Evaluation Fellowship: What Fellows Do

Key points

  • The Evaluation Fellowship is a two-year training program to teach evaluation skills.
  • Fellows are expected to work with a mentor to complete a series of projects and learn a minimum amount of competencies.

Opportunities & Updates

The 2024 application cycle for the Evaluation Fellowship Program is closed. Please check back early 2025 for application information. For questions, please contact evaluationfellows@cdc.gov.

What fellows do

The Evaluation Fellowship is a unique, two-year training opportunity for fellows to learn evaluation skills. The fellowship sets clear expectations and supportive resources, including professional development funds provided by the host program. Fellows learn and gain experience working in their host program and help them build, expand, and/or improve their evaluation activities.

Training and performance expectations are flexible so that fellows can identify and tailor their training and experience. This allows them to earn experience that matches their professional development goals and host program assignments. Fellows create a professional development plan with their mentor to complete the fellowship, record progress, and allow ongoing development discussions with their mentors.

Once the fellow and their mentor have discussed and agreed upon a plan, fellows submit it to the program at the start of each year.

What fellows learn

The current set of training, performance, and other expectations for the CDC Evaluation fellows are outlined below. These may change in the future with host programs and notified of any revisions.

Fellows learn a set of training and performance requirements in key competency areas to build evaluation design, implementation, and analysis skills. These competencies are based on CDC's six-step framework for program evaluation in public health (Evaluation Framework) and the American Evaluation Association's Evaluator Competency domains. The competencies are:

  • Professional Practice
  • Methodology
  • Context
  • Planning & Management
  • Leadership & Facilitation

Training activities are typically completed through a mix of opportunities within and outside of CDC. For instance, the Evaluation Fellowship Program provides trainings to fellows that help them learn CDC’s approach to evaluation using the CDC evaluation framework.

There are also many free internal webinars and CDC University offers many free training courses. CDC programs hosting a fellow provide professional development funds for fellows to take trainings or attend conferences that have a cost for attending.

The table below shows the type of training topics that fellows have taken by competencies.

Competency Area
  • Training over the 2 Years of the Fellowship
Professional Practice
  • Example topics: AEA Guiding Principles and Evaluator Competencies, evaluation standards, Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, CDC Research Ethics or IRB
  • Example topics: CDC Evaluation Framework, logic model, software, qualitative analysis, mixed methods, data visualization
  • Example topics: reflective practice, equity focused evaluation, culturally responsive evaluation, cultural competencies and humility
Planning and Management
  • Example topics: report writing, project management, evaluation budgeting, and capacity building
Leadership and Facilitation (Interpersonal)
  • Example topics: engaging and building trust among stakeholders, managing conflict, managing/leading change, facilitative leadership, meeting management

How fellows serve

Most of the fellow's work and deliverables are with their primary host program placement. However, some may be completed during small evaluation projects outside their host program. The Evaluation Fellowship Program obtains short-term evaluation projects from CDC programs and coordinates this process.

During the two years of the Fellowship, fellows are expected to:

  • Participate at monthly fellow meetings unless pre-approved to miss a meeting
  • Complete fellowship evaluation activities (e.g., midyear, departure)
  • Participate in individual check-ins organized by the Evaluation Fellowship Program
  • Participate in webinars and roundtables organized for the CDC evaluation community
  • Engage other community building and service activities that contribute to CDC and external evaluation activities based on skills and interests

Fellows also can access additional support for the fellowship, including group office hours, fellowship team members for one-on-one meetings as needed, and fellows-led social committee.