College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct.-Dec. 2012 > New Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis Established

New Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis Established

The Penn State College of Education has created a new Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis (CEEPA).

fullered_sml.jpgThe College of Education has created a new Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis (CEEPA). Ed Fuller, an associate professor in the Department of Education Policy Studies, will serve as the director. The center will have a two-fold purpose: (1) provide access to external evaluators for research grants, and (2) assist with other aspects of the evaluation process, such as helping researchers design their evaluations and write grant proposals. CEEPA will also provide assistance to faculty in making research more accessible to educators, the public, and policymakers.

Most funding sources now require research proposals to have an evaluation element with an external evaluator in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest. “It is almost impossible to get a research grant without having some kind of evaluation,” Fuller explains. However, researchers don’t always know who to call for an evaluation; so CEEPA is forming a network of expert evaluators from across the University  that researchers seeking funding can contact.

CEEPA will also look to make quality research more accessible to local policymakers, particularly in the area of education policy. “One of the criticisms of higher education is that we do all this research, and nobody hears about it. We write all these crazy equations and big words, and nobody understands it. So, what good is it if nobody reads it?” says Fuller.

Prior to teaching at Penn State, Fuller worked closely with both policymakers and the media as a consultant in the areas of policy and evaluation. “One of the things I’ve learned from my work is how to take those research findings and put them in a form accessible to the general public and legislators.”

The other problem out there is being able to identify quality research and match it to local issues. There is a great deal of research out there, but it varies in quality. The Center can help superintendents and school boards sift through the volume to identify the research most relevant to their needs.

Similarly, the center will work with policymakers to identify research errors, such as incorrect methodologies and conclusions that don’t follow results, and provide a place for policymakers and media to locate quality, peer-reviewed research.

Fuller is currently looking for faculty and graduate students interesting in being associated with the center. For more information, please contact Ed Fuller at ejf20@psu.edu.

-- by Chris Whitehead (January 2013)