Hi! Karla Mendez and Alina Taniuchi here. We’re Change Specialists at Change Matrix and Expanding the Bench™ (ETB) team members. ETB is an initiative based on the fundamental belief that increasing diversity in the field of evaluation improves our knowledge base and makes for better science and social innovation. On behalf of the ETB Family, we welcome you to our series of blogs on culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE).
CREE requires the integration of diversity, inclusion, and equity in all phases of evaluation. Working closely with allies, we have come to define CREE as an approach that incorporates cultural, structural, and contextual factors (e.g., historical, social, economic, racial, ethnic, gender) using a participatory process that shifts power to individuals most impacted. CREE is not just one method of evaluation; it is an approach that should be infused into all evaluation methodologies. CREE advances equity by informing strategy, program improvement, decision-making, policy formation, and social change.
Evaluators are Storytellers
We partner with communities to give voice to successes and challenges through data and evidence. CREE elevates and produces better evaluation because it provides a deeper understanding of lived experience.
As storytellers, evaluators must recognize their own biases and the unique perspectives they bring into the work. There is a legacy of injustice in the US and other places that has disproportionately impacted certain populations or communities, perpetuating disparities and sustaining imbalances in power.
CREE seeks to dismantle such historical and ongoing tactics of oppression by imploring the field to look critically at its people and practice. Think of all the perspectives and voices that have been excluded and/or are missing from the field – all those stories being left untold or misrepresented. By diversifying the field, the accuracy, rigor, and validity of evaluation designs, approaches, measurement tools, products, and community stories become stronger. Improving the effectiveness of evaluation should be every evaluator’s goal!
The following blog series speaks to the importance of diversity in the evaluation field through CREE. You will hear from members of our Expanding the Bench initiative, including the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network and the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program around:
- How CREE supports better evaluation;
- What CREE looks like in practice;
- How to address challenges in applying a CREE approach; and
- The value of CREE to funders of evaluation.
Hot Tip: As you further explore CREE, ask yourself: “How does my lived experience alter the lens through which I practice evaluation?”
- Culturally Responsive Evaluation, Theory, Practice and Future Implications
- Eyes on the Prize: Multicultural Validity and Evaluation Theory
- Transformative Mixed Methods: Addressing Inequities
This week, we’re diving into issues of Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation (CREE) with contributions from members of the Expanding the Bench Initiative (ETB). ETB is an initiative based on the fundamental belief that increasing diversity in the field of evaluation improves our knowledge base and makes for better science and social innovation. 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.