The Advisory Council's Vital Role in the Measurement and Evaluation Master's Curriculum

An online MS in Measurement and Evaluation degree gives students the skills needed to carry out evaluation with the governmental, non-governmental, and private sectors. Designed with the input of an advisory council made up of experienced M&E practitioners, the program provides the relevancy, practicality, and networking necessary to prepare current and future M&E professionals for the ever-changing demands of evaluation roles.

The Important Role of the Advisory Council

The Measurement and Evaluation advisory council is made up of former American University graduates and measurement and evaluation consultants and professionals from governmental, non-governmental, international organizations, and the private sector. Bringing an insider’s view of measurement and evaluation, they can identify skills that are in demand. The university uses this insight to shape classes and select faculty to provide the most relevant and up-to-date education.

The advisory council identifies skills that employers want but have a hard time finding in current applicants. The university has incorporated these skills, which include formative and summative evaluation designs, qualitative and quantitative methods, new and emerging trends in evaluation, professional communications and consulting, and evaluation report writing, into the curriculum. Advisory council members additionally speak on many of these topics in the program’s webinar series on Emerging Trends in Evaluation.

Program Insights From our Council Members

Alana F. Hairston, Senior Advisor at Keep a Child Alive, Measurement and Evaluation Advisory Council member, and American University alumna, supports the master’s program’s practical curriculum in helping students to learn the skills needed to enter this field. Here’s what she had to say about the program.

“The strength of the measurement and evaluation program rests in its practical curriculum and experienced faculty. Students not only learn about the theory of evaluation, but they practice it through class assignments. Students in the program complete logic models, evaluation designs, and a number of evaluations as part of their master’s coursework. Academic practitioner faculty with dozens of years of practical evaluation experience mentor students, helping them to hone their measurement and evaluation skills.”

“There are students from all over the world in American University’s online classroom. This brings different sets of experiences to the coursework and the program. As an American University alum, I find that I am still a part of an international network, which is of vital importance to my professional growth and development.”

As part of the practical curriculum, advisory council members also appear as guest speakers through videos in various program courses. In this way, students can hear directly from advisory council members and learn from their many years of experience as they talk candidly about the challenges they have faced designing and conducting evaluations.

An important aspect of the program is when students learn to write evaluation reports as part of their coursework. Dr. Winston Allen, Senior Evaluation Specialist at USAID and M&E advisory council member, shares his successes and challenges writing evaluation reports from his career in impact evaluation. Dr. Allen gives students pertinent advice on writing evaluation reports:

“I think one piece of advice is if you’re writing your first report is to make sure that you have a clear description of the methods that you use…and the limitations of these methods. The writing quality, I think, is one area in which you can differentiate between a good report and a bad report. If you write very clearly, without any technical jargon as such, so that it is easily read. Because sometimes the evaluations are read by people who don’t have the technical background of the project that is being evaluated.”

Through course videos, to webinar participation, to guiding the program’s curriculum, the advisory council helps to ensure that the education that measurement and evaluation students receive is based on the practice of evaluation. With the support and guidance of its advisory council, the online Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation program at American University provides students with cutting edge skills crucial to evaluation in today’s domestic and global evaluands.

To learn more about American University’s online MS in Measurement & Evaluation program, call 855.725.7614 to speak with an admissions representative or request more information.