AZENet Week: Addressing Social Equity In and With Professional Evaluator Events by Jenny McCullough Cosgrove, Nicole Huggett, and Deven Wisner

We are Jenny McCullough Cosgrove, Nicole Huggett, and Deven Wisner, the 2017-2018 conference planning committee for the AEA Arizona Local Affiliate, the Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet). This year, we built off of the momentum from the inspiring #Eval17 AEA conference, to bring focus and meaningful attention to inclusion and equity in evaluative practice at our annual Arizona Evaluation conference.

Cool Tricks: Provide a Space for Evaluators to Practice

We know participatory evaluation can be a powerful tool in advancing equity by explicitly including underrepresented stakeholder voice. Given this, the conference planning committee has worked with our keynote speaker Dr. Mia Luluquisen, Deputy Director of Community Assessment Planning and Education at Alameda County Public Health Department, to build an evaluation event that incorporates an active experience in participatory evaluation. Specifically, an evaluation of the conference will be used as an introduction to this topic.

Hot Tips: Purposefully Build Inclusion and Safety into the Event

  • Choose an event location that will be accessible to all abilities.
  • Design event products and communications so they are as usable by as many participants as possible.
  • Define and use an inclusive and just vocabulary in promotion of the event and during the event.
  • Add activities that focus on experiencing deep empathy.
  • Establish ground rules for active listening; encourage all participants to engage and listen.
  • Support critical reasoning and safety in participants by asking for quiet reflection before sharing ideas.
  • Do not assume that marginalized people have the responsibility to educate evaluators on equity issues. Be mindful of asking underrepresented peoples to teach or explain their needs or experience at your event. Marginalized people are often burdened with the expectation to be the teachers in matters of justice and equity issues.

Rad Resources:

Intrigued and want to learn (or experience) more? Check out the Arizona Evaluation Network’s 2018 From Learning to Practice: Using Evaluation to Address Social Equity conference taking place this April in Tucson, AZ.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation provides seven steps to embed equity and inclusion in a program or organization in the Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide.

Racial Equity Tools provide some wonderful resources for evaluators to learn more about the fundamentals of racial inequity, as well as useful tools and guides to support learning.

Learn more about disability inclusion strategies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Reflect on your strategies for gender inclusion with this guide from the University of Pittsburgh.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our AZENet 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.

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