Program planning and evaluation activities play a critical role in the quality of Extension programs. The literature consistently identifies program planning and evaluation as core Extension competencies. With an increased focus on accountability in Extension, there is a need to ensure Extension professionals are equipped with the most relevant competencies to show program impact. Guided by a competency model, this study sought to assess priority competencies for inclusion in an Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) program at Utah State University (USU) Extension. Data were gathered from a sample of Extension professionals at USU Extension (n = 87) and analyzed using descriptive statistics, principal component analysis, paired t-tests, and Cohen’s d. While results indicated a need for professional development in most competency items of program planning and evaluation, the principal component analysis revealed two professional development themes for program planning, and three for program evaluation. Extracted professional development themes were Program Ideas and Schedules, Program Design, Evaluation Plans, Evaluation Data and Results, and Monitoring and Impact. This study recommends the development of professional development themes to organize and prioritize efforts for ECB in Extension. It also highlighted a need to continuously assess professional capacity for accountability in Extension.



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