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Marvin C. Alkin

Professor Emeritus
Marvin Alkin
Marvin C. Alkin

Moore Hall 3026
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521

Marvin C. Alkin
Professor Emeritus

Marvin C. Alkin (born 1934) is a Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Alkin joined the UCLA faculty in 1964 after receiving his doctorate from Stanford University. He has, at various times, served as Chair of the Education Department and Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He was founder and former Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation.

He has received multiple awards from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for outstanding evaluation reports and policy studies. In addition, he is one of only four people to receive both of the major scholarly awards of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). In 1996, he was the winner of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award for Lifelong Contributions to Evaluation Theory from AEA. In 2016, he received the Association’s Research on Evaluation Award for significant contributions to the study of evaluation.

He has been editor or associate editor of eight academic journals, including the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Journal, Evaluation Review, and Studies in Educational Evaluation. He also was executive editor of the Encyclopedia of Educational Research (6th Edition). He is currently co-editor of SAGE Publication’s Evaluation in Practice Series.

Alkin has been a consultant to numerous national governments and has directed program evaluations in 18 different countries. He is especially noted for his extensive research on evaluation utilization and comparative evaluation theory. His resume includes well over 150 published books, articles and chapters.

He is noted for his work on Context Sensitive Evaluation, an approach derived from an understanding of factors found in the research literature that are associated with high levels of evaluation use.

Teaching and Research Interests


  • Ed.D., Stanford University, 1964
  • M.A., Education, San Jose State College, 1959
  • A.B., Mathematics, San Jose State College, 1956

Awards, Honors and Fellowships

  • Research on Evaluation Award, American Evaluation Association, 2016
  • UCLA Department of Education, Distinguished Teaching Award, 1998
  • The Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award, American Evaluation Association (for outstanding contribution to the development of evaluation theory), 1995
  • Award for the Outstanding Policy Study, 1989 Annual Meeting, American Educational Research Association (Division H), 1989

Select Publications

  • Alkin, M. C. & Patton, M. Q. (2020). The birth and adaptation of evaluation theories. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, 16(35), 1-13.
  • Alkin, M. C. & Vo, A.T. (2017). Evaluation essentials: From A to Z. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
  • Alkin, M. (2017). When is theory a theory? A case example. Evaluation and Program Planning, 63.
  • Alkin, M. & King, J. (2016). The historical development of evaluation use. American Journal of Evaluation, 37(4).