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James Altschauld Interview  -  October 8, 2008, 2:30 pm Conversations on HPT Webcast

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[Dr. James Altschauld]

Dr. James Altschauld
Professor Emeritus
Ohio State University

Jim Altschuld is a Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University where he specialized in teaching educational research methods, program evaluation, and needs assessment. His past and current research interests are in the latter two categories, and he has published extensively in needs assessment with two co-authored books and a series of five more now nearing completion. He has received awards for his teaching and research and was a receipient of the American Evaluation Association's Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Award for contributions to evaluation practice. It should be noted that he is also being interviewed on behalf of his co-author Traci L. Lepicki, a project manager at The Ohio State University


[Dr. John Wedman]

Dr. John Wedman
Director, School of Information Science & Learning Technologies
University of Missouri-Columbia

[ Elliott McClelland]

Elliott McClelland
Communication Specialist
School of Information Science and Learning Technologies


The chapter is an overview of needs assessment. As such it: defines key terms including ones for which there is some confusion; describes the needs assessment process and general strategies for implementing activities to identify and prioritize needs; and offers ideas as to what might result from doing a needs assessment and how the outcomes relate to organizational improvement. To demonstrate the process, one actual assessment that had a major impact on the institution for which it was done is provided. Several models of needs assessment are covered with one being emphasized based on its prominence in the authors' work. Given that such assessments are not panaceas or cure-alls for problems, issues in doing them are briefly discussed as well as factors that seem to promote more utilitarian and successful efforts.

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