GEDI Week: Kristin Mendoza on Organizational Culture and Practice

Hello from D.C.! My name is Kristin Mendoza, an alumna of the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program 2014-15 cohort. I am a recent MPH graduate from George Washington University and I am excited to share with you my experience as a GEDI at the Office of Science Planning and Assessment (OSPA) at the National Cancer Institute. OSPA serves as evaluation, assessment and strategic planning consultants across the institute.

As a GEDI scholar I worked on the Program Assessment Branch on a number of projects. I also had the unique opportunity to work at NCI with another GEDI. It was an incredibly enriching experience and the training provided by AEA continues to drive my professional development today.

Helpful Hint #1: Always, always engage your stakeholders. In some cases, the evaluator’s role also includes sitting down with your stakeholders/clients and identifying the priority focus areas. Evaluators will be constrained by budget, resources, time, etc. and it is important to maintain the quality of the work as best as they can. Communicating with your stakeholders will help mitigate any set backs due to resource constraints.

Helpful Hint #2: Culturally responsive evaluation is defined in many ways and it is important to assess how your work environment, office or organization practices it.

Helpful Hint #3: Flexibility is key. Conducting an evaluation may introduce desired or undesirable results/findings. It is important for the work plan to be flexible, to communicate with the client when things come up and to identify ways to further explore surprising results/findings.

Rad Resource for New Evaluators: The evaluation theory tree originally presented by Dr. Christina Christie and Dr. Marvin Alkin currently at the University of California, Los Angeles. There are many versions of the tree that have come after their original publication. This resource helps new evaluators understand and visually see the different evaluation theories in existence as well as the practitioners. It definitely helped put things in perspective for me.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s GEDI Program and its interns. For more information on GEDI, see their webpage here: 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.

2 thoughts on “GEDI Week: Kristin Mendoza on Organizational Culture and Practice”

  1. Andrea Orantes Duran

    Sorry. I just realized the article was written by Kristin Mendoza and posted by Sheila.

    Andrea Orantes

  2. Andrea Orantes Duran

    Hi Sheila,

    I am a GDPI student at Queen’s University and one of our class assignments is to respond to an article on AEA365. I have chosen to respond to yours as you have given helpful hints that are applicable to my current work context. I find your Helpful Hint #2 especially useful as you talk about culturally responsive evaluations. This hint connects to an idea that was brought up in one of our readings in the course which raised the question Who is responsible for action to be taken after the evaluation? The stakeholders or the evaluator? As you speak about culturally responsive evaluations, I think for an evaluator to conduct an evolution which could be used by stakeholders they first need to understand the cultural context they are working within. The context will give perspective about why and how a program is being evaluated, and what are the realistic changes that can be made.

    I read some other blogs about culturally responsive evaluations on the AEA365 website and found the blog LA RED TIG Week: Wanda Casillas Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) and Diverse Latino Communities by Sheila Robinson. I believe this quote sums up how we can use culturally responsive evaluations “We need a way of thinking about evaluation that is adaptable among contexts but prescriptive enough to be helpful in practice.” I think this statement brings together the study and science of evaluation practice while respecting and honouring the people we work with.

    Andrea Orantes

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