Hello, AEA365 community! Liz DiLuzio here, Lead Curator of the blog. This week is Individuals Week, which means we take a break from our themed weeks and spotlight the Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Rad Resources and Lessons Learned from any evaluator interested in sharing. Would you like to contribute to future individuals weeks? Email me at AEA365@eval.org with an idea or a draft and we will make it happen.
I’m Tiffany Tovey, one of three evaluation faculty in UNC Greensboro’s Educational Research Methodology Department supporting the student-led, virtual, Emergent Voices in Evaluation (EViE) conference that is happening VERY soon (May 18-19, in fact)!
Given the increased attention to social justice and equity within our field, I wanted to talk about the theme of this year’s EViE conference: Becoming Catalysts: Emerging Evaluators as Agents for Transformative Change.
In following the tradition of themes for EViE (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), and keeping with the larger conversations the field is having in spaces like EERS and AEA, the students came together to co-construct the theme for this year’s conference under their keen insight that there continues to be a need for evaluators, emerging and established alike, to be voices for the real societal changes that need to be made. They aim to facilitate open dialogue by elevating and propagating emerging evaluator voices, perspectives, and reflections around four topics:
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Anti-Racist, & Transformative Practices
- Internationalization and Globalization
- COVID-19 Pandemic
- Climate Change
Our field has made many strides in the realms of social justice and culturally responsive evaluation, but we have also seen diverging opinions and barriers in this space. The world is in the midst of transformation, and as evaluators we need to meet that transformation and be catalysts for change, promoting the common good and a more equitable society. Our world is also becoming increasingly interconnected, and as technological innovation has increased and access to one another across the world has been amplified, this big world is becoming smaller. Globalization and internationalization have elevated the need for us as evaluators to tailor our methods and methodologies to be inclusive, reflective, and considerate of the cultural, political, and societal contexts we are embedded in, challenging the status quo and the traditional ways of doing and being accordingly.
We also need to consider the impact and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how these can inform our evaluative practices. What can we do so that our history is something we learn from, rather than having it repeat itself and become a vicious cycle? What is the role of the evaluator in ensuring the validity and truth-value of evidence, and ensuring that the public understands the value of evidence in its many flavors? Finally, the wicked problem of climate change has become increasingly troublesome and has devastated communities across the globe. We must consider how evaluators can actively combat climate change and incorporate environmental sustainability into our work.
As is clear in the above theme for this year’s conference, cocreated by graduate students and emerging evaluators in the Educational Research Methodology program here at UNCG, the problems that seasoned professional evaluators are engaging in dialogue about are not different than what our emerging evaluators are concerned with. Their voices are essential to understanding the direction of our field in the decades ahead.
This year, we are incredibly honored to host Dr. Nicky Bowman (Lunaape/Mohican) as she shares a keynote presentation on “Unsettling the Academy: Rooted Realities and Critical Conversations to Address the Colonial Settler State in and Through Evaluation.”
We are super excited to see you there!
- You will see a couple of posts from our students this week about the experience of hosting a student-led conference!
- Be sure to register for EViE! It is affordable, virtual, and will provide structured reflection space for new and emerging evaluators. However, this conference is not limited to emerging evaluators, seasoned evaluators should attend, support, and have open eyes and ears for the thoughts of our new evaluators!
- Check out our schedule-at-a-glance here!
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