Welcome to the Evaluation Unit! We are a team of program evaluators who help programs achieve their goals by providing responsive and actionable information. We serve people who do impactful work in communities. In addition to conducting program evaluations, we also provide training on evaluation, assist with grant writing, develop customized briefs, provide technical assistance on evaluation design, data collection and analysis. If you think you could use our services or if you just want to learn more about us, send us a note. We’d love to hear from you!

About Us

The Evaluation Unit is integral to the University of Kentucky, Human Development Institute (HDI), which serves as the University Center of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities in Kentucky. We collaborate with the nation’s leading experts in developmental disabilities, those who support persons with disabilities and their families in education and assessment, healthcare, employment, faith communities, and other important life areas.

HDI’s Evaluation Unit has provided evaluation services to the Tennessee and Kentucky Departments of Education, the Kentucky Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Universities and Community Colleges, parent advocacy groups, school districts and non-profit agencies, as well as the internal evaluation of the HDI projects and services. Team members have extensive experience in evaluation, public policy, education and special education and have worked in both for-profit and non-profit environments.

We have experience in using multiple methods to conduct evaluations including online and printed surveys, focus groups, individual interviews and observations (both structured and unstructured), analysis of existing data sets including longitudinal data, and document reviews that include narrative analysis and other qualitative research methods.

What We Do

Formative and Summative Evaluation 
• Design multi-method evaluations of programs that examine both their outcomes and processes.
• Focus on the questions program administrators and funders most need answered.
• Develop logic models and outcome measures to help organizations align their resources and activities with the results they are trying to achieve.
• Conduct policy briefs that will inform practitioners and decision-makers about current best practices within a policy area, as well as promising opportunities for future work.
• Capture programmatic best practices.
• Assess fidelity of program implementation.

Data Collection and Analysis
• Develop quantitative and qualitative evaluation instruments.
• Design online, web-based and paper surveys.
• Conduct interviews and facilitate focus groups.
• Perform quantitative, statistical analysis of program data (including student assessment data).
• Design and manage databases to capture individual program needs.

Program Planning
• Provide coaching and technical assistance on evaluation to build capacity within organizations.
• Perform needs assessments and environmental scans for strategic planning.
• Facilitate strategic planning among program leaders and stakeholders.

Resource Development
• Conduct and assist in proposals, grant writing, and IRB applications to help programs obtain state, federal, or private funding.
• Develop customized products for stakeholders and policy makers concerning program impact.

Current Evaluations

We design and implement evaluation plans that provide information on how well a program is doing, are they meeting their goals, what is the impact of the program on communities and systems. In short, we understand the complex context within which many programs reside, and provide meaningful information for program impact and sustainability. Here is a list of projects that we currently evaluate:


  •  Partnerships for Employment State Systems Change Grant (KentuckyWorks)
  •  Kentucky RETAIN

Mental Health and Substance Use

  • Transition Age Youth Launching Realized Dreams (H79SM061899)
  • National Training Center for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Kentucky Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)
  • KY Clinically High-Risk Psychosis Project
  • KY Systems of Care Grant V


  • KY State Personnel Development Grant (H323A230007)
  • Special Education and Communication Disorders – Interdisciplinary Training (SPEAC IT)
  • TN State Personnel Development Grant: Access for All
  • TN State Personnel Development Grant: Teaching All Students Initiative
  • KY State Systemic Improvement Plan
  • TN Technical Assistance Network
    • In 2021, the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) established an accessible, streamlined Tennessee Technical Assistance Network (TN-TAN) which seeks to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. TN-TAN provides Tennessee public school districts and families with access to evidence-based training, professional development, and resources. The University of Kansas and the University of Kentucky collaborate to provide ongoing technical assistance on data collection, reporting, and program improvement as well as supports to the overall network through outcome and impact assessment.


  • University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
  • Research and Evaluation Services to the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Evaluation Technical Assistance to Information Training and Technical Assistance Center for Councils (ITACC)

Health, Wellness and Recreation

  • Community Health Education & Exercise Resources (CHEER) Improving Cardiovascular & Overall Health through Nutrition & Physical Fitness Community Programming for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities and Mobility Impairments (NU27DD000010-01)
  • State Paralysis Resource Center Grant – Project Wellness Edge
  • Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities (CDHPD)


Mykal Leslie
Director, Evaluation Unit
126 Mineral Industries Building
University of Kentucky 40506
Phone: 859-218-0245