My name is Kari Greene, co-Chair of the LGBT Issues TIG, currently living in Sydney, Australia with a renewed sense of curiosity and excitement. Through my participation in the LGBT Issues TIG, I have had the great fortune to be involved with the Cultural Competence Statement Dissemination Workgroup. This group offers deep thinking, wise counsel and thought-provoking activities, benefiting the AEA membership as a whole in many explicit and hidden ways. And our TIG felt valued when we were sought out by the workgroup to ensure an LGBTQ perspective was included in the work.
As a queer-identified evaluator, I’ve struggled with what “diversity” and “cultural competency” really mean in my life and my work. How do we make these concepts meaningful for all of us, particularly in those spaces where we have privilege? And how do we use these concepts to shore ourselves up so we can speak (even if it’s with a wobbly voice) and use our experiences to engage actively in solutions?
Early in my work as *cough* “A Real Evaluator” (ahem), I was exposed to the importance of reflective practice, which has become a critical component for improving my evaluation practice and my way of moving through the world. I use reflective practice on formal and informal levels, exploring issues of identity, beliefs, and culture alongside “the data” I collect and generate throughout an evaluation. I have experienced and witnessed reflective practice facilitate critical learning for individuals, evaluation teams, and organizations as a whole. And as we respond to Michael Quinn Patton’s plea to position ourselves as “members of an international evaluation community,” reflective practice offers a framework for understanding our selves within that larger global community.
This isn’t easy work, but my-oh-my is it worth it. Within the LGBTQ communities there are so many perspectives, beliefs, and identities that we struggle to find a shared language…we can’t even find a shared acronym!! But the tools and concepts of reflective practice can allow us to share our culture across our diverse communities and with the international evaluation community as a whole.
Donald Schön (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action.
Fiona Gardner (2014) Being Critically Reflective: Engaging in Holistic Practice.
Marilyn Daudelin (1996) “Learning from experience through reflection” in Organizational Dynamics.
Preskill and Torres (1999) Evaluative Inquiry for Learning in Organizations.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating LGBT TIG Week with our colleagues in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our LGBT TIG members. 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.