Tara Donahue

tara-donahueTara Donahue, Ph.D., is a managing evaluator at McREL International. As a managing evaluator, Dr. Donahue performs a variety of functions at McREL. She conceptualizes, manages, and conducts research and evaluation projects for several different education-related programs. Examples of her work at McREL include managing the external evaluation of an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant focused on improving college and career readiness in six high schools in Jefferson County Public Schools (Louisville, KY) and overseeing two Teacher Quality Partnership evaluation projects in Kentucky and Virginia. Dr. Donahue also evaluates two Territories and Freely Associated States Grants with the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Marianas Islands. Current work has focused on community colleges. Specifically, she has evaluated two Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants. Her work with these two programs has developed a research interest in understanding how policy changes in development math programs at the community college level will impact student retention.

As a member of the CosmoQuest external evaluation team, Dr. Donahue evaluates the professional development opportunities offered to CosmoQuest participants. Furthermore, Dr. Donahue leads proposal writing teams on content development, evaluation design, and budgets for submission to a wide variety of clients and funding sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation.

Prior to joining McREL, Dr. Donahue’s work focused on out-of-school time and extended learning evaluation, professional development, and technical assistance. She has worked extensively with the federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers program at the local, state, and national level. She has provided workshops and seminars to adult learners on a variety of education topics related to extended learning, including how to use program evaluation data for sustainability. She has presented at several national out-of-school time conferences, including the National Aftershool Association, the Best of Out-of-School Time (BOOST), and Foundations, Inc. Dr. Donahue has also had papers accepted and has presented at the American Evaluation Association and American Education Research Association.

Dr. Donahue holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from Michigan State University.