AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



Karen Anderson on Winning a SAGE Gift Certificate With Your Cultural Competence in Evaluation Resolutions for the New Year

Hello! My name is Karen Anderson and I’m the American Evaluation Association’s Diversity Coordinator Intern. Your participation in today’s post will place you in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate from SAGE Publications!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Even if you’re not a fan of making resolutions during this time of the year I’ve got a few resources to help you reflect upon cultural competence in your evaluation practice.

Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be interested in making at least a soft resolution, via the comments section below, to make one change in your practice this year to help you along the journey of being a culturally competent evaluator.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn more about AEA’s diversity programs and initiatives last year by supporting different Working Groups and programs.

Rad Resource: AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation  affirms the significance of cultural competence in evaluation and informs the public of AEA’s expectations concerning cultural competence in the conduct of evaluation.

My favorite portion of the Statement Introduction states: “Cultural competence is a stance taken toward culture, not a discrete status or simple mastery of particular knowledge and skills.”

Rad Resource: The AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group’s Working Group had a Summer aea365 Week, providing an overview of the Statement and different contexts for application, and  a Winter aea365 Week, highlighting a few of the AEA Conference 2012 sessions that focused on cultural competence in evaluation.

At the AEA Annual Conference 2012 attendees at the  photo booth shared how they would be responsive to culture in their evaluation work:

Hot Tip: This video and more can be found on the AEA YouTube Channel

Hot Tip – New Year’s Question: How will you be responsive to culture in your evaluation practice this year? Add your responses in the comment section below to be entered into a drawing for a $50 SAGE Gift Certificate. Only one answer per person please and we’ll randomly choose one winner from all who submit a response to the question.

Happy New Year!

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.

affirms the significance of cultural competence in evaluation. It also informs the public of AEA’s expectations concerning cultural competence in the conduct of evaluation.

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  • The Journey of Culturally Competent Evaluation » Harder+Company · January 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    […] source for ideas and trends in evaluation. The AEA team decided to kick off this year with a post challenging evaluators to make a resolution “to make one change in your practice this year to […]


  • Richard Vezina · January 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    This challenge prompted a lot of discussion in our offices! At Harder+Company Community Research, we’ve had a formal working group on cultural competence in evaluation since 2003 (and have even presented on it at conferences). So we’re always trying to improve our practice. One thing we hope to do in 2013 is think more deeply about ways to address cultural competence beyond aspects of race/ethnicity and language – i.e., to develop more formal standards for how best to work with other kinds of communities we already reach, like LGBT folks, rural populations, low-income communities, people living with mental illness, etc.


  • Renee · January 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    In my work, I come across a lot of people whose culture is – shall we say – of a wealthier and perhaps more exclusive status than my own. I tend to clash with this type of person because I took this job in order to help serve underprivileged people, not to deal with people who have all that they’ve ever needed in life. However, in order to do this, I have to figure out how to effectively access people with the resources to support our work.

    My resolution is to understand that, though their culture is not what would typically be recognized as a culture needing attention, it is still a culture that has useful information and deserves my sincerity and respect. I’ll also resolve to find some readings on dealing with stakeholders like this… and wouldn’t mind suggestions, either!


  • Lynn White · January 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I resolve to be more aware of what biases or strengths my own culture and background may bring to an evaluation.


  • Amy · January 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I will engage students and youth in the conversations about equity in education, health disparities, and community change. I will continue to explore my microaggressions and raise this consciousness in others.


  • Chad Green · January 3, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I will help central office administrators from my school system build capacity for equity by institutionalizing the connections between their core values and CASEL’s social and emotional learning core competencies:


  • Cindy Crusto · January 3, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I cannot win either, but I will attend more to language. This is a big deal in the mental health field in which I am constantly reminded by family members of children with mental health difficulties and consumers to speak from a position of ability vs. disability.


  • Tamara Bertrand Jones · January 3, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I am committed to helping others think about and identify practical ways that culture can be infused in their evaluation practice. Culturally responsive evaluation is just good evaluation!


  • Karen Anderson · January 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I can’t win the contest either, but I will strive to be responsive to culture in my evaluation practice through active engagement with clients/stakeholders.

    This takes a great amount of effort, especially if you’re not focused on evaluation use or participatory methods 24/7.

    *If you check out the video you’ll get to see my funny picture at the 2012 AEA Conference!


    • Tracy W · January 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Is there somewhere that we can see all the photobooth pictures from the conference? Mine isn’t in the presentation and I’d like to see it, and get a chance to read everyone’s signs. Thanks!


  • Holly Lewandowski · January 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I resolve to speak to power, voice, and agency with my clients and the communities they serve through evaluation; knowing that funder expectations, organizational expectations, and community expectations of how an evaluation is conducted, how the results are shared, and how the results inform a program are not necessarily the same.


  • Irene Grimberg · January 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I resolve to grow in my cultural competence stance to evaluation by using methods that are culturally sound with the idiosyncrasy of the stakeholders. This implies to understand the organizational and political environment of the program and to establish relations of trust with the stakeholders.


  • Sarita Siqueiros Thornburg · January 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I aim to more effectively integrate our agency’s Race Equity Tool in my work. I will focus specifically on promoting racially inclusive collaboration and engagement of families, students, and school staff in our evaluation and data work.


  • Rebecca Dohrman · January 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I will work on being more culturally competent by listening more and harder and reading more work from authors who write about their personal struggles. I believe listening can come in the form of reading a work you otherwise would not pick up or by staying quiet and truly being present to a conversation partner.


  • Sam · January 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I know I am a geek and therefore I will only perform evaluations on programs for or by geeks where I truly understand the culture.

    I pledge that I do not plan extend into programs where my skills/methodological strengths cannot benefit the stakeholders or the evaluation. I know my limitations and do not force myself beyond them. I will not force myself onto an evaluation where there is not a close fit or possibility of understanding the context.


  • Laura Pryor · January 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I resolve to make personal written reflection a regular part of my evaluation practice. These reflections will include thoughts about the ways in which I am demonstrating cultural competence, how I can be more culturally responsive, and my own evolving definition about what it means to be culturally competent.


  • David Onder · January 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I resolve to grow in my cultural understandings, seeing each person as unique and seeing them from all possible perspectives, regardless of my agreement with those perspectives.


  • Jennifer · January 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    When I create and edit my research questions and discussion of results, I will try to put myself in the shoes of each stakeholder to improve my response to culture.


  • Margaret Biggerstaff · January 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    The following statement from AEA’s Public Statement on Cultural Compentence in Evaluation resonates with my New Year’s resolution:
    “Culture not only influences groups, it also delinates boundaries and influences patterns of interaction among them. Evaluators frequently work across these boundaries.”

    I resolve to cross the boundaries being created within my organization to improve the effectiveness of internal program evaluation to increasing learning for all students.I will increase my understanding of the impact of the culture of my organization on the limitations being placed on internal program evaluation. Using an increased understanding of our cultural perspective, I will continue to build broader evaluation capacity within the organization that places value on context and complexity of improvement processes in diverse organizations that have their own unique cultures.


  • Vidhya Shanker · January 2, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I resolve to reframe what are widely considered statements of fact–static absolutes, “traits” typically phrased as deficits/ in negative terms and assumed to be intrinsic to a particular culture–as a range of fluid, dynamic (i.e., active) responses to specific economic, social, political, geographic, linguistic, etc. circumstances that is characteristic of all human (and likely other sentient) beings. I resolve to do this by paying–and calling–attention to historical and global contexts surrounding and underlying constructions of reality.


  • Bernadette Wright · January 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I added a link to AEA cultural competency resources to my website. I especially like this statement:

    “The culturally competent evaluator draws upon a wide range of evaluation theories and methods to design and carry out an evaluation that is optimally matched to the context. In constructing a model or theory of how the evaluand operates, the evaluator reflects the diverse values and perspectives of key stakeholder groups.”


  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · January 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I’m in – of course I can’t win, but I can commit.

    I hope to be more thoughtful in examining change through the lenses of diverse stakeholders and responding to what I learn in ways that attend to cultural differences.


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