AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

CAT | Latino/a Responsive Evaluation Discourse

This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).

My name is Andrea Guajardo, MPH, and I am the Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, Texas. I am also the co-Chair of the Multiethnic Issue in Evaluation (MIE) TIG and a founding member of the LA RED TIG.

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

LA RED honors Mariana Enriquez, PhD as a Living Pioneer in Evaluation for her significant contributions to AEA and to her evaluation discipline. As a Program Evaluation Consultant, her work focuses on education and public health programs across Colorado.

Mariana was born and raised in Mexico City as one of seven siblings. She began her evaluation career in the United States as Program Director for a small non-profit while exploring the impact of parenting classes on Spanish and English-speaking families. This early experience in evaluation led to a deeper pursuit of evaluation as a career, and in doing so, has blazed a trail for Latinx evaluators and for those practicing evaluation in Latinx communities.

As a bilingual and bicultural evaluator, she has native knowledge of the communities in which she works and functions as a bridge – un puente – to the wider, mainstream community. Her perspective informs the unique discipline of Latinx evaluation and provides cultural translation and understanding between these two communities.

Mariana has been a member of the AEA Committee on Honors and Awards (2012 -2014) and was its 2013 Chair. She also served as Chair of the Pipeline Students program at AEA in 2008, and is currently a member of the American Journal of Evaluation Editorial Advisory Board. Her mentorship of the LA RED TIG provides support for continued personal and professional development of Latinx evaluators at AEA.

As an Independent Consultant, Mariana’s current work includes STEM and English Language Learning Education at local universities in Colorado and with a communications agency conducting a state-wide public health campaign. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Science, and the Department of Human Services.

Rad Resources:

Get Involved: To learn more about evaluation theory and practice by, for and with Latinx communities join LA RED by emailing lared.tig@gmail.com.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).

I’m Saúl I. Maldonado, assistant professor of education at San Diego State University, AEA GEDI alumnus, and co-chair of LA RED TIG .

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

LA RED honors Debra Joy Pérez, PhD, Chief Measurement, Evaluation and Learning Officer of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for contributing to the philanthropy sector and fostering equitable practices as an organizational leader and evaluation pioneer.

Philanthropy

Across multiple foundations, Debra has emphasized the value of learning from investments and how impact is measured. At Moore Foundation, Debra has the responsibility of applying her management competencies in research, evaluation and learning on diverse portfolios and initiatives from international environmental conservation initiatives in the Amazon-Andes to local investments in California’s Bay Area. Debra is dedicated to ensuring foundations’ investments make a difference in the lives of others and considers partnerships with third-party/external evaluators as a critical component of organizational accountability.

Equity

Debra self-describes as a gay womyn of color from a large family with a commitment to community. Upon completing the first master’s degree, Debra’s business cards included the George Bernard Shaw quote, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.” A continuous commitment to our evaluation community is evident in Debra’s leadership support of equity-oriented initiatives.

At Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Debra contributed to the creation of a fellowship program that offered graduate students of color personalized training at evaluation firms. At Annie E. Casey Foundation, Debra launched the Expanding the Bench Network, a core strategy for increasing evaluators of color, as well as the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program. LEEAD is a comprehensive initiative that includes coursework, mentorship and practicum opportunities at research organizations, think tanks, foundations and private firms for historically underrepresented scholars.

Debra describes equity-oriented evaluators as follows: “It is a matter of mindset, you can be a person of color and still ignore core concepts like empowerment and community-based participatory engagement; equitable evaluation is about explicitly acknowledging the social dynamics of power and privilege in all evaluation processes.” To assist audiences into translating equity-orientations into professional practices, Debra recommends reflection on the following Chris Boeskool quote, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, [equity] feels like oppression.”

Rad Resource:

Acknowledging that disrupting the status quo is difficult, Debra stresses the importance of interpersonal connections as well as the centering of purpose. As evaluators, “we must remember the words of Patañjali, ‘“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations.’ A rad resource that Debra recommends for reflecting upon our interconnectedness and purpose is Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).

¡Saludos! Greetings! I am Lisa Aponte-Soto, National Program Deputy Director of RWJF New Connections and Director at Equal Measure, AEA GEDI alumna, and LA RED TIG Chair.

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

LA RED TIG honors Arthur (Art) E. Hernandez, PhD for his leadership in culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) practices and commitment to diversifying the field.

Art Hernandez was Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and Director of the AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) initiative. He has recently transitioned to the University of the Incarnate Word. Art has rooted his career in his native Texas, yet his contributions span across the nation.

His first evaluation experience was with a project for the Texas school district. The program staff viewed him as a researcher and saw no distinction between research and evaluation. Art began expanding his scope of work to different settings. Before long, he became a respected evaluator valued for his bilingual and bicultural lens. However, it wasn’t until he participated in the 2009 MSI cohort that he realized that he was conducting formal evaluation.

Art attributes MSI and similar traineeships for building his evaluation methodology skills. Equally, he accredits his lived experience and his perspective as a Latino as being critical to the quality of evaluation. His ethnic background and CRE training have also influenced his attention to cultural context in the work.

Art refers to culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) as an essential technical and quality-driven inherent value for all evaluation practice. And, he applauds AEA for being at the forefront of integrating cultural awareness and responsiveness in the field.

He also acknowledges the importance of AEA’s community of learning fostered through Annual Meetings and Summer Institutes, where he has been able to engage and learn with seasoned evaluators. In turn, Art values giving back to AEA.

A lifetime educator, Art is passionate about mentoring the next generation of culturally responsive evaluators. When invited to lead the MSI Program in 2011, he didn’t hesitate and continues in this role

As an active AEA member, Art is a founding member of LA RED, has served various TIGs, and most notably has contributed to the AEA Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation. Currently, he is working on an evaluation capacity building recipe book for community based organizations.

Rad Resources: Listen to his recent Coffee Break session, The Rise of Latinx presence, perceptions and contributions to notions of CRE and AEA.

Meet Art and other Latinx pioneers at Evaluation 2016, Senior Latin@ Evaluators Reflections on Culturally Responsive Evaluation + Design.

Get Involved: To learn more about evaluation theory and practice by, for and with Latinx communities join LA RED by emailing lared.tig@gmail.com.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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This is part of a two-week series honoring our living evaluation pioneers in conjunction with Labor Day in the USA (September 5).

¡Saludos! I am Grisel M. Robles-Schrader, of the Center for Community Health at Northwestern University and Robles-Schrader Consulting, Chicago, IL.

LA RED TIG is highlighting Latinx evaluators that inform the field of culturally responsive evaluation practice and theory.

Norma Martinez-Rubin, of Evaluation Focused Consulting, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and discovered her passion for evaluation work when a friend asked her to help with an evaluation project. Her bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural (Mexican American) background, as well as her formal education in the disciplines of public health and business administration inform her unique perspective.

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

Norma’s interests in culturally responsive assessments and evaluations stem from a desire to learn about people and co-design evaluations that reflect their needs. As an external evaluator, she understands the importance of building and nurturing relationships. She employs qualitative inquiry approaches to help give meaning to the words and actions of the communities she serves. She is keenly aware of her understanding of Latinx communities, but is conscious of the dynamic and evolving nature of how these communities define themselves and their values and the importance of continual study.

While her culturally responsive approaches support organizations in identifying the most relevant evaluation approaches for their clients, she uses her business background to support the financial health of organizations. She identifies cost-effective strategies for implementing, improving, and sustaining programs and services that improve the lives of their clients.

For her, evaluation is an opportunity to “bridge her passion for public health with purposeful research to foster social change through systematic inquiry for organizational decision making.”

Norma has been involved with AEA since 2006. She has reviewed session proposals for numerous TIGS since joining AEA. She has served as Chair of the Independent Consulting TIG (2011) and Program Co-Chair for the Evaluation Use TIG (2012-14).

Rad Resources: Meet her and Janet Smith of Edscape Consulting at their upcoming session, Exploring Essentials of Culturally Responsive Evaluation among Independent Consultants, at AEA 2016 Evaluation + Design Conference in Atlanta, Thursday, October 27, 2016, at 1 P.M. local time (Session ID#1162).

Read her book chapter titled, Balancing Inside-Outsider Roles as a New, External Evaluator in Qualitative Inquiry in Evaluation: From Theory to Practice (Jossey-Bass, 2014). It illustrates how personal curiosity, professional training, and personal experiences can function as levers when designing and implementing protocols for focus groups and semi-structured interviews.

Get Involved: To learn more about evaluation theory and practice by, for and with Latinx communities join LA RED by emailing lared.tig@gmail.com.

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The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

This is Efrain Gutierrez with FSG. In the last three years, I’ve had the privilege of evaluating the Lumina Latino Student Success effort, an effort to increase college attainment among Latina/os in thirteen communities in the US using a collaborative place-based approach. Through my interaction with grantees and beneficiaries I have learned a few good practices for culturally responsive evaluation when evaluating programs serving Latino communities.

  1. Recognize the different segments of the Latino community the program serves. Take the time to understand diversity within the Latino population and the various needs of different sub-groups. This will help you develop evaluation tools that will adequately capture the opinions, assets, and challenges of different segments of the Latino community.
  2. Understand the ways in which the local context might be affecting the Latino community. Learn about the broader political, economic, and cultural context in the region where the program is being implemented and think about how the local context might be positively or negatively affecting Latina/os. By having a good understanding of context you will be better equipped to explain how external factors might be affecting outcomes for Latino communities.
  3. Cultivate “confianza” with the community served by the program you are evaluating. The concept of “confianza” translates as “trust,” but includes ideas of confidence and familiarity. This means that evaluators need to be trusted professionally and personally. Meeting with the different stakeholders you will be engaging with through your evaluation activities and connecting with them on a personal level will help you receive honest and valid answers in interviews and focus groups. Another way to increase confianza is including Latina/o evaluators in your team.
  4. Engage local Latina/o leaders in your evaluation activities. Before starting your evaluation, take the time to meet and discuss your evaluation with Latina/o community leaders. They can help you cultivate “confianza”, provide insights into the community, and legitimize your evaluation work.
  5. Understand the strong sense of “familismo” among Latino communities. Familismo refers to a strong connection and commitment toward family. It can have potential effects in the decisions Latina/os are making on where to live, work, and study. Understanding this commitment to family amongst Latina/os can help you make sense of why program beneficiaries are making certain choices.
  6. Refer to the Latino community using a positive, asset-based lens. Describe your findings using language that honors the qualities and strengths of the Latino community. By highlighting the positive elements of the Latino community, evaluators can contribute to the development of better solutions that leverage community assets.

I hope these good practices help you conduct quality evaluations for programs serving Latino communities. ¡Animo!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello! I’m Asma Ali, Director of Evaluation, Measurement, and Assessment at the American Society for Clinical Pathology and President of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association. Urban areas in the United States are becoming increasingly diverse. Urban development efforts, urban sprawl, and other policies in U.S. cities during the last decade have caused racial demographic shifts in areas surrounding the metropolitan core, resulting in new challenges to social service agencies in these areas. Many urban social service agencies address these challenges through an intense focus on outreach and recruitment efforts. Agencies may benefit from a deep understanding of community level changes through engagement with local members in their evaluation practice.

Evaluators play a critical role in the support of social service agencies as they engage in efforts to address the needs of diverse constituents. Evaluators can offer support in critical areas related to outreach through their evaluation plans and plans. Conducting community evaluations with Latino-serving social service agencies can better address the nuances of working with diverse and shifting urban populations when they include critical elements of culturally responsive evaluation.

Urban racial and ethnic minority program participants often wish to be engaged in programs and social service delivery efforts. Effective programs and evaluations of these programs must allow participants to access and develop their own terms of engagement.   The following lessons learned support the development of an evaluation plan and implementation that addresses the needs of Latino consumers.

Lessons Learned:

  • Connecting with community leaders – Community leaders can help agencies become part of local networks, build personal relationships, and utilize community members in outreach efforts. Relationships with leaders in minority communities can help establish trust among community members on behalf of the agency and increase visibility. Relationships with community leaders can help spread the word about agency activities, establish new programming efforts between agencies and diversify staff perspectives about their work with Latino groups.
  • Engaging actively with the community — Utilizing community events and existing Latino social-service networks can be an important part of an evaluator’s work. Many of the benefits of this work are similar to engagement with community leaders. It is important for evaluators to understand that the Latino community is diverse with many perspectives at every level.   Community members can also serve as evaluation advisors or provide important community information.
  • Understanding changing consumer needs – Direct engagement with Latino consumers can help program staff to better understand and serve the unique needs of these consumers. Culturally- responsive evaluation methodologies and utilization focused evaluation methods can help evaluations and programs address Latino participants’ needs.
  • Culturally appropriate evaluation materials– Evaluators should make sure that their work reflects the appropriate language and messages for their Latino participants. Multiple communication venues –word of mouth, printed flyers, radio, and print—are important to “get the word out” among Latino program participants.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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We are Dr. Maria Jimenez, Independent Evaluation Consultant in Los Angeles, CA, and Andrea Guajardo, MPH, Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, TX, core members of the newly formed LARED TIG network.

The inaugural business meeting of the LA RED TIG was held at AEA 2015 in Chicago. At this event, LA RED members reviewed strategic plans, developed working groups, and recognized key members. Strategic plans involved revisiting core goals and objectives. Working groups reported on key areas including Mentoring & Professional Development Oppportunities and Membership & Member Engagement. Lastly, Dr. Arthur Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was recognized with an award for his support and leadership in the formation of the TIG and presence at AEA. What follows is a review of the LA RED’s membership, future directions, and tips for how to get involved.

LA RED’s membership includes more than 25 emerging Latina/o evaluators who have recognized the need for increasing Latina/o visibility in AEA and to create spaces for evaluation discourse that is culturally responsive to Latina/o-serving communities and programs. Led by a group of founding members, it has enlisted broad participation from Latina/o evaluators and evaluators working with Latina/o-serving organizations.

Future directions for the TIG include:

  1. Expansion of membership for a Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group (LA RED TIG) to continue to build a platform for Latina/o voices in evaluation practice for dialogue and knowledge sharing. (LA RED in Spanish stands for “The Network”.)
  2. Extension of professional leadership development for novice Latina/o evaluators through formal training and supportive mentoring from senior evaluators.
  3. Engagement of cross-cultural partners to meet the growing needs of the Latina/o community.
  4. Development of culturally responsive evaluation frameworks by including Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, and the voices of other indigenous Latina/o-focused writers.

LA RED welcomes evaluators who identify as Latina/o as well as any evaluator whose work and/or practice includes the study of Latino populations.

Hot Tip #1: Email LA RED. If you are interested in joining LA RED or would like more information regarding its mission, goals, and future directions, email LA RED at lared.tig@gmail.com.

Hot Tip #2: Join a LA RED working group. If you are interested in joining a working group, email us. Our work around the year translates into activities at AEA and beyond.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

My name is Art Hernandez and I am a Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

I participated in one of the very early yearlong experiences as an AEA MSI Fellow and have served as the Director for several cohorts most recently this past year.   I serve and have served as evaluator and teacher of evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural responsiveness in practice especially in regards to measurement and assessment.   I am a member of the Indigenous, Multicultural and LA RED TIGs.

Lesson Learned: Cultural responsiveness is important for many of the reasons well-articulated in the AEA Statement and in numerous articles and presentations. However, besides all the reasons which have been promulgated, I have discovered that sometimes evaluation efforts are perceived by participants as having some degree of risk attendant either to the process, outcomes or implications or some combination of all three. Often Latina/o evaluators who come from similar cultural backgrounds can actually exacerbate this perceived risk resulting in the psychological response which is known as “fight or flight” which is characterized by resistance or non-engagement. 

Hot Tip: Cultural knowledge, respect, and real relationship are important to minimize the sense of risk and maximize the nature and quality of cooperation with the evaluation effort.   Latina/o evaluators should never assume cultural responsiveness as merely a matter of cultural familiarity, cultural heritage or facility with the language and instead understand and practice cultural responsiveness as a predisposition and relational action.

Rad Resources:

Applying Culturally-Responsive Communication in Hispanic/Latino Communities – Education Toolkit. Susan G. Komen (2014).

The 10 Largest Hispanic Origin Groups: Characteristics, Rankings, Top Counties – Pew Research Center: Pew Hispanic Center (2010).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

I’m Wanda Casillas with Deloitte Consulting, LLP and am also Chair of Communications for the newly formed LARED Topical Interest Group. As a practitioner of culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) I have been wrestling with the question of what it means to be responsive to Latin@ populations specifically. Many of us that are Latin@ evaluators have been asking ourselves, “How are principles and tenets of CRE relevant to Latin@ populations? And what else do we need in our toolbox to conduct valid, respectful evaluations in a Latin@ context?”

Thinking around CRE to date has been critical to progressing the field and spurning innovative, meaningful discourse on the inclusion of culture and context in evaluations. However, few Latin@ theorists have helped to shape thinking in this area that is inclusive of our various communities’ values and needs. This post is really a call to action to encourage rising Latin@ evaluators to critically question what it means to practice culturally responsive evaluation in our communities. Specifically, how do we make the existing CRE approach and way of thinking specific and relevant to diverse Latin@ communities?

Lessons Learned: Every cultural community is unique. We cannot group all Latin@ communities under one category when there are countless cultural differences among groups like Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Puerto Ricans, etc. For that matter, we should not group all cultural minorities into one category and determine a one-size-fits-all evaluation approach. We need a way of thinking about evaluation that is adaptable among contexts but prescriptive enough to be helpful in practice. That may mean creating multiple adaptations of CRE principles into several approaches that better fit specific Latin@ communities.

Rad Resource: For a comprehensive look at culturally responsive evaluation practices and framing checkout The 2010 User-Friendly Handbook for Project Evaluation, Chapter 7: A Guide to Conducting Culturally Responsive Evaluations available online for free at: https://web.stanford.edu/group/design_education/wikiupload/6/65/Westat.pdf. This chapter provides a great birds-eye-view of compiled CRE practices, non-specific to any particular community.

Rad Resource: One of my favorite books on the topic of critical race theory and LatCrit (Latino Critical Theory) is: Race Is… Race Isn’t: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education

https://books.google.com/books?id=fQsL7pWGmfEC. This book can help push our thinking on CRE into an area of what it means to be responsive, specifically, to Latin@ communities.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

¡Saludos! We are Lisa Aponte-Soto and Saúl I. Maldonado, co-chairs of the Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse (LA RED) TIG and AEA GEDI alumni. Aponte-Soto is the National Program Deputy Director of RWJF New Connections at Equal Measure, and Maldonado is a lecturer at Santa Clara University’s School of Education.

Content for our TIG Week features updates from AEA 2015 and discussions about evaluation theory and practice. Our post highlights the Birds of a Feather LA RED session at Evaluation 2015, “How do we attend to evaluation with a Latina/o Cultural Lens?” Facilitators shared experiences, resources, and dialogued with attendees regarding culture, context, and Latina/o responsive evaluation (LRE) practices.

Lessons Learned:                                                                                                               

  • Attend to Cultural ValuesRespeto (respect) and familismo (collectivism) are among central cultural values vital for gaining confianza (“trust”). Showing respeto to Latina/o communities requires staying humble, asking thoughtful questions, and sharing decision-making. This may also entail providing additional space or activities to accommodate participants’ children and extended family members.
  • Be Inclusive of Language and Linguistic Differences – To maintain the integrity of the evaluation results, it is important to know the community and to prepare protocols and instruments in Spanish and English. Translations do not guarantee instruments’ appropriateness for Latina/o subgroup/s being served. These differences are critical to practicing LRE. While this may be challenging, it is necessary to communicate to funders, colleagues, or partners.
  • Be Inclusive of Community – An LRE approach demands a multilayered process rooted in community participatory approaches that engage Latina/o staff, leaders, advocates, and community members. Meaningful collaboration with promotoras (lay community workers) and other community members is always appropriate, as they are the most attuned to culturally responsive community needs.
  • Beware of Power Differentials – As evaluators, it is important to remain mindful of professional privileges that influence power differentials when engaging with communities – even if you are a part of the community, are Latina/o, and/or live, socialize, and work with Latina/os. Being reflective of one’s value systems, expertise, and stakeholder expectations may prevent culturally inappropriate partnerships.

Hot Tip #1: Stakeholder Engagement – Navigating community, stakeholder, and client needs requires advocacy to negotiate marginalized representation. Excluding voices leads to erroneous results, but so does the over-adjustment of evaluation designs.

Hot Tip #2: Efficiency Isn’t Always Effective – Organizational structures are important when conducting evaluations, but overemphasizing efficiency can compromise the most effective collaborations with stakeholders.

Rad Resource: The Building Evidence Toolkit is a free receta (recipe) for Latina/o community-based organizations to document their programs outcomes.

Rad Resource: LA RED recognizes evaluators have individual experiences that encompass multiple identities beyond race/ethnicity. LA RED is a space for evaluators working collaboratively with/for Latina/o communities regardless of their personal racial-ethnic background. To join the discourse, please email us at lared.tig@gmail.com.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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