Linda Toms Barker has over 35 years of experience in program evaluation, program design, strategic planning, and organizational development in the fields of education, employment, health, disability and child/family services. If you are seeking grant funding or need a program planning or evaluation partner, she can help you at any stage of your process, starting with the germ of an idea, to helping with proposal writing, evaluation design, data collection and writing reports. She can work with you on a broad scale with your organization’s strategic planning process, or simply help you compile data for reports to your funding agency.
Since 1979, Ms. Toms Barker has been conducting program evaluation and social services research for federal, state and community agencies, focusing on identifying innovations and promising practices, assessing the replicability and transferability of program models and strategies, and developing standards and benchmarks for measuring program performance.
A key focus of Ms. Toms Barker’s work has been organizational capacity-building. Her capacity-building efforts take advantage of excellent her group facilitation skills and technical writing skills and range from developing technical assistance and guidance materials, to conducting workshops and seminars, designing and implementing dissemination strategies, and facilitating organizational planning meetings.
Ms. Toms Barker’s philosophy about program evaluation is that “Does this work?” is rarely a very interesting evaluation question. Dedicated educators and human services workers can tell you that of course what they are doing works — they have seen it work, at least for some people some of the time. Rather, the important evaluation questions are “How does it work?”,”How do we know it is working?”, “For whom does it work best and why?”, and “How can we make it work better?”. When programs go beyond collecting and report only the data that are required by their funders and begin to look at how to address these important evaluation questions, they can use careful program planning and evaluation as a way to improve outcomes for a broader range of program participants.
Most community agencies need to devote their staff time and resources to implementing their programs, and have little time or resources to devote to planning and evaluation. This means that every evaluation dollar needs to really count. By building in key evaluation questions into their design and ongoing operations, programs can get a huge return on their investment of well-spent evaluation dollars, and evaluations can be designed to be useful and valuable for leading the way to program improvement.
Phone: (808) 934-9297
Address: P.O. Box 7115
City, State, Zip: Hilo, Hawaii