Using evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the LEADelaware Program at creating agricultural leaders in the State of Delaware
University of Delaware
The LEADelaware Program is a leadership development program for individuals working in the agricultural and natural resources fields in Delaware and has been in operation since 2005. This Education Leadership Portfolio (ELP) examines the problem of knowing too little about the effectiveness of the LEADelaware Program to date and the program’s current lack of capacity to perform evaluation functions. This ELP established two goals: 1) increased understanding of the effectiveness of the LEADelaware Program to date and 2) increased evaluation information for program improvement and an improved evaluation framework. ☐ To achieve Goal 1, three strategies were employed. First, to learn more about the problem, a literature review was conducted (Artifact 1). Then, to understand how program strategies led to the ultimate program goal, a logic model was developed for the program which created the foundation of an evaluation plan for this ELP (Artifact 2). To gather evidence on program effectiveness, data were gathered from five sources: program materials and summarized existing evaluation data (Artifact 3), past directors (Artifact 4), members of the Advisory Committee (Artifact 5), members of the Curriculum Committee (Artifact 6), and program alumni (Artifact 7). Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to gather data on program effectiveness and to develop recommendations for program improvement. ☐ Data gathered in Artifacts 3 through 7 provide evidence of program effectiveness related to the achievement of early program objectives. There was not, however, substantial evidence that the program achieved intermediate program objectives to use new knowledge, skills, and networks to collaboratively address agricultural issues. Additionally, evidence collected suggests that past program directors lacked the time to devote to the task of evaluation due the administrative structure of the program. ☐ To achieve Goal 2, two strategies were employed. First, the findings and recommendations from the five data collection artifacts (Artifact 3 through 7) were used to refine and revise a logic model for the LEADelaware Program. This logic model was subsequently used to update the evaluation matrix for the program going forward (Artifact 8). Additionally, a slide deck of recommendations on program improvement was prepared for consideration by the Advisory and Curriculum Committees. These recommendations were classified into seven categories: 1) program administration; 2) roles and functions of the Advisory Committee; 3) Curriculum Committee considerations (which includes agricultural content, leadership content, and leadership activities); 4) program components; 5) communication/ coordination; 6) target audience, application, and recruitment; and 7) embedded evaluation. ☐ The leaders at the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UDCANR) and Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), along with current co-directors and the Advisory and Curriculum Committees for the program are provided the recommendations within this ELP to facilitate program planning. Given this ELP’s information on effectiveness and recommendations for program improvement, stakeholders might consider developing a strategic plan for the LEADelaware Program. Given this ELP’s information on effectiveness and recommendations for program improvement, stakeholders should consider developing a strategic plan for the LEADelaware Program.
Leadership development, LEADelaware Program, Program improvement, Evaluation frameworks, Agricultural leaders