Dr. Nichola Driver recently delivered a virtual presentation to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s UPEX-Rwanda Program, a fellowship hosted by UNL comprised of current higher education administrators in Rwanda focused on developing and strengthening international partnerships.
Driver, who teaches Field Research Methods, Program Evaluation, and serves as Faculty Director for the Office of Community Engagement at the Clinton School, presented to the fellows on the subject of program evaluation. Her presentation focused on the use of logic models, evaluation questions, and indicators to guide planning for monitoring and evaluation.
“Every good evaluation needs to start with a good evaluation plan,” Driver said. “You need to start by describing your program and your intended outcomes. What is your goal? If you don’t start with that clear description, you won’t know what to measure for success. Starting with a clear picture of your goals allows you to easily demonstrate the impact of your program to your stakeholders.”
Funded through the U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs' University Partnerships Initiative, the Nebraska UPEX-Rwanda Program is a fellowship that aims to create long-lasting, impactful relationships between U.S. and Rwandan universities through virtual exchange; professional development for Rwandan mid-career professionals; and U.S. mentorship in international partnership management.
The 10-month program is broken into six modules, with each module including virtual workshops led by U.S. content experts like Driver. Other key concepts of the program include strategic planning, fundraising, grant-writing, and project management. At the conclusion of the program, each fellow presents an international partnership for their institution.
Driver was connected with the UPEX-Rwanda Program through Blayne Sharpe, Coordinator of the Rwandan Scholars Program at UNL. Sharpe is an Arkansas native who is familiar with the Clinton School through his previous work with Bridge2Rwanda. He saw Driver’s evaluation background and work with the Clinton School’s international partnerships as the perfect combination to provide expertise on the evaluation piece of the UPEX-Rwanda Program.
“It worked out that what I do at the Clinton School is what they needed,” Driver said.
Driver also used her presentation as an opportunity to talk with the fellows about the Clinton School, its international work, and potential partnerships available with future Clinton School students. “We’re always looking for opportunities for our students to gain experience with program evaluation in their field service projects. It’s a skill that can really benefit them in their public service careers,” Driver said.
In the past, Clinton School students have partnered with a number of Rwandan organizations on international projects, including Rwandan Trading Company, Rwandan Orphans Project, and Bridge2Rwanda.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.