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Koolamalsi njoos (Hello Colleagues/Friends).  I’m Nicole Bowman (Mohican/Lunaape) a culturally responsive (CR) and Indigenous Evaluator (CRIE) at the WI Center for Education Research (WEC and LEAD Center) and President/Evaluator at Bowman Performance Consulting, all located in Wisconsin.

In 1905, the President of UW, Charles Van Hise, provided the foundation for what has become fundamental to how I practice evaluation – The Wisconsin Idea:

“The university is an institution devoted to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge…in service and the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the masses…until the beneficent influence of the University reaches every family of the state” (p.1 and p.5).

My work as an Indigenous and culturally responsive evaluator exemplifies the WI Idea in action.  Through valuing, supporting, and resourcing culturally responsive and Indigenous theories, methods, and activities, I’m able to not only build organizational and UW’s capacity to “keep pace” (p. 3) in these areas but am empowered to be “in service” to others and not “in the interest of or for the professors” (i.e. self-serving) but rather as a “tool in service to the state…so the university is better fit to serve the state and nation” (p.4 and p.5).  My particular culturally responsive and Indigenous evaluation, policy, and governance expertise has brought university and Tribal governments together through contracted training and technical assistance evaluation work; has developed new partnerships with state, national, and Tribal agencies (public, private, and nonprofit) who are subject matter leaders in CR research and evaluation; and extended our collaborative CR and CRIE through AJE and NDE publications, AEA and CREA pre-conference trainings and in-conference presentations, and representation nationally and internationally via EvalPartners (EvalIndigenous). We’re not only living the WI Idea…we are extending it beyond mental, philosophical, and geographic boarders to include the original Indigenous community members as we work at the community level by and for some of the most underrepresented voices on the planet.
Rad Resources: 

During this week, you will read about how others practice the WI Idea. As evaluators, we play an integral role in working within and throughout local communities and statewide agencies. Daily, we influence policies, programs and practices that can impact the most vulnerable of populations and communities. Practicing the WI Idea bears much responsibility, humility, and humanity.  We need to be constant and vigilant teachers and learners.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating The Wisconsin Idea in Action Week coordinated by the LEAD Center. The LEAD (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination) Center is housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison and advances the quality of teaching and learning by evaluating the effectiveness and impact of educational innovations, policies, and practices within higher education. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from student and adult evaluators living in and practicing evaluation from the state of WIDo 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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