Cultural Competence Week: Dominica McBride on Cultural Competence and aea365

“Beauty is unity in variety.” (Samuel Coleridge)

I am Dominica McBride, CEO of Become, Inc. and member of the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. The above quote is one of the core lessons I have been reminded of through my work on this task force and is quite germane in cultural competence. Within this group, I’m a member of the committee in charge of weeks like this – getting the word out through aea365. The purpose of this tip is to update you on what has been done thus far and share lessons learned from our process for this committee. It is also to remind everyone of the essence of Samuel Coleridge’s sentiment and its potential application in seemingly unrelated areas, like aea365 area- or concept-focused weeks.

Thus far, we have completed two series of tips – one week last summer and another week following Evaluation 2012. In our first series, we focused on lessons learned in our focus areas, including practice, education and training, policy, resources, and conferences. The second series provided updates on ways the group has disseminated the contents of the statement through conference presentations. Both weeks were received well.

The aea365 committee has learned some critical lessons in getting the word out through this venue. These lessons can also apply to the concept and application of cultural competence in evaluation.

Lessons Learned and Hot Tips:

1)     Have unity in variety. The power of having aea365 tip weeks focused on certain areas is that we have a week to provide 6 different vantage points on a certain area or from a particular group. Offering and appreciating these different perspectives is essential in learning, teaching, and progressing on the journey of cultural competence. In having a week, we have been able to focus more deeply on cultural competence while also discussing the multiple areas it can be applied and integrated.

2)     Acknowledge and appreciate the diverse and inherent talent within a group. We have 11 members in this Workgroup. We are diverse, including various ethnicities, nationalities, religions, disciplines, interests, and talents. One of the most beautiful lessons I have been reminded of through this work is that there are inherent strengths in each person. When individuals are given the opportunity to creatively express, those strengths can be evident. Furthermore, when diverse people are given the opportunity to share their perspective on a common topic in a common space, there is potential for synergy and greater power in the word and movement.

Rad Resource: In the book Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses three different types of people and the power their natural inclinations can have in significantly changing a situation and shifting the circumstances of a community.

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.


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