Hi, I’m Dominica McBride, CEO of Become, Inc. and a member of the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. The working group is charged with spreading the word about the statement and helping evaluators integrate the information from the statement into practice, teaching, policy, etc. At this year’s conference, we facilitated and attended several sessions on cultural competence. This week, a few of us are sharing our lessons learned from these sessions.
I’d like to provide an overarching perspective on the sessions and share some cross-cutting lessons from them. In attending these and other sessions this year, I noticed a couple exciting trends around evaluation and cultural competence:
It seems the importance of cultural competence is “catching fire” (just thought I’d throw that in for the Hunger Games fans). More people are recognizing the significance of this way of thinking and set of skills in evaluation, as I hear it come up more in discourse outside of groups like ours (who have an explicit focus on cultural competence). I also serve as Program Co-Chair of the Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation TIG. Last year, we had one co-sponsored session. This year, we had four co-sponsored sessions with two TIGs approaching us for co-sponsorship. This could be an indicator that there is more recognition of the opportunities for cultural competence in a variety of topic areas in evaluation (and possibly movement towards more collaboration).
Lessons Learned: Collaborate! In collaborating with different TIGs, be it in co-sponsoring sessions or enjoying receptions, I was reminded of the power and potential of the collective. This is also a part of cultural competence that came up in some sessions – seeing the points of possible convergence and striving for inclusion.
Opportunities abound for cultural competence. Culture is everywhere and so are opportunities to manifest cultural competence. Existing methods and orientations of evaluation practice provide ample opportunity for examining and integrating culture.
Think creatively. An aspect of cultural competence I perceived as a subtle theme across some of the sessions was creative thinking. In measuring, examining, understanding, and integrating culture, thinking “outside the box,” trying new and different techniques, and using the right hemisphere of the brain can add to the process and deepen the learning.
Hot Tip: Give yourself an assignment of looking for 3 opportunities throughout each day of a week to practice cultural competence.
Rad Resources: Michael Michalko is a creativity expert. Check out his blog post on creative thinking – While you’re at it, browse this site for ways that various disciplines are showing off their creativity.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.