Posts Tagged ‘Culturally Responsive Evaluation’

Marques Hogans Sr. is working with IMPACT Planning Council through a partnership with the American Evaluation Association (AEA) called “GEDI”.  As part of his internship, he not only works on a variety of evaluation projects with IMPACT staff, he also attends national conventions and AEA trainings with a cohort of interns placed at agencies across the US.

Another destination in the books and the experience of being a GEDI is beginning to sink in.  The week of November 9th thru 14th, Evaluation 2015 took place in the Windy City, Chicago, IL.   Once again I was surrounded by professionals who value the work of evaluation and its importance as it applies to everyday life.  As I was hours removed from surgery for a torn right Achilles the day I arrived, I was more focused on who, what, when, and where, why, and how.  Who would I meet that would have an impact on my career, what would I learn that I could apply now or later, when does the rest of my cohort arrive, where did I need to check in for the conference, why was the hotel, Hyatt Regency Chicago, so BIG, and how was I going to get around on my knee scooter (laughing literally).

Most of those questions andMarques AEA many more were answered.  After a day of pre-conference workshops my GEDI cohort was introduced to an assembly of evaluation leaders, professionals, and students; at this it sunk in: I was part of something big.  As a member of a program centered on Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) and diversifying the evaluation workforce, this opportunity was one to be cherished and not taken for granted.  The American Evaluation Association deemed 2015 the “International Year or Evaluation” and the conference portrayed just that.  Attendees traveled from across the globe, including Asia, Europe, and the West Indies.  At Evaluation 2015 some workshops confirmed information I had learned from my public health background while others confirmed and answered thoughts, opinions, and questions surrounding evaluation.  I was eager to take as much in as possible.

While my time at Evaluation 15 was short lived due to other obligations, its impact remains.  One of my interests in evaluation is its impact on policy change.  Not too long ago I came across an article which led me to think deeply about how policy affects behavior.  At Evaluation 2015 I was able to attend a workshop on that topic and honestly it was one of my most memorable experiences.  This workshop in particular focused on studies completed in 4 countries outside of the US; Switzerland, Taiwan, Sweden, and Trinidad and Tobago of the West Indies.   The gentleman from Sweden stated, “Evaluations are interventions with unintended outcomes” while explaining the content of his study.  Although their initial hypothesis went unanswered, due to the unintended outcomes represented, policy change occurred five years later.  So while impact may not happen that instant, who is to say when your efforts will become invaluable.

Finally, as a student the one thing I feared most was my ability to transition from writing academically to writing in a professional capacity.  I ran into Professor Tok, an instructor at John Hopkins who serves as mentor to a colleague of mine.  I expressed to her my concern with my writing skill.  She then went on to state, “You have made it this far, so it is not as bad as you may think, just continue to write”.  Simple words with big meaning.

I cannot wait until the next opportunity to learn more from the “Who’s who?” in evaluation in the near future. We will be visiting the UCLA Graduate School in Education and Information Science and Harder, a frontrunner in evaluation, in early February.


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The American Evaluation Association has chosen IMPACT Planning Council as a site for its Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program that provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year. The GEDI program works to engage and support students from groups traditionally under-represented in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to:

  • Expand the pool of graduate students of color and from other under-represented groups who have extended their research capacities to evaluation.
  • Stimulate evaluation thinking concerning under-represented communities and culturally responsive evaluation.
  • Deepen the evaluation profession’s capacity to work in racially, ethnically and culturally diverse settings.

Interns may come from a variety of disciplines including public health, education, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, social work, and the natural sciences. Their commonality is a strong background in research skills, an interest in extending their capacities to the field of evaluation, and a commitment to thinking deeply about culturally responsive evaluation practice.

Breadth of Experience:  At IMPACT Planning Council, the GEDI intern will experience the breadth and depth of evaluation, from planning, to execution, to reporting. The intern will be exposed to the range of obligations of an evaluation professional. Interns will be integrated into IMPACT Planning Council, with the majority of time devoted to activities befitting an evaluation professional, albeit a novice one.

Culturally Responsive Evaluation: The GEDI program incorporates Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) methods throughout the program.  IMPACT Planning Council believes that culture and context are inherent considerations in all evaluation and look to the GEDI intern to provide continuing education to both our staff and our clients on issues of culture and context and their role in evaluation practice.

Work Hours:The Intern will work approximately 2 days per week,mid‐September through mid‐June with the exception of the weeks during which the intern has a training obligation as part of the internship (see next section), and holidays/vacations as negotiated between the Intern and IMPACT Planning Council. 

Travel and Flexibility:  The Intern will be expected to attend four separate training programs:

1.   Approximately 5 days in August, before starting the internship

2.   Approximately 1 week in October for the AEA annual conference

3.   Approximately 4 days in the winter for the GEDI winter retreat

4.   Approximately 4 days in June for the AEA Summer Evaluation Institute

In addition,if the intern is attending university classes, the work schedule will be flexed in order to accommodate these obligations.

Payment:The GEDI intern will be awarded an$8,000stipendovertheinternshipcycle.  In addition, all costs for the intern to attend AEA‐arranged training,mentoring,travel,and registration for all components of the GEDI program will be covered. 

To apply:  All interested candidates should review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before applying.  To apply, download the GEDI Application and return all requested materials via email as described on that document on or before Friday, June 6, 2014

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Happy New Year!! Have you all made your resolutions for 2014? Well personally, I don’t have any. But I’ve decided to make some professional resolutions. I resolve to educate you all today about what I’ve learned about Cultural Responsiveness and Evaluation. Further, I resolve to incorporate Cultural Responsiveness into all aspects of evaluation that I conduct from here on out. Honestly, I was doing some of this in 2013, but it’s always good to do a little self-reflection and identify ways I can improve as an emerging professional. So here it is.

Lesson 1: In order to understand the many facets of Cultural Responsiveness & Evaluation (CRE), you must first understand culture. Although there are many definitions of culture, I have included one that Dr. Rodney Hopson has given as an example in his trainings and literature.

the ever-changing values, traditions, social and political relationships, and worldview created, shared and transformed by a group of people bound together by a combination of factors that include a common history, geographic location, language, social class, and religion… (Nieto, 1999)

Culture is different for everyone and every time you approach a new population, you must be aware that culture is a key component to how a person or persons move throughout the world. Keep in mind that culture is more than race and ethnicity, it is also sexual and gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, etc. All of these factors play roles in one’s identity and shape their attitudes, beliefs and actions.

Lesson 2: Examine your own identity. As I stated above, your culture is unique to you and is likely to be different from the different populations you will work with. Think of what makes you a unique individual. Examine your own assumptions/biases of culture as they relate to conducting your evaluations. I like to do a mapping exercise included below. It forces you to look inwardly and identify how others may see you and how that may impact your evaluation, while also identifying areas where you may hold bias.


Lesson 3: Review AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competency (http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=92). AEA developed the Cultural Competence in Evaluation Task Force of the American Evaluation Association’s Diversity Committee to write a statement about the association’s dedication and commitment to CRE as the field continues to expand across cultures and diverse communities.

Lesson 4: Take advantage of opportunities to learn more. Below, I’ve listed an upcoming conference held in September, dedicated to CRE. Also, you will find a brief list of resources by some of the top evaluators writing about CRE and utilizing CRE to the fullest.

CREA 2014: Forging Alliances for Action: Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment Across Fields of Practice

  • September 18 – 20, 2014
  • Oak Brook, Illinois – Hosted by the College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bledsoe, K.L. & Hopson, R.K. (2008).  Conducting ethical research in underserved communities.  P.Ginsberg & D. M. Mertens (Eds.).  The Handbook of Social Research Ethics.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage.

Hopson, R.K., Kirkhart, K.E., & Bledsoe, K.L. (2012).  Decolonizing evaluation in a developing world:  Implications and cautions for equity-focused evaluations.  In Segone, M. (Ed.). Evaluation for equitable development results (pp. 59-83).  NY: UNICEF.

SenGupta, S., Hopson, R., & Thompson-Robinson, M. (2004). Cultural competence in evaluation: An overview. In M. Thompson-Robinson, R. Hopson & S. SenGupta (Eds.),In search of cultural competence in evaluation: Toward principles and practices, New Directions for Evaluation, No. 102 (pp. 5-19). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Stokes, H., Chaplin, S., Dessouky, S., Aklilu, L., & Hopson, R. (2011).  Serving marginalized populations through culturally responsive evaluation. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education., 5(3), 167-177.


(CRE Framework Graphic:

Rodney Hopson with the support of Elizabeth Kahl, Syracuse University,

adapted from Frierson, et.al, 2002)

FINAL NOTE: Keep in mind that there are no steps to incorporating CRE into your work. Rather it is a new way of thinking and approaching your work that requires you to be more critical and make more conscientious efforts. It may take time, but even the smallest effort can make a big impact for you, your organization and most importantly, the people you serve.

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