Helping you and your organization evolve with confidence
You have questions, we help you get answers.
A clear vision is the most effective tool for moving an organization forward. A strong strategic plan, a clear logic model, or well-defined outcomes can ensure you remain in alignment with your organizational vision. Our facilitators can support collective visioning and strategic planning processes, working alongside you to clarify your vision, develop clear, measurable objectives, and actionable work plans.
We value broad stakeholder input. When people at every level of the organization are involved in gathering and making sense of data it creates a sense of mission-driven ownership. Our facilitators have experience in bringing people together to explore challenging issues in ways that lead to improved relationships and a strong organizational culture of listening. As your organization grows and changes, you'll want to bring everyone with you, we can help with that.
Reliable data is the foundation of our work together. Gathering data that you can trust starts with asking the right questions. We work closely with your team to ensure questions are asked in ways that lead to actionable results. Ethics and equity are always at the center of our approach. We have extensive experience in using surveys of all kinds, interviews, focus groups, and harvesting from large existing data sets.
We help you turn data into knowledge.
Organizations sit on piles of data; answers to important questions lie within the numbers and words that often go un-analyzed. Analysis is just the first step in making sense of your data. You are the expert here, together we explore the meaning of the data. We make sure that your data tells a story that is meaningful to you and allows you to act with confidence.
Having reliable tools to help us make meaning of the data is a cornerstone of our work. It’s important to us that you can easily make sense of the data and put it into action. Grounded in human-centered design principles, we provide you with highly visual tools that promote understanding and use.
We create high-quality visual documents and reports that are both beautiful and useful. Our on-staff graphic designer crafts documents that are tailored to different audiences, including one-page infographics, full-color, summary reports for the public, and technical reports that give you a first-hand look at the data. Our goal is always to provide custom documents that best meet your needs. All graphics are developed in HD-format, so they can be used for both print and web. Employing psychological theories of perception and learning, we create visual documents that enhance readability, understanding, and use.
Using what we've learned together, we help you evolve.
Nothing is more important to us than turning your results into meaningful action. We will partner with you to operationalize your data-informed findings. Using simple language and visuals, we help you communicate the story of your strategy to all stakeholders. Your continued partnership with us through the implementation phase ensures that you stay aligned with your mission-driven strategy. Our strong communication tools and expert facilitation will spark passion, ensure alignment, and motivate action.
Our approach to strategy development and evaluation is improved through capacity building training to ensure that all stakeholders understand the process and that findings get used to inform decisions. We design custom workshops and training to help you develop a culture that supports organizational learning. Our hands-on approach to learning will build energy and capacity within and across teams to support continuous improvement and increased impact.
Earn graduate credits designed for working professionals interested in providing high-quality program evaluation services for public and private sectors.
Earn graduate credit and acquire the skills needed to help organizations gather and use data to improve quality and understand impact.
Our workshops and coaching are focused on your personal and professional growth.
We care about you as a professional and a person. Our workshops will build your practical skills and provide a path to personal development. We offer workshops that range from basic skills courses you can do on your own schedule to real-time workshops that create a connected, interactive learning community in a virtual space. Each member of our team is also a graduate instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout; we’ve been offering online education and training since 2015.
Do you need personalized guidance on a project? Do you need support in building new skills? Do you need feedback on an evaluation plan or survey you’ve created? Partner with a Catalyst Change Coach to provide expert guidance on any aspect of your evaluation work.
We take a human centered approach and genuinely love the work we do. We also believe evaluation should begin in the planning process. We can help you work through an entire cycle of evaluation from determining appropriate metrics & methods, conducting data collection & analysis, to reporting & implementation. We can also empower your organization to implement your own evaluation work or grow together as professionals through our workshops and training programs. As your partner, we help you and your organization evolve with confidence.
Absolutely! We would love to help. Having a well thought out evaluation plan can improve your chances of having your proposal funded. We have written many evaluation plans for all different kinds of grants. We also recognize that some grant opportunities have short timelines and we are always ready to jump in and help.
This is a great question and one with many answers! Most simply put, we help you use data to make better decisions. In reality, we leverage a wide range of processes, frameworks, and approaches to best meet your organizational development needs. We believe evaluation begins in the planning phase of any project and that a good partner guides you through the entire process. Further, our project managers are all members of the American Evaluation Association and follow their Guiding Principles.
Everything we do is grounded in the principles of evaluation, but those can be applied broadly to any organizational development initiative. The most common ways that we engage with clients beyond evaluation are strategic planning, needs assessments, and facilitation.
Definitely! While we have deep roots in the Midwest we have worked with clients across the country. In the current environment where working remotely has become the norm, Catalyst has been engaging in this practice for years.
While we consider ourselves generalists and have worked on a wide range of evaluations, we also frequently partner with other evaluators and researchers who have content expertise or specific advanced statistical skills. We have also expanded our reach by partnering with Viable Insights, a team of former Catalyst employees who now live in Tucson, AZ.
When you invest with us, you have a partner that is invested in your success. Our economical hourly rate is dictated by UW System policy and our status as a cost recovery unit. Once we understand the scope of your project, we will work closely to develop a detailed work plan & budget before our work together proceeds.
We understand that sometimes budgets are tight, or funders may put limits on what can be spent on evaluation. We take a customized approach to every project giving us the ability to flex our work to stay within your budget.
Our story began in 2007 when the Applied Research Center was founded as a cost-recovery unit at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. We were also known as ARC Evaluation between 2016 and May 2020. To help people understand the broad range of services we provide (that are not limited to conducting research & evaluation!) we became Catalyst in June 2020. Catalyst also has close ties to the Master of Science in Applied Psychology (MSAP) program at UW-Stout where most of our staff have received formal training.
We would love to! Our work varies significantly based on the project. Tell us about the work you are planning, and we will share some examples that are similar.
To start the registration process, simply click on the Register Now link on the Eval Studies/ IR website. This will walk you through a series of questions and ask you to identify which course/module you wish to begin. You will then be contacted by someone from Outreach to finalize registration.
You can enroll in as many modules at a time as you would like, but each module must be completed within 4-weeks. Most people take one or two modules so they can see what the workload is like (timewise) to complete. After the first round, people usually enroll in 3-4 modules at a time or set up their enrollment schedule so that they start a new module every week.
Yes, the curriculum is exactly the same. The only difference is how the curriculum is offered. Modules only include the curriculum for that one topic (i.e. 720A). The courses include the curriculum for all the topics covered (i.e. 720A-K).
That depends upon the person. Some complete the certificate via modules quicker because it is self-paced, and they aren't locked into the semester delivery format. You can enroll in as many modules at a time as you would like, but each module has a 4-week timeline/expiration attached to it. Many people find that they can get through the 4-week module in just a week or two, so it is plausible to complete a 3-module course like PSYC 724 in as little as a month.
Courses run on a semester schedule. Students can enroll in Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. When registering for a module, you pick your start date. You have 4 weeks from your start date to complete the curriculum. The modules are available to start year-round.
This varies widelybased on the amount of time students have to dedicate to the coursework. On the low end,the program could be completed in one year, but most often it takes people 1.5-2 years to complete all the requirements.
Students are responsible for lining up their practicum experience. We’ve found that many of our students are already working in an evaluation or IR-type environment, so they can use their current jobs as the site of their practicum. In rare instances where students are unable to find a project that meets the practicum requirements, UW-Stout may be able to assist with identifying an opportunity.
All course materials are available online. E-texts, PDFs of articles, and websites are used. These are accessed in the course on Canvas.
The courses were designed so they can be taken in a semi-flexible order. The practicum course is the only one that carries the prerequisite of having completed all the other certificate courses first. The practicum experience has to be the final course in the certificate progression.
Note: Although it is not required, we do suggest that students working to complete the full certificate (and not just a section of the coursework) do so in the sequential course order. We have found that students coming in with little or no evaluation or IR experience benefit from completing the courses sequentially, as the curriculum builds in a traditional way from theory to application.
Content for the two certificates overlap. The underlying theory, project management approaches, ethical considerations, and data collection/analysis methods are essentially the same for evaluators and institutional researchers.
The differences between the two certificates are the applications courses (PSYC 726 for evaluation, andPSYC 728 for IR) and the practicum experiences (PSYC-727 for evaluation, and PSYC 729 for IR). The applications of these two fields are quite different in terms of goals for evaluators vs. IR practitioners. The skill sets for each of these professions are different enough to necessitate different approaches to practicum experiences.
We are still in the process of building our online workshop offerings, but we have great things planned! Expect to see everything from short skill building modules you can complete on your own, to live, virtual, interactive workshops designed to help you grow as a person and professional.
Our certificate courses (in the Learn Together section) are offered through the University for Wisconsin-Stout for graduate credit. They are completely asynchronous and even the shortest one takes about 9-12 hours of work. Our workshops are non-credit bearing, generally much shorter, and give us the ability to work with groups in real time.
In the evaluation world, we often call it capacity building, but lots of people don't know what that means! Basically we partner with you to focus on the skills you need to build for your specific project or organization. We've provided one-on-one coaching on evaluation plans, data analysis, career development, & interpersonal skills for evaluation. We will sit down together and draw up a plan for helping you grow as a professional.