The National Science Foundation has given Western Michigan University a $4.9 Million grant over five years for the school's Evaluation Center. That Evaluation Center is used by "nonprofit organizations, state and federal agencies, and colleges and universities around the country to conduct program evaluation as well as training."

According to Western, the money is to "extend and expand its work to support evaluation within the NSF's Advanced Technological Education program."

The center's latest major grant extends its years-long relationship with ATE, a program designed to improve technician education--primarily at colleges that grant associate degrees--in such high-tech areas as advanced manufacturing, nanotechnology and biotechnology. Since 2008, WMU's evaluation experts have been providing evaluation education and technical support through EvaluATE, a project dedicated to developing evaluation capacity within the ATE program.  - WMU release

The grant will allow the Evaluation Center to bring in two additional "principal investigators".

"A really important part of what we do at EvaluATE is to educate the project leaders about evaluation--why evaluation is needed, how to find and work with an external evaluator, and what to do with the results. To our knowledge, this is the largest single grant NSF has made to support evaluation capacity development." - Dr. Lori Wingate, the director of Research at the Evaluation Center.