Mazen Aziz

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Henry Tran


Economic turmoil has forced higher education institutions (HEI) to reduce expenditures in many areas, including human resource operations such as talent development. Before considering these cuts, HEI should conduct robust assessments of their efficacy, including whether they generate more revenue than they cost to administer. These assessments were critical contextually as state divestment in higher education and mounting public pressure against tuition hikes forced HEI to heavily rely on external funding sources, which became essential in these economically uncertain times. This three-article dissertation critically examined existing evaluation methodologies of a type of talent development initiative, faculty research development (FRD) programs, that seek to enhance faculty grant acquisition skills. Building on the scholarship, this work proposes a new comprehensive talent-centric evaluation model known as The Comprehensive Evaluation of Return-on-Talent-Investment Model (CERTi) (Aziz & Tran, in press). An exhaustive review of existing measurement and evaluation methodologies of FRD program efficacy in the literature precedes the novel CERTi Model presentation. The model combines multiple evaluation frameworks from varying scientific disciplines into a comprehensive approach to evaluation that advances theory on talent development at HEI. CERTI's holistic Macro-Micro assessment approach employs an overarching (Macro-level) adult-learner faculty-centric theoretical framework for this research while simultaneously incorporating (Micro-Level) qualitative, quantitative, and economic evaluations to assess FRD efforts at HEI jointly. This dissertation presents a case study of an FRD program for grant acquisition to demonstrate the utility of the model and its application for practice and scholarship. The dissertation utilizes a sequential explanatory observational study design. The first article of the dissertation examined the program’s effectiveness (i.e., quantitative assessment), the second examined its’ implementation (i.e., qualitative assessment), and the third its’ return-on-investment (i.e., economic assessment). As HEI face an organizational environment characterized by state divestment, accountability demands, and requests for financial returns-on-investment, the CERTI approach is critical for efficacious assessments of talent development efforts at HEI.