Arizona voters passed Proposition 203, a citizen’s initiative that funds early childhood development and health services, in 2006. The Proposition established the Arizona Early Childhood Health and Development Board, known as First Things First (FTF). The program divides the state into 28 locally-governed regions which are allocated funds based primarily on the population of children birth to five in the area, with discretionary funds available to areas with greatest needs. The CRED team has worked with FTF both at the state and regional levels since 2009. This ongoing partnership includes work on the statewide early childhood biennial needs assessments which provide a snapshot of the status of young children in Arizona based on a variety of demographic, economic, educational, and health data. The CRED team has also conducted biennial community-level early childhood needs assessments for county-based and tribal regions, authoring more than 100 regional needs and assets reports over the past decade. These reports assist the local governance body of each region in making strategic decisions about which early childhood programs and strategies to fund in their communities. The CRED team’s work with FTF allows UArizona students interested in early childhood to participate in community-based research and learn about producing high-quality, actionable evaluation reports to support program and policy decisions across the state.
CRED has provided contract-based evaluation support to Arizona's Cooperative Extension system for more than five years. In 2022, CRED was hired to lead Extension's statewide needs assessment survey effort. CRED has also helped Extension begin using the results for program planning, providing trainings on the various needs assessment products (including the web-based interactive dashboard, statewide and county-based reports, one-pagers, and complementary secondary data profiles).
This year, CRED has time dedicated to building evaluation capacity across Arizona's Extension system. In addition to being written into grants as the external evaluator, CRED is offering support through trainings and workshops as well as assisting with specific grant proposal, program and evaluation planning, data analysis and reporting, and other program needs. If you work with Extension and would like our help, please submit a request here or visit our Extension resources page.
The Arizona Department of Health Service's AZ Health Zone (AZHZ) administers the USDA-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- education (SNAP-Ed) through local implementation agencies across the state, including the University of Arizona's Cooperative Extension SNAP-Ed (UA SNAP-Ed). In 2023, CRED completed a statewide needs assessment to document the resources and needs related to nutrition and active living for Arizona residents to inform the work of AZHZ. Following this needs assessment, CRED is completing analyses in 2024 to help AZHZ identify and address programmatic gaps, especially related to equity. CRED also developed a series of interactive web maps in 2019, which are updated annually through an ongoing partnership with AZ Health Zone and UA SNAP-Ed. See the section directly below for more information.
The UArizona SNAP-Ed Maps are a set of interactive web maps initially developed in 2019 through a partnership between AZ Health Zone, UArizona AZ Health Zone (UA SNAP-Ed), and the CRED Team. This set of 15 maps, one for each county in Arizona, are designed to help SNAP-Ed staff plan initiatives to support healthy eating and active living across Arizona. The maps display data related to SNAP-Ed activities, community demographics, economic need, food systems, public spaces, school nutrition programs, and early childhood education centers. These maps help changemakers see where AZ Health Zone is active, find potential community partners, identify areas of high need, and explore access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. These maps have been updated annually through an ongoing partnership with AZ Health Zone and UA SNAP-Ed and the work of UArizona students who learn how to use GIS to make national and statewide secondary data resources related to health and nutrition more accessible for local decision-making.
Building on the work of the SNAP-Ed Mapping Project, the CRED Team partnered with UA SNAP-Ed to create seven interactive learning modules on the topic of community engagement. These modules are intended to assist UA SNAP-Ed, and other partners, in understanding how to better gather and utilize local knowledge from the diverse groups of SNAP-Ed eligible individuals to create solutions that are tailored to the community's nutrition, food security, and physical activity needs. These interactive modules were then adapted into a series of seven Extension publications to be used more broadly across UArizona Cooperative Extension.
The Pima County Food Alliance (PCFA) is the local food policy council for Tucson and the surrounding area. PCFA advocates for changes in food policy and acts as a community convener and information hub for groups working within the local food system. Since 2022, CRED has supported PCFA's community engagement and evaluation needs, including a recent collaboration between PCFA, CRED, and the University's Food Policy Research Lab. Goals of this project included building community relationships and gathering information from local experts to restructure and refocus PCFA’s efforts to advance climate-ready food production, equitable food access, and food sovereignty.
For more information about PCFA, visit their website.
CRED serves as the external evaluator for the Pima UAZ STEM Bridge program - an NSF S-STEM-funded program focused on creating a culturally responsive, bridged Community of Practice (CoP) between Pima Community College and the University of Arizona to raise persistence and graduation rates of low-income, academically talented community college students pursuing and transitioning into STEM majors at 4-year institutions.
CRED oversees the evaluation of the Pima County-Hopi Wellness Coalition, an Arizona Cooperative Extension Well-Connected Communities (WCC) project. WCC is an initiative of the National 4-H Council that is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Pima County-Hopi Wellness Coalition is a partnership between youth and adults in Pima County, at Tucson Village Farm, and the Hopi 4-H program that has worked collaboratively since 2020 to promote HLA clubs as an avenue for youth to engage in policy, systems, and environmental change work in county and tribal Extension programs across Arizona.
CRED serves as the external evaluators for the comprehensive, community-based program to promote young children’s early literacy in two Native American communities in Arizona. Program participants include parents/guardians, grandparents, childcare providers, and other caregivers of 0–6-year-old children. The program makes use of research-based early literacy skills related to talking, reading, writing, singing, and playing in a culturally responsive curriculum. Programming includes both drop-in events where community members can engage for a short period of time and 6–7-week multisession options for a deeper exploration of early literacy techniques.
CRED provides support to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to promote organizational capacity around the systematic collection and use of evaluation data, including through the development of a statewide common measures system. Collecting data aligned across programs using common measures provides information for local program planning and improvement, for grant writing, and for communicating the importance and value of programs across the state to stakeholders. Guided by national common measures, research literature and the knowledge of local experts, the CRED team has developed Arizona Common Measures for 4-H and Family, Consumer and Health Science topics and has built an innovative web app, the “UACE Survey Builder” to enable UACE professionals to build their own surveys and collect their own data. CRED has also developed resources including outcome linkages and infographic templates to help CE professionals convey results of these measures to a variety of stakeholders, and has trained 4-H and FCHS personnel on the value of common measures and how to utilize the Arizona Common Measures system and resources.
CRED provides evaluation support for the Next Steps 4 Leadership (NS4L) program is a college-bound curriculum focused on community and agricultural leadership for youth in grades 8-11. This problem-based learning experience was created specifically to build comfort in higher education settings with a focus on serving youth from marginalized backgrounds (e.g., rural, Latinx, American Indian or Alaska Native). The curriculum centers around local environmental issues and explores solutions such as technology in food and agricultural systems. Completion of the NS4L program supports knowledge of agricultural systems and technologies, youth-led community action, a pipeline to higher education, and workforce readiness for 4-H youth, creates positive social bonds between peers and caring adults, and allows for 4-H expansion to underserved youth.
CRED is leading a strengths and needs assessment for UA’s School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness focused on inclusive instruction. The goals of this project are to learn more about how NSW is serving all students, recognizing students' different experiences and backgrounds – what the school is doing well and what they could do better. The mixed-methods assessment explores student experiences with instructors, teaching assistants, preceptors, advisors, and peers within the school. Results will be summarized in a comprehensive report and key components will be made available in the form of a dynamic data dashboard for strategic planning.
The Urban and Community Forestry Program (of the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management) provides education, technical assistance, and other resources to community partners working to maintain, expand, and improve urban forest ecosystems across the state. In 2023 and 2024, CRED is assisting with the next 5-year strategic planning process, including actor mapping, stakeholder engagement, instrument development, and synthesizing results.
CRED provided program evaluation services to the Pima County Attorney’s Office in support of their Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (DTAP) program from 2014 to 2023. DTAP provides residential and intensive outpatient drug treatment and needs-based wrap-around recovery support services in lieu of prison to selected non-violent repeat drug offenders in Pima County. Evaluation activities included evaluation planning and quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis to identify barriers and facilitators to program implementation, compliance with national best practice standards, participant and program outcomes, and recommendations for program improvement. CRED also led two cost studies, collaborating with economists at the University of Arizona, that documented reduced state and county government spending relative to more traditional prison sentencing and reductions in recidivism resultant from the DTAP program.
CRED served as the external evaluator for the Black Hole Partnerships for International Research and Education (BH PIRE) for the five-year program. This project aimed to bring together researchers, faculty and students with diverse expertise in astronomy research. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, initial plans for international collaboration needed to be adjusted. Nonetheless, the grant provided new opportunities for students and early-career researchers to gain knowledge and skills in astronomy through research assistantships, internships and online webinars. CRED summarized undergraduate and graduate student feedback about their experiences throughout program.
CRED served as the external evaluator for the Pima County Attorney’s Office’s Consolidated Misdemeanor Problem Solving (CMPS) Court from its development phase in 2018 through 2023. The CMPS Court is a regional misdemeanor court supervision program for individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who have had a significant number of contacts with law enforcement and/or have multiple open cases in one or more participating jurisdictions within Pima County, Arizona. CRED engaged in formative evaluation during the planning stages of CMPS Court working with the court team to define desired program outcomes and methods of evaluation, assisted in the development and refinement of data systems and provided ongoing process and outcome evaluation services to support continuing program improvement to this novel criminal justice program.