Program Evaluation

The primary purpose of the Training Program evaluation is to measure the extent to which program goals and objectives are met. Our multi-faceted evaluation complements discipline-specific assessments of CPCTP trainees conducted by departmental faculty who provide course work, act as preceptors, and direct research experiences. We have conducted annual CPCTP evaluation since the program’s inception in 1988.

The CPCTP’s specific Program Objectives are to give trainees:

  • Opportunities to participate in cancer prevention and control research
  • Ample funding and other support for their educational needs
  • A wide range of multidisciplinary training experiences
  • Faculty and Directors that are accessible and provide ample guidance yet latitude in selecting research topics and careers
  • Trainee interaction. Our evaluation plan measures how well the program meets its goals

It involves the following four components:

  • Quarterly trainee progress reports
  • An annual program review involving group discussion and a written quantitative and qualitative survey, in which current trainees evaluate how well the Program’s administrative, research, educational, and advising functions meet their interdisciplinary research training goals and needs
  • Written and face-to-face exit interviews when the trainees complete CPCTP support
  • Follow-up of former trainees to monitor their career choices and research productivity Trainee Progress Reports

The Annual Program Evaluation:

The CPCTP Directors hold a program review meeting each year for the current trainees. The meeting is held in a two-part session. In the first part, the trainees and Directors discuss the program’s progress and plans for the future, and the trainees update each other on their progress (as they do quarterly). In the second part, trainees participate in a focus group with evaluative questions related to various program goals and components. They also complete an anonymous quantitative and qualitative questionnaire, followed by another discussion related to key issues. A narrative reduction is performed to abstract main points and is given to program leaders and the advisory board who review, discuss, and respond to the issues raised in the report. The written questionnaire assists the Directors to understand the program’s dynamics and to implement enhancements. From 1993 to 2000, we used the same instrument, with 17 assessment items, and in 2001 we added two additional assessment items. The survey also asks trainees to indicate what they like best and least about the program and what specific recommendations they have to improve it. These comments are used to help explain the scores for the assessment items and to develop a list of needed improvements. Based on trainee comments, the evaluation team recommends program modifications and enhancements to improve the program.

Since 1993, the trainees have given the program progressively higher scores in terms of its focus and its administrative, research, educational, and advising functions. Each assessment item relates to a specific program objective and trainees rate each item on a 5-point scale from 5 (Superlative) to 1 (Failure), with 3 being Adequate. The below table is a review of data for the most recent year of the CPCTP.

 

4.67 1. Opportunities to participate in cancer prevention and control research.
4.22 2. Amount of guidance received in identifying research topics.
4.67 3. Range of choices for training experiences.
4.89 4. Amount of flexibility to select and pursue training and career goals.
4.89 5. Focus of the CPCTP on cancer prevention and control.
4.50 6. Quality of didactic instruction (courses, seminars, research training).
4.56 7. Level of emphasis on interdisciplinary research and training.
4.44 8. Fairness, clarity, and communication of CPCTP administrative policies and procedures.
4.67 9. Availability and accessibility of the CPCTP Co-Directors and faculty.
4.78 10.  Availability and accessibility of mentors and graduate committee faculty.
4.67 11. Quality of the mentoring from the two primary co-mentors.
4.22 12. Adequacy of the career guidance from mentors and faculty.
4.38 13. Adequacy of the career guidance from CPCTP Co-Directors and faculty.
3.89 14. Amount and duration of salary support (note that NIH stipends are set nationally).
4.44 15. Amount of funding and other types of support provided (e.g., facilities) for research.
4.67 16. Amount of financial support provided for travel and conference attendance.
4.22 17. Number and quality of interactions with CPCTP trainees from other departments.
4.56 18. Ability of the UAB environment to foster interdisciplinary training and research opportunities.
4.67 19. Overall quality of the Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program.