Capstone Courses and Projects
New York City Office of Emergency Management
Are you Ready, New York? Developing and Piloting an Evaluative Tool for Assessing a NYC Emergency Preparedness Program
The Incident Based Distribution Program (IBD) operated by Ready New York mails emergency preparedness literature to areas recently affected by emergencies in order to increase public safety and encourage New Yorkers to prepare for emergency situations. IBD had not been evaluated to determine whether the program actually increases public preparedness. The Capstone team developed and implemented a randomized experiment, distributing surveys to both control and treatment groups, to assess whether receipt of the materials had a measurable impact on emergency preparedness. The Capstone team used survey results and qualitative data from focus groups to provide recommendations on how the program can be modified in order to achieve its mission.
The White House Project
Building Blocks for Growth
The White House Project (TWHP) is a national nonprofit organization that uses multiplatform programs to advance women's leadership in all communities and across sectors—up to the U.S. presidency—by filling the leadership pipeline with a diverse, critical mass of women. Now at a pivotal point in its organizational lifecycle, TWHP requested a Capstone team to gather information about the organization's capacity to expand its programmatic reach. To help TWHP understand its growth potential, the Capstone team first compiled and reviewed program survey data to develop an alumnae tracking instrument and analyzed the organization's financial condition. Then, the team compiled a variety of growth strategies and best practices through an environmental scan and included recommendations for an “incubator model” of expansion. Finally, the team provided a general list of indicators of successful growth and obstacles for TWHP to consider when undertaking expansion. The Capstone team intends for the report to enable TWHP to develop the financial requirements and operational strategies necessary to facilitate growth as the organization seeks to reach more women across the country and have a greater influence nationally.
Education for Employment Foundation
Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating a Public Administration Training Program for Public Sector Employees in Jordan
The Education for Employment Foundation aims to create job opportunities for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa by providing them with professional and technical training. The organization's affiliate in Jordan, the Jordan Career Education Foundation, and the King Abdullah II Fund for Development, requested a Capstone team to create a public administration training program for entrylevel government employees in Jordan. The goal of this pilot program was twofold: to increase retention in the public sector, and to provide employees with the skills and competencies needed to advance to managerial roles. The Capstone team designed a 30hour training course and delivered the training to two groups of 25 participants through oneweek sessions in October and March in Amman, Jordan. The program included topics such as strategic planning, managing people, project management, performance measurement and management, leadership, and decisionmaking processes. Additionally, the Capstone team designed and implemented an evaluation tool based on surveys to measure the effectiveness of the trainings.
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families
Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families is a small nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of African immigrant women and their families in New York City. To support its ongoing growth, Sauti Yetu engaged a Capstone team to develop a monitoring and evaluation process for its Family Violence Prevention and Education Program. This program provides culturally competent case management, counseling services, and parenting classes to approximately 250 clients each year. The Capstone team conducted site visits, an administrative data review, qualitative interviews with staff and clients, and researched best practices to develop a program logic model, an endofservice client survey, and a qualitative interview assessment for Sauti Yetu's parenting classes. These tools will enable Sauti Yetu to more effectively capture the impact of its services, assess client satisfaction, and communicate with external stakeholders, including funders and other community partners.
New York City Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
Improving Housing Options for Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care
In New York City approximately 1,200 youth ages 1821 leave the foster care system each year. Because young adults transitioning out of foster care are at greater risk of becoming homeless, the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and the Administration for Children's Services engaged the Capstone team to improve housing outcomes for youth leaving foster care. The Capstone team examined existing support systems through extensive interviews, surveys, and focus groups. In addition, the team examined the policy environment and best practices for programs targeting youth in foster care. The team developed a final report that provides an indepth look at the support systems and housing options available to youth transitioning out of foster care, analyzes strengths and gaps in service, and presents recommendations to improve housing outcomes through changes in process, data collection, communication, and oversight.
Pipeline Project Evaluation
Legal Momentum works with career and technical education (CTE) high schools in New York City to improve the recruitment and retention of girls. Legal Momentum's Pipeline Project seeks to increase the number of middle school and high school aged girls in nontraditional (maledominated) CTE programs, which lead to occupations with higher wages, better benefits, and greater opportunities for professional growth. The Pipeline Project currently operates in seven CTE high schools in New York City. The Capstone team developed and implemented a surveybased program evaluation to assess perceptions, attitudes, and decision factors of students, faculty, and administrators. The results were used to evaluate the impact of the program and identify opportunities for future program expansion.
Legal Information for Families Today
Unrepresented Litigants' Bill of Rights for New York City Family Court
Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) provides support and services to litigants navigating the Family Court system without an attorney. LIFT recognized that unrepresented litigants often do not understand their basic rights, creating a significant obstacle to their success in court. The Capstone team helped LIFT develop the first Unrepresented Litigants' Bill of Rights and provided recommendations for the implementation and dissemination of the document. Using surveys, interviews, and focus groups with unrepresented litigants and court staff, the Capstone team researched how much litigants know about their rights, and whether the Litigants' Bill of Rights could be used in Family Court. The Bill of Rights and final report will help LIFT improve its services in Family Court and provide recommendations for how to improve the overall court process.