Cultural Competence Week: Blake Pearson on Just Good Evaluation: Conversations with Evaluators about Culturally Responsive Evaluation

Hello, I’m Blake Pearson, a doctoral student at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas and a member of the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. I am a part of a subgroup compiling supplemental materials (annotated bibliography, links, favorites) for the AEA website.

Today, I’d like to share my reflections on the panel session at Evaluation 2013 titled Just Good Evaluation: Conversations with Senior Evaluators about Culturally Responsive Evaluation. This session, chaired by Tamara Bertrand Jones, Linda Schrader, and Dominica McBride, brought together evaluators to engage in conversations about culturally responsive evaluations. As a neophyte evaluator, this session was a dream come true.  In layman’s terms, I felt like a high school basketball player getting the opportunity to play a pickup basketball game with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.

The organization of the session created an environment that stimulated meaningful conversations and dialogue. Within each subject area, participants had the opportunity to join five table discussions led by senior evaluators on their culturally responsive experiences conducting evaluations. After 30 minutes, the participants were given the opportunity to change tables.  My plan at the beginning of the session was to attend all five tables, but ultimately I found myself glued to my chair engrossed in rich conversation and only able to attend two discussions.

The all-star cast of senior evaluators facilitated conversations and shared their perspectives at the tables on:

  • Culturally Responsive Evaluation – Stafford Hood and Joan LaFrance
  • Infusing Culture in Your Evaluation Practice – Katrina Bledsoe
  • Ancestral Knowledge in Evaluation – Melvin Hall and Katherine Tibbetts
  • Validity and Validation – Karen Kirkhart
  • Teaching Evaluation: The Role of Faculty – Rodney Hopson
  • Careers in Evaluation: Foundations & Philanthropy -Ricardo Millett
  • Publication Opportunities in Evaluation – Henry Frierson
  • The Politics of Federal Program Evaluation – Katherine Dawes
  • Designing and Using Dashboards in Tracking and Evaluation Efforts – Veronica Thomas

Lessons Learned:

–        Cultural responsiveness is a continuous process that includes reflection and reflexivity.

–        There is no perfect scale or tool to measure cultural responsiveness. In other words, an evaluator can perform a ‘textbook-good-evaluation’ and still not ensure cultural responsiveness.

–        Publish your evaluations! There is value in sharing your experience. Take advantage of publication opportunities. Visit the AEA link, Guiding Principles for Evaluators to explore specific principles that evaluators can expect to be upheld to.

Rad Resource:

–        Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation TIG: Learn more about the TIG and how to get plugged in.

–        AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program (GEDI) : An excellent program that works to engage and support students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field of evaluation.

This week, we’re diving into issues of Cultural Competence in Evaluation with AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. 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.


1 thought on “Cultural Competence Week: Blake Pearson on Just Good Evaluation: Conversations with Evaluators about Culturally Responsive Evaluation”

  1. Thank you for this posting & insights. I recall a very nicely done conference session held here in Portland, OR at OPEN (OR Prog. Eval. Assoc.) by the staff of the OR Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) where the latino evaluation manager carried out an evaluation on the accessibility & relevance of exhibits to patrons ands guests from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. … I wish I could recall their names, but the OPEN Conf. committee might be able to help you find them. Could be good partners in your work! Thanx, C2

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