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

TAG | affiliates

Hello, I am Nick Hart, Treasurer of AEA’s Washington Evaluators (WE) affiliate and a PhD student in Program Evaluation at The George Washington University. I’d like to share some thoughts on the value of local affiliates’ connections with the academic community.Untitled

 

Situated in the Washington, D.C. area, WE has a unique opportunity to connect a diverse range of evaluators from nearly every policy field in non-profits, government, and academia.  While location can be a benefit for local affiliates, evaluators from all disciplines and sectors can come together in nearly any city to strengthen and connect the evaluation community.  Here are a few lessons we’ve learned about the benefits of specifically linking government and non-profit evaluators with academics that might be helpful for whatever part of the country you live in.

Clipped from http://tspppa.gwu.edu/

Lessons Learned:

  • Networking and Relationships:  Local affiliates can sponsor events that encourage academics and practioners to learn more about and to actively discuss joint interests, ranging from specific policy areas to evaluation theory and methods.  Aside from the benefit of organized presentations and an enriching learning environment that local affiliates can facilitate, the professional networking that follows events can encourage new connections to researchers with specific expertise in an area of interest.  Researchers and practitioners in academia are plugged in to the breadth of evaluation literature, not to mention personal connections with other researchers across the country (or world!).  Interacting directly and connecting with academics in your specific policy area can fuel conversations that strengthen evaluation designs and lead to innovative or insightful ways to look at your research questions.
  • Diverse Experiences:  Any gathering of program evaluation practitioners is destined to offer an eclectic mix of experience and knowledge about evaluation issues and theory.  Local affiliates provide a benefit for researchers in the academic community who gain from hearing and discussing field experiences.  Practitioners can help academics generate useful research ideas, contribute to developing and advancing evaluation theory, and identify new collaborators or co-authors.

Hot tip: Are you from the DC area? Join WE.. Is there an affiliate in your area?  Join up, or start a new affiliate. WE would be glad to help.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from WE Affiliate 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.

We are Ladel Lewis and Bernadette Wright, the leadership team of Meaningful Evidence LLC and co-founders of ASK MATT and active on the Membership Committee of Washington Evaluators (WE), the AEA affiliate for the National Capitol Area. Like a great party needs guests, your organization needs members to succeed. Here are some example ways a membership committee can attract past, current, and future members.

Recruitment: If you invite them, they will come! WE is planning a free membership celebration event where members bring future members. We also plan to extend an invitation to AEA members who are not WE members inviting them to join, using the AEA Affiliate Mailing List. We plug WE at the beginning of all WE events, then follow-up with attendees who aren’t members inviting them to join.

Retention: Hey, stick around! Make it easier for members to be heard. WE added a half hour for informal socializing before board meetings (held at restaurants). Also, the Membership Committee makes welcome calls to new members monthly encouraging their participation and feedback.

Reclamation: We miss you! When your organization is offering new services and benefits, some lapsed members may want to re-join. Keep them in the loop! Email, call, or send them a card encouraging them to come back.

Hot Tip: One committee cannot do it all.Clarify with your Board each committee’s role. The WE board defined roles for three committees: Program, Membership, and Communications. We emailed members asking for volunteers to join these expanding committees.

Hot Tip: Flexibility is key! Meeting at a regular day and time and incorporating technology can make it easier for people to attend. Based on asking Committee members how they would prefer to meet, the WE Membership Committee meets monthly by conference call.

Hot Tip: Evaluation time! To understand trends and track our progress, the WE Membership Committee provides monthly statistics from our analysis of information in the membership database. Below is an example chart from our last report.

Wright

Rad Resource: Membership management software makes it easier to manage membership data. WE uses Wild Apricot, a system that includes membership management, website content management, and email management.

Rad Resource: Toastmasters Clubs are a great way to hone leadership and public speaking skills that you can use at any organization. Toastmasters provides training and a detailedClub Leadership Handbookfor all Club officers, including the Vice President Membership, who would create and oversee the Membership Committee.

What has worked and what has not for membership building at your local evaluation association?

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from WE Affiliate 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.

Welcome! I’m Ann K. Emery, longtime fan of AEA affiliates and proud Secretary of the Washington Evaluators.

WE has transformed from an informal organization into a lean, mean fighting machine. We’ve standardized our procedures for planning events and tracking members; transferred institutional knowledge from our brains into documents; and improved how we share information with our members.

These strategies have proven effective in our transformation process:

  • What’s your affiliate all about? We’ve developed one-pagers to describe our community of practice and updated every section of our website, like washingtonevaluators.org/about.
  • Who are your affiliate’s leaders? We shared our board members’ names, photos, and bios at washingtonevaluators.org/board. Our bylaws give us plenty of wiggle-room, so we spent a few meetings discussing board roles and responsibilities and matching each leader’s interests with the organization’s needs.
  • Who are your affiliate’s members? Contact information for 220+ members is available in a members-only directory. Our Membership Committee also provides monthly membership statistics.
  • How can your affiliate easily plan events? To streamline our event planning process, we started posting events and collecting RSVPs through washingtonevaluators.org/events, a calendar that’s available through our Wild Apricot software. Our event calendar also allows us to systematically track attendance so we know which topics and speakers are most popular with our members.
  • How can you transform your affiliate’s members into leaders? We documented our process for planning brown bags (e.g., how to reserve a room, liaise with the speaker, etc.) Transferring these procedures from our brains into a step-by-step guide has made it easy for WE members to take on leadership roles by planning events.
  • How can members interact with each other online? WE’s now on Twitter (@WashEval), LinkedIn, and Slideshare. Our flagship online resource is our listserv, where we post job announcements and RFPs specifically for evaluators in the DC area.
  • How can your affiliate communicate with members? We developed a comprehensive communications strategy that explains how, why, and when we communicate with various audiences (e.g., when we’d send a listserv announcement vs. tweet vs. LinkedIn posting vs. other communications modes).
  • Where’s information stored? We share meeting agendas and minutes through Google Drive, which means WE’s history will be documented for future generations of affiliate leaders (not lost in our inboxes).
  • What’s your affiliate doing next? Our board discusses day-to-day issues at monthly meetings. A couple times a year, our president Brian Yoder prepares a delicious dinner in his home and we spend the evening discussing long-range organizational goals.

What a friendly group! Won’t you join us?

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from WE Affiliate 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 Tanya Ostrogorsky, Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment and Evaluation at Oregon Health & Science University, and I’ve been involved with Oregon Program Evaluators Network since 2002.  I ‘grew up’ studying research methods and data analysis and looking back I was a functioning as an evaluator before I knew what that meant. It wasn’t until my doctoral program that I took my first program evaluation course and attended an OPEN conference. Since then I’ve held leadership positions on seven different occasions including a long stretch as OPEN President during a difficult time in the organization’s history.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you about my trajectory as a local affiliate leader, but to share lessons learned through my observations about the role and function of the local affiliates in supporting AEAs mission. I also want to remind us how critical the local affiliates are to the development of local talent as well as the national leadership pipeline. Finally, I want to highlight the under-realized sources of energy, excitement, and real diversity that are in our midst.

Recently, 126 conference attendees ranging from students to newly minted graduates to early careerist to long-timers gathered to hear about the Top 10 Trends in Evaluation with Dr. Stewart Donaldson.  My first reaction to that day was a strong sense of pride in watching a local affiliate consistently deliver significant professional development opportunities for 16 years. My second reaction, as I scanned the room, was on the diverse and exciting mix of attendees that represent our past, our present, and our future.

So, what’s my point? Just as AEA needs to leverage and develop the local affiliates, past local affiliate leaders need to ensure the next generations of evaluators are provided the organizational history and encouragement to pick up where we left off. In both cases, we have a professional responsibility to support and encourage our peers in taking the next step in their leadership development. We need to offer encouragement and harness their energy. Yes, they will stumble and they will re-create the wheel, but so did we.

Lesson learned: We must leverage the talents and energy of the local affiliates to develop the leadership pipeline needs. My hope is that AEA can bring their focus to the power of local affiliates to create a strong organizational legacy. At the same time, it is local affiliate leadership responsibility to ensure that we do our part and have a strong community to support AEA.

Hot Tip: Local/regional AEA affiliates offer many opportunities to build our evaluation community. Find yours here and take the next step!

Clipped from http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=12

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from OPEN 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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My name is Kim Firth Leonard, and I have the honor of authoring the first post on the aea365 blog for Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) week. I have been an AEA member since 2008, and am currently President of OPEN, a local affiliate of AEA founded in 1997. I work as Assessment Research Coordinator at Marylhurst University in Portland Oregon and do contract work in program evaluation via Leonard Research and Evaluation, LLC.

This week’s posts were by OPEN members who have played important volunteer and leadership roles for OPEN. The posts demonstrate the value of our local network by sharing lessons we’ve gathered in reflecting on our work together as evaluators and as volunteers with OPEN.

I have learned much about evaluation and about building learning communities through OPEN. The bulk of the work done by OPEN’s volunteer Council and Committees is in organizing and supporting local events. OPEN’s mission is to provide a regional, interdisciplinary forum for professional development, networking, and exchange of practical, methodological, and theoretical knowledge in the field of evaluation. It is through these events that we build learning communities, and in doing so strengthen our work individually, and as a field.  

Get Involved: Whether you have a local affiliate or just an informal network of other evaluators in your area, you too can host, lead, contribute to, or benefit from local evaluation events.

  • Host: Events don’t have to be massive undertakings to be successful. Small, informal gatherings can be just as valuable as large conferences. “Have an idea? Go for it” is practically our events committee motto.
  • Lead: Local events are great places to practice your presentation and training skills. Discussion groups, like OPEN’s new-ish Book Club are low-pressure and offer opportunities to discuss emerging topics.
  • Contribute: Volunteer to help organize events for unique networking opportunities. Learning event planning skills is icing on the cake.
  • Benefit: It’s all about learning together. Valuable learning about one another and the field can happen at any get together – so attend local events whenever you’re able.

Lesson Learned: OPEN has always been welcoming to community members who don’t identify as evaluators, exactly, but do related work or want to learn more about evaluation. In the last year or so we’ve been emphasizing this openness (ha!) and we’ve found that collaborating with and learning from others in related fields greatly enriches our evaluation learning community. Sessions at our recent conference intended to create opportunity to learn from and with others in our community, including non-profit leaders, were well received.

Rad Resource: Materials from our 2013 conference are available on our website.

Rad Resource: Your own learning community is at your local affiliate or among other local AEA members.

Clipped from http://oregoneval.org/

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from OPEN 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 am Vanessa Hiratsuka, secretary of the Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) and a senior researcher at Southcentral Foundation (SCF), a tribally owned and managed regional health corporation based in Anchorage, Alaska, which serves Alaska Native and American Indian people.

As part of Commitment to Quality, a key organizational value, Southcentral Foundation (SCF) prioritizes continuous quality improvement (CQI), quality assurance, program evaluation, and research.

Although the strategies and tools used in CQI, quality assurance, program evaluation, and research are similar, we do different things. One of our challenges is to help staff across the organization understand who does what. Because these four fields differ in aim and audience, exploring the goals of a project (aim) and who will use its findings (audience) provides a useful framework to determine where a project fits.

Hiratsuka graphic

At SCF, improvement staff work directly with SCF department and clinic processes to develop and implement project performance measures and outcome indicators as well as help staff (audience) improve processes to better meet customer-owner needs and inform business directions (aim).  Quality Assurance staff conduct quality monitoring to ensure programs are complying (aim) with SCF processes and the requirements of our accrediting bodies (internal and external audiences).

SCF internal evaluators measure programs’ performance (aim) and provide feedback to programmatic stakeholders — including staff, leadership, and funders (audience). The SCF research department’s projects address questions of clinical significance to contribute to generalizable knowledge (aim) for use within SCF and for dissemination in the scientific literature around American Indian and Alaska Native health (audience).

Lessons Learned:

-        Define the aim and intended audience early in the process! This helps identify the stakeholders, level of review, and oversight needed during all stages of a project, including development, implementation, and dissemination of findings.

-        Broadly disseminate findings! Findings and recommendations from all disciplines are only useful when they are shared. At SCF, findings are shared at interdivisional committee meetings and with staff who oversee the work of departments. Multipronged dissemination ensures involvement from all levels of SCF and supports innovation and the spread of new knowledge.

-        Project review can be complicated!  At SCF, research projects must be vetted through a tribal concept review phase, an Institutional Review Board review, and finally a tribal review of the proposal.  Later, all research dissemination products (abstracts for presentation, manuscripts, and final reports) are also required to undergo a tribal research review process. These take time, so it is important to understand the processes and timelines and build review time into your project management timelines.

Check out these posts on understanding evaluation:

  1. 1.    Gisele Tchamba on Learning the Difference between Evaluation and Research
  2. 2.    John LaVelle on Describing Evaluation

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN 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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Greetings! My name is kas aruskevich and I am principal of Evaluation Research Associates LLC. I live in Fairbanks and work primarily in rural Alaska. Alaska is known for its great natural beauty, extreme temperatures, and unique context of diverse and far-flung communities assessable only by air. Alaska is the largest state in the U.S.

Alaska map

Rural communities often have a small population and rarely have a local evaluator for hire. Consequently, a program evaluator is most often hired from outside the community or region. Helicopter evaluation is a depreciating term used to describe a drop in – evaluate – depart approach. Today’s post talks about methods to strengthen and add depth to evaluations that involve distance between evaluator and evaluand.

Hot Tip: First, context is important. Familiarize yourself with the community and region before you travel. Gather demographic data of the community, leading industry, and cultural composition. Learn about the organization hosting the program, before your first contact. Plan your site-visit around a community event so you can see the community in a broader context.

Rad Resource: The importance of context is discussed in New Directions for Evaluation Fall 2012, Issue 135.

Hot Tip: Next, work to build open communication with program staff. Begin with a teleconference to provide an opportunity to meet staff and organization and discuss program status. Teleconferences also give you a chance to describe your evaluation style and see if you are a ‘fit’ for the organization and the evaluation project.

ALWAYS include participatory methods. I don’t ‘come in’ as the expert with an unchangeable evaluation design, but instead write up suggestions for the evaluation to negotiate before a plan is finalized. As an itinerant evaluator you can’t be on site as often as you might like. Using a participatory evaluation approach, program staff can be involved in the evaluation through taking photos or identifying program participants or stakeholders to interview.

Rad Resource – Read more about participatory evaluation in Cousins and Chouinard’s new book Participatory Evaluation Up Close.

Hot Tip: Lastly, work to build a friendly relationship based on mutual interests with at least one person in the organization or community. After years of conducting evaluations, friendly relationships have evolved into continuing friendships. These friendships have mutual benefits, in-part, they are a bridge for the evaluator to learn community specific cultural protocols–very important to conduct evaluations in cross-cultural settings – which in turn can strengthen the program through appropriate evaluation.

Lesson Learned: Itinerant evaluation can be much more than a helicopter site-visit approach. Regular communication and working together with program staff as a team can expand the evaluative evidence collected and increase report credibility, relevance, and use by the program staff.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN 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 Alexandra Hill and Diane Hirshberg, and we are part of the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  The evaluation part of our work ranges from tiny projects – just a few hours spent helping someone design their own internal evaluation – to rigorous and formal evaluations of large projects.

In Alaska, we often face the challenge of conducting evaluations with very small numbers of participants in small, remote communities. Even in Anchorage, our largest city, there are only 300,000 residents. We also work with very diverse populations, both in our urban and rural communities. Much of our evaluation work is on federal grants, which need to both meet federal requirements for rigor and power, and be culturally responsive across many settings.

Lesson Learned: Using mixed-methods approaches allows us to both 1) create a more culturally responsive evaluation; and 2) provide useful evaluation information despite small “sample” sizes. Quantitative analyses often have less statistical power in our small samples than in larger studies, but we don’t simply want to accept lower levels of statistical significance, or report ‘no effect’ when low statistical power is unavoidable.

Rather, we start with a logic model to ensure we’ve fully explored pathways through which the intervention being evaluated might work, and those through which it might not work as well.  This allows us to structure our qualitative data collection to explore and examine the evidence for both sets of pathways.  Then we can triangulate with quantitative results to provide our clients with a better sense of how their interventions are working.

At the same time, the qualitative side of our evaluation lets us lets us build in measures that are responsive to local cultures, include and respect local expertise, and (when we’re lucky) build bridges between western academic analyses and indigenous knowledge. Most important, it allows us to employ different and more appropriate ways of gathering and sharing information across indigenous and other diverse communities. 

Rad Resource: For those of you at universities or other large institutions that can purchase access to it we recommend SAGE Research Methods.  This online resource provides access to full text versions of most SAGE research publications, including handbooks of research, encyclopedias, dictionaries, journals, and ALL the Little Green Books and Little Blue Books.

Rad Resource: Another Sage-sponsored resource is Methodspace, an online network for researchers. Sign-up is free, and Methodspace posts selected journal articles, book chapters and other resources, as well as hosting online discussions and blogs about different research methods.

Rad Resource: For developing logic models, we recommend the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Logic Model Development Guide.

Clipped from http://www.methodspace.com/

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN 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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Greetings from the Last Frontier. I’m Alda Norris, webmaster for the Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) and evaluation specialist for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service (CES).

The faculty and staff I work with at CES are experts in a variety of fields, from horticulture, entomology and forestry to economics, nutrition and child development. That adds up to quite an interdisciplinary organization! Our diversity makes for fantastic collaborations, as well as complicated syntheses. Lucky for me, my PhD is in interpersonal communication, which applies across the board.

Lessons Learned:  Ask people to tell you the inspiration behind their projects. Every group has a story to tell.What common goals bring these people together?Inquiring about the “why” and not just the “what” of a program really benefits capacity building efforts. I got to know CES better while writing a Wikipedia entry. Hearing and reading about the contributions Extension has made in Alaska since the 1930s deepened my understanding of what led up to each of our program’s current priorities and logic models.

  • Help yourself with history. Too often we are mired in a static view of where an organization is now, rather than having an appreciation for how it has changed, and continues to change, over time. Even in a “young” state like Alaska, there is rich historical data we can learn from.
  • Boost your evaluation planning by gathering information on your/the client organization’s “story” from a variety of sources. Talk to emeritus professors, compare the org chart of today to past decades, and comb through newspaper archives. Becoming familiar with past waves of change is very helpful in understanding the meaning behind current missions, goals and structures (and people’s attachments to them).

Hot tip: Communicate about communication! Add a question about communication preferences to your next needs assessment. Don’t assume you know what level of technology and form(s) of interaction your colleagues and clients are comfortable with. Before you do a survey, figure out what modes of communication the target population values. For example, if oral history is a large part of a sample group’s culture, how well will a paper and pencil form be received?

Rad Resources:

  1. The National Communication Association (NCA) can help you step up your message design game. Take advantage of free advice from experts on verbal and nonverbal communication by reading NCA’s newsletter, Communication Currents.
  2. AnyMeeting is a freetool that you can use to reach a wider audience. With it, you can host online meetings and make instructional videos, both of which are really handy when working in a geographically diverse setting. AnyMeeting also has screenshare clarity in its recordings that Google Hangouts lacks.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network (AKEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN 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! My name is Amelia Ruerup, I am Tlingit, originally from Hoonah, Alaska although I currently reside in Fairbanks, Alaska.  I have been working part-time in evaluation for over a year at Evaluation Research Associates and have spent approximately five years developing my understanding of Indigenous Evaluation through the mentorship and guidance of Sandy Kerr, Maori from New Zealand.  I consider myself a developing evaluator and continue to develop my understanding of what Indigenous Evaluation means in an Alaska Native context.

I have come to appreciate that Alaska Natives are historic and contemporary social innovators who have always evaluated to determine the best ways of not only living, but thriving in some of the most dynamic and at times, harshest conditions in the world.  We have honed skills and skillfully crafted strict protocols while cultivating rich, guiding values.  The quality of our programs, projects, businesses and organizations is shaped by our traditions, wisdom, knowledge and values.  It is with this lens that Indigenous Evaluation makes sense for an Alaska Native context as a way to establish the value, worth and merit of our work where Alaska Native values and knowledge both frame and guide the evaluation process.

Amidst the great diversity within Alaska Native cultures we share certain collective traditions and values.  As Alaska Native peoples, we share a historical richness in the use of oral narratives.  Integral information, necessary for thriving societies and passing on cultural intelligence, have long been passed on to the next generation through the use of storytelling. It is also one commonality that connects us to the heart of Indigenous Evaluation.  In the Indigenous Evaluation Framework book, the authors explain that, “Telling the program’s story is the primary function of Indigenous evaluation…Evaluation, as story telling, becomes a way of understanding the content of our program as well as the methodology to learn from our story.” To tell a story is an honor.  In modern Alaska Native gatherings, we still practice the tradition of certain people being allowed to speak or tell stories.  This begs the question: Who do you want to tell your story and do they understand the values that are the foundation and framework for your program?  

Hot Tip: Context before methods.  It is essential to understand the Alaska Native values and traditions that are the core of Alaska Native serving programs, institutions and organizations.  Indigenous Evaluation is an excellent approach to telling our stories.

Rad Resource: The Alaskool website hosts a wealth of information on Alaska Native cultures and values.  This link will take you to a map of “Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Alaska Evaluation Network Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AKEN 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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