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



¡Milwaukee Evaluation! Week: Lessons on Social Justice in Evaluation by Libby Smith

Hello! My name is Libby Smith, I work at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where I am fortunate enough to work in evaluation in multiple capacities. Today I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from being a member of ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! First, Nicole Robinson and the rest of the executive board are tireless promoters of our mission both in and outside of our state. They have truly taught me the value of building connections across long distances and being part of a network that shares a common goal. Second, I have learned that infusing social justice into my work is not optional or occasional.

Lessons Learned:

From participating in webinars on using racial equity in evaluation to participating in last spring’s Social Justice and Evaluation Conference, the professional development I have received as a member has been consistent, effective, and incredibly valuable to my growth as an evaluator. I was honored to be asked to present an Eval 101 session at the spring conference, but the lessons learned through listening to the people who attended my session were incredibly valuable.  The organization’s commitment to promoting social justice within evaluation sets it apart from the other groups that I belong to.

My connection to ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! led to the most professionally satisfying work of my career. In 2015, I began collaborating with the Annie E. Casey Foundation as they established the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) program, an effort to increase the number of underrepresented evaluators of color, a mission directly aligned with our goals. Through our Graduate Certificate in Evaluation Studies, we provide evaluation training to the early-career scholars in the LEEAD program. I am so proud of the work that we are doing, knowing that we are exponentially expanding our ability to bring change to the field of evaluation and to the communities we work in as evaluators.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! Week with our colleagues in the Wisconsin statewide AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.


  • Lisa Bilodeau · November 14, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Hello Mrs Smith,

    I really enjoyed reading your posting on the AEA365 website title “Milwaukee Evaluation! Week:Lessons on Social Justice in Evaluation”. Building relationships is such an important part of networking in a global community. We have so much to learn from one another and establishing a strong community of learners is a key component of most workplace environments. I really connected with your message about making social justice an integral part of your work. Social justice should not be an aside that we consider when tragedy is evident in the media, but an important aspect of our everyday lives. Promoting the importance of social justice within the domain of evaluation is a key feature of establishing ethical treatment for everyone. Your thoughtful post has encouraged me to deepen my knowledge of the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity program since I am passionate about promoting equity in evaluation. I wish you all the best as you continue to expand your professional knowledge of evaluation. Thank you for the great post!

    Kind Regards,



    • Libby Smith · November 16, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Hi Lisa!

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. There is so much work to be done in this area, I am happy to see more evaluators incorporate inclusion and equity into their work. I’m happy to answer any questions you have about LEEAD!


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