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Liz Zadnik on Bringing passion and enthusiasm to program evaluation

Hello! I am Liz Zadnik, Capacity Building Specialist at the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. I’m also a new member of the aea365 curating team and first-time Saturday contributor!  Over the past five years I have been working within the anti-sexual violence movement at both the state and national levels to share my enthusiasm for evaluation and support innovative community-based programs doing tremendous social change work.

Over the past five years I have been honored to work with talented evaluators and social change agents in the sexual violence prevention movement. A large part of my work has been de-mystifying evaluation and data for community-based organizations and professionals with limited academic evaluation experience.

Rad Resources: Some of my resources have come from the field of domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention, as well as this blog! I prefer resources that offer practical application guidance and are accessible to a variety of learning styles and comfort levels. A partnership between the Resource Sharing Project and National Sexual Violence Resource Center has resulted in a fabulous toolkit looking at assessing community needs and assets. I’m a big fan of the Community Tool Box and their Evaluating the Initiative Toolkit as it offers step-by-step guidance for community-based organizations. Very similar to this is The Ohio Domestic Violence Network’s Primary Prevention of Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Empowerment Evaluation Toolkit, which incorporates the values of the anti-sexual violence movement into prevention evaluation efforts.

Lesson Learned: Be yourself! Don’t stifle your passion or enthusiasm for evaluation and data. I made the mistake early in my technical assistance and training career of trying to fit into a role or mold I created in my head. Activists of all interests are needed to bring about social change and community wellness. Once I let my passion for evaluation show – in publications, trainings, and technical assistance – I began to see marked changes in the professionals I was working with (and myself!). I have seen myself grow as an evaluator by leaps and bounds since I made this change – so don’t be afraid to let your love of spreadsheets, interview protocols, theories of change, or anything else show!

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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2 comments

  • Aaron Mandzak · September 27, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Hello Liz,
    My name is Aaron and I am a student at Texas A & M University Central Texas. I will be graduating this semester and am currently enrolled in a program evaluation course. I appreciate your humble approach to this article. I can feel your honesty and passionate words in your chosen program. I have an enormous amount of respect for what you are doing in the anti-sexual violence movement. Thank you so much for your dedication to this. This subject is extremely difficult to encounter and discuss. A collaboration of people and organizations can be a huge part in the development of these type of programs. Finding ones passion may not always what they first thought it would be, but I’m very happy for you that you have found yourself within this movements. Congratulations on all of your success and again thank you for all that you do.
    Very Respectfully,
    Aaron Mandzak

    Reply

  • AEA365 incluye Comprehensive evaluation/Evaluación integral en su “Bloggers week” | Comprehensive evaluation / Evaluación integral · January 21, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    […] su nombre) y para ello las personas encargadas del mantenimiento del mismo (Sheila B. Robinson, Liz Zadnik, Sara Vaca y Jayne Corso) preparan semanas temáticas, como por ejemplo, la “Bloggers […]

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