Hi, my name is Catherine Nameth, and I’m the Education Coordinator for an NSF- and EPA-funded research center at the University of California- Los Angeles. As Education Coordinator, my primary job is not evaluation, so I have to act creatively in order to integrate evaluation into my work and balance the need for internal evaluation with my other administrative and research responsibilities.
Hot Tip: Be an active learner and an active listener. Get to know your colleagues and their areas of expertise. Go to meetings, listen, and be open to learning about your colleagues and what they do. Your understanding of them and their work will inform your understanding of your organization as well as its people and programs/research. This understanding can then inform how you design surveys and collect evaluation data. People who know you are more likely to respond to your surveys and other “official” evaluation requests, and when they respond, you get the information you need!
Rad Resource: Map it out! Use Community Solutions’ map for “How Traditional Planning and Evaluation Interact.” This map displays how an evaluation logic model (inputs-activities-outputs-outcomes) situated horizontally interacts with program planning (goals-objectives-activities-time frame & budget) which is modeled vertically. In using this map, you’ll see that the “activities” of each model intersect, and this cohesive visual aid also serves as a reminder that program planning goals and evaluation outcomes should- and can- inform one another. Use this map to keep yourself focused, which is really important when your primary responsibilities include many aspects other than evaluation, and to help you show your organization’s leadership what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Hot Tip: Have an elevator pitch at the ready. When your work includes evaluation but is not entirely about evaluation, you need to be able to explain quickly and concisely what you are evaluating, why you are evaluating it, what information you need, and how your colleagues can help you by providing this needed information . . . which they will be more willing to do if they know you!
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