In Memoriam: The Evaluation Center founder Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam

Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam

Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam

Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam (1936-2017), an internationally renowned figure in evaluation who founded the Western Michigan University Evaluation Center died July 23, 2017, in Kalamazoo at the age of 80.

Stufflebeam, a pioneer in the field of evaluation, came to WMU from Ohio State University in 1973. He launched the WMU Evaluation Center that became one of the top research entities in the world dedicated to helping organizations determine and document how well they're accomplishing what they set out to do.

Nationally, his evaluation work was done for organizations that ranged from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Marine Corps to a list that includes foundations among the top names in the grant-making world--names like the MacArthur, Kellogg and Alger foundations.

Internationally, he traveled to such nations as Australia, the Philippines, Columbia and Spain, working for the United Nations, the World Bank and other governmental and nonprofit organizations and lecturing and providing technical assistance to more than 20 countries.

Among his varied career accomplishments:

  • He chaired the national Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation for its first 13 years;
  • He was the founding director of the federally funded CREATE--Center for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation;
  • He led a project for the U.S. Marine Corps to evaluate and revise the standards used by the Corps for promotions; and
  • He built the WMU Evaluation Center from its original staff of three to a powerhouse home to some two dozen researchers with clients around the globe.

Along the way, he was mugged in Madrid, kidnapped by Basque separatists, dodged Columbian drug cartels and journeyed through jungles accompanied by armed guards. Closer to home, he suffered a major injury as he was hit by a bus when leaving a Michigan State University football game. He nearly lost his life and was saved by a quick-acting bystander, but he did lose a leg.

Stufflebeam led the WMU Evaluation Center from its founding in 1973 until 2002. He was named a Distinguished Faculty Scholar in 1984 and was designated a Distinguished University Professor in 2002. He retired in 2007, but maintained an active research and publishing life. His most recent book, "The CIPP Evaluation Model," was published in late 2016 and details the importance of evaluating context, input, process and product in judging a program’s value. That model is one he developed and was one of the first and remains one of the most widely used evaluation models.

Stufflebeam earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Iowa in 1958 and began his career as a high school band director and wrestling coach. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from Purdue University in 1962 and 1964, respectively, and entered the evaluation field just as the nation began searching for better ways to assess student aptitude.

Contact: Cheryl Roland
July 26, 2017 | WMU News