After working as a chemist (bachelor and, master's degrees) James W. Altschuld reentered graduate school and completed the doctorate in educational research and development. Over a 45 plus year career he has pursued the following interests:
- assessment of educational, social, and agency needs,
- aspects of the evaluation of programs mainly in education but some in other settings, and
- professionalizing the field of evaluation and those who practice its arts.
He taught program evaluation, needs assessment, and basic educational research methods in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University until retirement in 2004 and for another year beyond that. He has remained active in program evaluation through projects, consulting, presenting at national meetings, and research efforts. He has received local, state, and national awards for his contributions to the field.
As part of the above activities he authored or co-authored 4 books as well edited a fifth one on how to do needs assessments from conceptualization, implementation, and utilizing results for the improving of organizations. He wrote another book (2014) about the relationship of needs to assets and capacity building again aimed at the improvement of organizations and society..
Coupled with this writing he has continually been involved in studies about how we assess needs including the design of surveys and other instruments, better ways to scale measurements, and issues related to procedures for assessment. One other prominent theme has been in regard to how evaluators should be trained and considerations for credentialing or certifying them.
In addition to his writings on needs assessments he has many publications and papers especially over the last 2 decades. Opportunities to do research into the described topics have been continuous and appear to be on the increase and Altschuld would be most willing to work with others as well as mentor colleagues and associates in this regard.