Session Leaders

Main Sessions: The Fundamentals of Evaluation Practice

Tamara Walser, PhD has worked in the field of evaluation for more than 20 years. Dr. Walser is a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) where she has served as Director of Assessment and Evaluation for the Watson College of Education, Interim Chair of the Educational Leadership Department, and Graduate Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Ed.D. program. Prior to joining UNCW, Dr. Walser worked in non-profit and for-profit organizations as an evaluator and as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University. She has taught courses in program evaluation, assessment, research methods, statistics, and academic writing. Dr. Walser has served as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Lead Evaluator, and as an Advisory Group member on numerous grants and contracts focused on evaluation. She has authored and co-authored journal articles, guidebooks, and resources on evaluation, including co-authoring the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use. Dr. Walser presents on evaluation topics nationally and internationally. She is a former President of the North Carolina Association for Research in Education, a state affiliate of the American Educational Research Association. Dr. Walser obtained her Ph.D. in Research and Evaluation and her M.S. in Instructional Design and Development from Utah State University.

Michael Trevisan, PhD has conducted educational research and evaluation for 32 years. He is currently Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Educational Psychology at Washington State University, where he has worked for 24 years. Dr. Trevisan is widely published in the field of evaluation and assessment. He has been Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on many grants and contracts that require evaluation and has obtained more than $8 million in external funding. Dr. Trevisan co-authored the book, Evaluability Assessment: Improving Evaluation Quality and Use. He has taught courses in evaluation, research methods, measurement, and statistics. Dr. Trevisan obtained his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in measurement, statistics, and evaluation from the University of Washington in 1990.

Keynote Lunch Address: Evaluation Practice and the Enos Park Access to Care Collaborative

Tracey Smith, DNP, PHCBNS-BC is a Research Associate Professor in Family and Community Medicine and Director of Population Health Integration at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine. She directs the Enos Park Access to Care Collaborative, a partnership between the School of Medicine and local Springfield hospitals, which recently received the American Hospital Association’s NOVA Award for improving community health. A registered nurse by education and training, she received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During the past 20 years, Dr. Smith has served in multiple clinical roles that engage patients and providers at the SIU School of Medicine. She conducts research in and educates medical students and residents about population health and prevention, health and social disparities, health literacy, and community and patient engagement. Dr. Smith also directs several local and prestigious national grants to address population health outcomes. These include grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Primary Care Progress, and the Council on Social Work Education.

Interactive Session: Overview of Memorial Health System Demographic and Assessment Tools

Paula Gramley, Community Benefit Program Manager, Memorial Health System

Since joining Memorial Health System in 1996, Paula Gramley has led a variety of initiatives, including work with public relations, grant writing and community outreach. For the past 11 years, she has served as the Community Benefit Program Manager for the health system, where she oversees the Sangamon County Community Health Needs Assessment. The assessment requires research, analysis, and prioritization of community data, along with developing three-year implementation strategies to address identified priorities. Ms. Gramley serves on the steering committee for the Enos Park Access to Care Collaborative in Springfield, which received a 2018 NOVA award from the American Hospital Association for its partnership between Memorial, SIU Center for Family Medicine, and HSHS St. John’s Hospital to improve community health.

Closing Session: Reflections Panel on Evaluation Practice

Dave Racine, PhD is the Director of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, Director of the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies (ILLAPS), and interim director of the Center’s Survey Research Office. The Center oversees applied research and evaluation projects, graduate public service internship and public sector training programs, NPR Illinois, Innovate Springfield (local incubator of new businesses and social innovations) and video production and webcasting services. During his time at UIS, Racine has also served as interim director of the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiquon and acting dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

At UIS, Racine has provided the administrative leadership for development of the Illinois Innocence Project and Illinois’ Child Protection Training Academy, creation of NPR Illinois from WUIS public radio and Illinois Issues magazine, expansion of the Graduate Public Service Internship program, and launching several initiatives to bring the intellectual resources of the university to bear on local problem solving.

Before coming to UIS in 2007, Racine was involved in starting innovative national organizations to foster civic engagement and promote the use of evidence-based programs and policies, and worked in senior staff positions with former U.S. Senator Jack Danforth and former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean. Earlier in his career, Racine served as the chief representative in Washington, DC for the state and local human service agencies. Racine has extensive experience in public policy research and program evaluation, functioning as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for scores of publicly and philanthropically funded initiatives during his career.

Sarah Tapscott is the Director of Statewide Partnerships at Forefront, Illinois’ statewide membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, advisors, and allies. Sarah leads Forefront’s statewide work by organizing education and training for local nonprofits, promoting partnerships, and collaborations within the region’s nonprofit and philanthropy sector. Sarah has spent the last fifteen years engaging with the nonprofit sector in multiple capacities including community impact work, fundraising, volunteer management, and community engagement. Sarah has worked for national organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the American Lung Association. She earned a BA in Community Health Education from Illinois State University. She is a graduate of Leadership Springfield and earned a Leadership Certificate through the Organizational Leadership Institute at Illinois State University. Sarah is also a recipient of the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. In her free time she serves on local nonprofit board of directors, and is very involved in her children’s school, St. Agnes, serving as the annual Gala Chair for the past three years and a volunteer room parent.

Katrina Hays joined United Way of Central Illinois in 2013 as Director of Community Impact with the responsibility of managing agency relations and grants management. However, after a couple years her role shifted as United Way underwent strategic planning. This is when the gathering of data and use of said data became one of her jobs primary responsibilities; not only of their internal programs, but of their grant making as well. Today, as a department of one, Katrina is responsible for the collection and review of data for most of United Way of Central Illinois activities. Although, she does not do this work alone, through this work she has the support of six accountability groups, four Vision Councils who drive the work in Basic Needs, Education, Financial Stability, and Health; and two board level committees focused on Community Impact-Investments and United Way programming.

Katrina is a graduate of Quincy University and actively involved in the Junior League of Springfield. She deeply believes that the sharing and use of data, while sometimes painful, is the key ingredient to effecting community change and that this work can be done at organizations of any size.