Because EvaluATE is involved in advancing evaluation practice, we are intimately involved in the evaluation of our own work through internal evaluation for accountability and improvement purposes. This involves documenting our processes and outputs and answering questions about user engagement, satisfaction, and immediate learning. EvaluATE also recognizes the necessity and value of working with an external evaluation team. As such, The Rucks Group has worked with EvaluATE since 2012 to be outcome-oriented and address questions regarding sustained learning, use, and impact.

Evaluation Purpose

The overarching purpose of EvaluATE’s evaluation is to use a combination of internal and external evaluation efforts, including feedback from our National Visiting Committee, to generate a comprehensive overview of our work. The evaluation of our activities assists in monitoring progress, identifying opportunities for improvement, assessing our impact, and serving as an evaluation model for the ATE community.

External Evaluation Team

The Rucks Group is a research and evaluation firm that gathers, analyzes, and interprets data to enable their clients to measure the impact of their work. The individuals from The Rucks Group who work on this evaluation include:

Michael FitzGerald, Ph.D.

Senior Research and Evaluation Associate

 Michael FitzGerald, Ph.D., has extensive experience developing and applying quantitative and qualitative methods to assess and evaluate programs and initiatives. At The Rucks Group, Dr. FitzGerald is responsible for working on several of the firm’s large and complex evaluation initiatives that require innovative solutions and technical assistance to implement successfully. Prior to joining the firm, he spent 15 years at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a field service associate professor. Dr. FitzGerald completed his doctorate in social psychology at the University of Cincinnati and earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Miami University.

Kathleen Lis Dean, Ph.D.

Senior Research and Evaluation Associate

Kathleen Lis Dean, Ph.D., provides clients with insights from her extensive experience helping organizations connect strategy, evaluation, and learning for program improvement and impact and began at The Rucks Group in January 2021.  Before joining The Rucks Group, she spent 20 years in evaluation and strategic leadership roles at higher education, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations. Dr. Dean earned a Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership at the University of Maryland, and both a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the University of Delaware.

Julia Siwierka, Ph.D.

Research and Evaluation Associate 

Julia Siwierka, Ph.D., educational preparation and professional experiences focused on applied research methods within organizational, community-level, and state-wide systems. Her expertise in collaborative and utilization -focused evaluation emphasizes the importance of co-creation to assess the impact of initiatives. In addition to leading several evaluation initiatives, Dr. Siwierka partners with evaluators internally and clients externally to ensure consistency and excellence in all the firm’s deliverables. Dr. Siwierka earned a doctorate and master’s degrees in community psychology at Wichita State University, and a bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of arts in theatre arts from Dominican University.

Lana J. Rucks, Ph.D.

Principal Consultant

Lana Rucks, Ph.D., brings to her work more than two decades of professional history, including over 15 years of research and evaluation experience. She has led dozens of evaluation initiatives funded by various such as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, she has taught at Sinclair Community College, the University of Dayton, and Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Rucks earned a doctorate and master’s degree in social psychology with a concentration in quantitative methods from The Ohio State University. She also earned a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Dayton. At Ohio Wesleyan University she earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with a concentration in chemistry.

Nation Science Foundation Logo EvaluATE is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers 0802245, 1204683, 1600992, and 1841783. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.