Labor Day Week: Molly Engle on Honoring Jim Altschuld

This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).

Hi! I’m Molly Engle, a past president of AEA and professor and evaluation specialist at Oregon State University. I nominate Jim Altschuld (that is James W. Altschuld), the needs assessment guru.

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

Having met Jim at the first joint meeting of Evaluation Network and Evaluation Research Society (ERS) in Austin, TX (the precursor conference and organizations to AEA) in 1981, we go back many years. He was active in ERS prior to that first joint meeting. At that time, and over the years since then, he has made (and continues to make) a case for needs assessment and (now) asset/capacity building. Evaluators must be able to have within their toolbox skills and methodologies that cover all aspects of a logic model. Needs assessment addresses the situation. Altschuld was awarded the AEA Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award (2002) and the Evaluation Recognition Award from the Ohio Program Evaluation Group (1988). He also was awarded the outstanding teaching award at The Ohio State University (1988).

Contributions to our field:

As well as writing, teaching, and publishing in the area of needs assessment, Jim is one of the founding member of the Needs Assessment TIG, has served as president of the Ohio Program Evaluators Group, as well as serving as Program Chair for the 2002 AEA meeting. He wrote the first book on asset/capacity building as well as editing the Needs Assessment Kit (see below).


Altschuld, J. W. (2014). Bridging the Gap Between Asset/Capacity Building and Needs Assessment: Concepts and Practical Applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Altschuld, J. W. (Ed.) (2010). The Needs Assessment Kit. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Altschuld, J. W. & Witkin, B.R. (1999). From Needs Assessment to Action: Transforming Needs Into Solution Strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Witkin, B. R. & Altschuld, J. W. (1995). Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments: A Practical Guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Altschuld, J. W., & Kumar, D. D. (2002). Evaluation of Science and Technology Education at the Dawn of a New Millennium (Innovations in Science Education and Technology). NY, NY: Springer Publishing Company, Inc.

Altschuld, J. W. & Engle, M (Eds.) (1994). The Preparation of Professional Evaluators: Issues, Perspectives, and Programs: New Directions for Program Evaluation, Number 62. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass, Inc. Publishers.

Altschuld, J. W. & Watkins, R. (Eds.) (2014). Needs Assessment: Trends and a View Toward the Future: New Directions for Evaluation, Number 144. San Francisco, CA: Wiley Company.

Altschuld, J. W. & Engle, M. (Eds.) (2015). Accreditation, Certification, and Credentialing: Relevant Concerns for U.S. Evaluators, New Directions for Evaluation, Number 145. San Francisco, CA: Wiley Company.


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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