Labor Day Week: Rodney Hopson: Teacher, Mentor, Learner by Nora Murphy Johnson

I’m Nora Murphy Johnson, co-curator of this week’s posts. I’m honored to be highlighting Rodney Hopson who received the Robert Ingle Service Award in 2010 for his leadership on diversity issues and for his role in developing the AEA’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship program (GEDI). Two of his former students to share what his service and stewardship has meant to them.


Akashi Kaul, a PhD candidate, in Education Policy at George Mason University shares:


The true value of Dr.H’s work – to evaluation, education, academia or any other field – is his ability and will to share that knowledge, to mentor those who come after him. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think that’s what matters to him most – his students and mentees. At the heart of it, he’s a teacher. From seeing him mentor undergrad students from minority populations at our university – who had no contact with because he only taught at a graduate level – to seeing him create programs and structures like the GEDI program that create supportive structures for students – he truly tries to serve the community in the best way he can. In terms of the greater field of evaluation, he serves as a critical voice that questions. He always encouraged me to question and voice my opinion, whether he agreed with it or not. He pushes the field to be better by learning from itself and questioning things that we as evaluators take for granted. And isn’t that what evaluation is all about? Learning.


Esther C. Nolton, MEd, LAT, ATC, CSCS, a Doctoral Candidate in College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University shares:


I can think of no other person who has had a greater impact on my career than Dr. Rodney Hopson, bar none. I have been fortunate enough to engage with Rodney through three of his many professional roles (i.e. as a professor at George Mason University; Co-Director of the GEDI Program; and Co-Chair of my dissertation committee). When I first met Rodney, I was completely ignorant of his impact on the evaluation field—and mostly because humility is one of Rodney’s greatest talents. I only discovered his reputation with each time I mentioned that I was a student at George Mason University within evaluation spaces and, “Do you know Rodney Hopson?” was always the question that followed. My affirmative response is always met with, “I LOVE Rodney!!!” and warm smiles. Behind those exuberant remarks and smiles, I know from experience, are wonderful stories of how Rodney’s stewardship to his profession, students, and colleagues have touched people’s lives.

Rad Resource: Learn more about the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI).

Rad Resource: Experience Dr. Hopson’s voice, energy, and perspective in his spoken-word piece, “The Revolution Will Not Be Evaluated: An ode to Gil Scot-Heron, Michael Scriven, and the future of evaluation.”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Labor Day Week in Evaluation: Honoring and appreciating those who have labored on behalf of the evaluation profession. The contributions this week are tributes to evaluators who have labored conscientiously and with distinction on behalf of the evaluation profession. 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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