Hi! We are Nicole Robinson, Laura Pinsoneault, Nicky Bowman, and Emily Connors and we’re founding members of ¡Milwaukee Evaluation!. ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! is located in Wisconsin and is a professional development and field building collaborative of Wisconsin-based evaluators. We are also the statewide AEA affiliate. Our current field building initiatives center on diverse representation among evaluation professionals and culturally responsive evaluation. Our current work is focused on identifying ways to increase both the number of evaluators of color and other underrepresented groups (e.g., low-income, LGBT, rural, youth) and the number of pathways into the field of evaluation for these evaluators.
We are kicking off that work by bringing together evaluators of color to share how they entered the field. But, so far this work is off to a slow start. We’re having a hard time identifying evaluators of color across the state and we know there aren’t that many to begin with (hence the reason why we started this work). When we committed to doing this, you could say we knew on some level this was a long-term effort and, as result, we embedded this particular issue in to our mission, vision, and values – and we established ourselves as a legal entity to have an infrastructure to create change. However, we’re dealing with a major structural challenge in the field. More established groups with greater funding and influence could make major differences and have greater impact in the time it takes for us to locate and convene a handful of evaluators of color throughout Wisconsin. We’re actually grateful for AEA because it exemplifies the power of a large mainstream organization and their effect when they take on issues like this (e.g., AEA’s GEDI program).
At our 2013 Social Justice and Evaluation Conference, we held a brainstorming session with about a dozen talented evaluators across the state and it included evaluators of color and allies. Together, we generated key priorities or “headlines” to intentionally promote the inclusion of evaluators from diverse experiences and communities. Some of our best headlines were:
- Not your Usual Suspects: ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! launches a New Emerging Evaluators Curriculum
- Meet the Graduates – The First Cycle of Emerging Evaluators
- Nontraditional Funding for Nontraditional Evaluators
- Turning Water into Wine: Transforming Evaluation Practice
- Youth Gone Wild: Youth Evaluators
- Cultivating Natural Evaluation Potential: Lay Evaluators
We’ll get there. These headlines will be a reality!
Check out the AEA GEDI PROGRAM as a resource for either getting experience with culturally responsive evaluation or recruiting evaluators who have been trained in this area.
Also check out the The Handbook of Leadership Development Evaluation edited by Kelly Hannum, Jennifer W. Martineau, Claire Reinelt
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.