Labor Day Week: Erin Bock on Honoring Nora Murphy

Hi there, I’m Erin Bock, Director of Research and Evaluation for The Sherwood Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska. I am writing to honor Nora Murphy as a leader in “Next Generation” evaluation.

Why I chose to honor this evaluator:

I met Nora while an evaluation newbie. I was struck by her “special sauce” of authenticity, passionate commitment to social justice, and deep love for people of all kinds. She is on the theoretical front lines of applying developmental evaluation to wicked problems using principles as an anchor. I was fortunate to meet her because her approach was a perfect match for the causes that Sherwood cares about. I personally have grown from our relationship.

Contributions to our field:

Nora’s contributions to our field are many…

  • The idea that initiatives can roll out their complex processes with multiple programs/agencies or levels of participation, but can find alignment and forward progress using principles is our next frontier as a field. Nora has been among the first to attempt this form of developmental evaluation. She won the “Michael Scriven Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory, Methodology, or Practice” for this work.
  • Nora and her TerraLuna Collaborative co-founders are changing the way the business of evaluation is run. TerraLuna employees are voted in and they work to “collaboratively heal our communities (and ourselves) and eliminate inequities by helping organizations create the impact to which they aspire.” (TerraLuna website)
  • In partnership with their clients, TerraLuna makes space for local diversity evaluation fellowships. This builds local capacity for evaluative thinking in the communities where collective action is taking place.

Ways to learn more about Nora’s work…

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring Evaluation’s Living Pioneers. The contributions this week are tributes to our living evaluation pioneers who have made important contributions to our field and even positive impacts on our careers as evaluators. 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.

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