We are alumna of the AEA’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program’s 13th cohort. Today’s hot tips are reflections on the importance of increasing an organization’s capacity to conduct equitable evaluations across all the stages of an evaluation. Here, we will share three tips that we learned while working at our GEDI sites.
Hot Tip #1 (Leah, Doctoral Student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign): Develop and utilize critical consciousness to fill the gaps. At my GEDI site, diversity, inclusion and engagement are prioritized in the organization. In developing a measure to capture progress toward this goal, we realized that peer-reviewed research supporting equitable and culturally responsive measures are limited. Most research focuses on staff diversity and work culture but does not account for the various ways spaces can be meaningfully diverse or how people can be included and engaged. One way to address the gap is by increasing critical consciousness, explained by Paulo Freire as “the ability to perceive social, political, and economic oppression and to take action against the oppressive elements of society.” We can then critically analyze the cultural validity of our instruments.
Hot Tip #2 (Monique, Doctoral Candidate at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee): Make sure reflection is the center of culturally responsive evaluation. During my GEDI experience, I worked with organizations addressing population health outcomes in historically marginalized communities. Following trainings debriefing with program leadership, we concluded that program staff and leadership needed a better understanding of how important reflection is to the culturally responsive evaluation framework. With my site supervisor we conducted a presentation called Tools You Can Use: Program Evaluation for a state foundation’s annual grantee forum. I revised the framework presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Rodney Hopson on AEA365 to develop The Reflective Flower. This graphic, shown below, centers reflection on the part of the evaluator and key stakeholders. Print this graphic as a reminder to your team and stakeholders of HOW TO BLOOM USING CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE EVALUATION.
Hot Tip #3 (Ibukun, Doctoral Student at Cornell University): Leaders should explicitly commit to culturally responsive evaluation. At my GEDI site, health equity is the organization’s main mission. To assess the organization’s impact on health equity in the community, it is crucial that leaders stay reflective and knowledgeable on health-specific culturally responsive evaluation. The foundation can influence health equity through setting grant project requirements. It is not enough for organizations’ stances and staff members to be committed to CRE; the leaders must also be supportive of these efforts. Ultimately, foundations’ leaders have the unique ability to tackle these issues through their grant-making, as they hold positions of power and have the potential to influence systemic change.
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: http://www.eval.org/GEDI 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.