRI has turned the evaluation to incorporate an increased focus on program outcomes.


nurse and patientThe Duke University School of Medicine and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) are recipients of a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) grant. The program provides research development support to pursue research careers related to women's health and builds upon existing interdisciplinary faculty relationships to foster productive and innovative collaborations. SSRI has partnered with BIRCWH to evaluate program processes and outcomes for participating early-career faculty. This project has included an array of evaluation activities, ranging from logic model development, evaluation design, and quantitative and qualitative instrument design, data collection, and analysis. Findings are now informing program development and continued funding requests, and they are being communicated to BIRCWH programs at other institutions.


nurse and patientDuke TeachHouse is a living and learning community for early-career teachers. The program focuses on equipping early career educators with the confidence, competence, knowledge, and networks necessary to develop leadership, creative problem solving, and innovation skills. SSRI is working with the program to develop an evaluation model and inform early program development. Over the program's inaugural year, SSRI has worked with TeachHouse leadership in developing a comprehensive and concise mission statement, developing a program logic model, and administering pilot data collection with program participants and a comparison group to better understand the ways in which TeachHouse can provide needed support.


school children and teacherBuilding Lakewood’s Academic Success Together (BLAST) emerged in 2014 as a partnership between Lakewood Elementary School (LES) and three Duke entities: SSRI, the Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, and the Program in Education. Researchers in the BLAST partnership conducted the needs assessment in the spring of 2015, gathering data on LES strengths, challenges, and opportunities in interviews and focus groups with LES stakeholders. Participants included 24 instructional personnel (teachers and teacher assistants), 11 parents, 3 LES administrators, and 4 community partners. Data were transcribed, coded and analyzed, and the Duke research team shared findings with the LES principal and School Improvement Team in the fall of 2015. The report identified areas that can be addressed through a faculty-run Bass Connections research project and SSRI is supporting the development of this research team.


page girl with tractorThe Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education (PAGE) seeks to inspire and empower underserved rural girls through education. PAGE offers innovative learning opportunities for girls in grades 6-9, a mentoring program for 9th-grade girls, and high school internships for rural girls with college aspirations. PAGE serves girls in Madison County, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. SSRI has partnered with PAGE to help clarify and visually convey the program model, delineate key proximal and distal outcomes, develop original data collection tools, and analyze school administrative data to help assess the impact of PAGE programming.


Durham, NC 27708 | 919.681.6019


Gross Hall, 2nd Floor
140 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708


Erwin Mill Building
2024 W. Main St.
Durham, NC 27705

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