Program Planning, Evaluation and Process Improvement: Utilizing Service-Learning to Enhance Learning

Anna Foucek Tresidder, Sarah E Mount


Through didactic instruction, classroom discussion and an ongoing service-learning project providing experience in the field, students are introduced to theory and evidence-based strategies in program evaluation and process improvement. This syllabus, at the heart of this manuscript, is a graduate-level required course for a Masters of Public Health (MPH) at a four-year university.  The course is titled Program Planning, Evaluation, and Process Improvement (PPEPI) and is taught in a face to face format, one evening a week for three hours.  It is designed as a service-learning course, which allows students to apply public health concepts from theory, research, and systems classes to a non-profit community partner project.  The course introduces the student to public health planning, evaluation and continuous quality improvement. Congruent with the mission of the Master in Public Health program’s focus on quality improvement in healthcare, the course emphasizes the development of practical skills and knowledge needed of future leaders who are responsible for ensuring the quality of the processes, programs and organizations.  This course starts by focusing on the logic underlying the processes that are building blocks of programs and organizations. Students are introduced to the principles, methods and tools for managing quality in programs. With a foundation in process improvement principles, students will build upon this knowledge by learning how processes support and undermine programs. By the end of the course, they understand how these approaches can be applied to manage quality programs across public health organizations and how quality management efforts are applied to make tangible program changes and identify priorities for future program development. Students encounter the challenges and barriers that persistently exist for health programs and learn to troubleshoot and make evidence-based decisions to tackle such problems.


Service-learning; Graduate education; Program Evaluation; Quality Improvement

Full Text:



Gelmon, S. B., Foucek, A., & Waterbury, A. (2005). Program evaluation: Principles and practices. Portland, OR: NWHF Press.

Issel, L., & Wells, R. (2018). Health program planning and evaluation: A practical, systematic approach for community health (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Torres, R., Preskill, Hallie S, & Piontek, Mary E. (2005). Evaluation strategies for communicating and reporting: Enhancing learning in organizations. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

WK Kellogg Foundation (2004). Logic Model Development Guide. Battle Creek, MI: W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN 2163-3177

Register as a reviewer, author, or reader