Hello! My name is Libby Smith, I work at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where I am fortunate enough to work in evaluation in multiple capacities. Today I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned from being a member of ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! First, Nicole Robinson and the rest of the executive board are tireless promoters of our mission both in and outside of our state. They have truly taught me the value of building connections across long distances and being part of a network that shares a common goal. Second, I have learned that infusing social justice into my work is not optional or occasional.
From participating in webinars on using racial equity in evaluation to participating in last spring’s Social Justice and Evaluation Conference, the professional development I have received as a member has been consistent, effective, and incredibly valuable to my growth as an evaluator. I was honored to be asked to present an Eval 101 session at the spring conference, but the lessons learned through listening to the people who attended my session were incredibly valuable. The organization’s commitment to promoting social justice within evaluation sets it apart from the other groups that I belong to.
My connection to ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! led to the most professionally satisfying work of my career. In 2015, I began collaborating with the Annie E. Casey Foundation as they established the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) program, an effort to increase the number of underrepresented evaluators of color, a mission directly aligned with our goals. Through our Graduate Certificate in Evaluation Studies, we provide evaluation training to the early-career scholars in the LEEAD program. I am so proud of the work that we are doing, knowing that we are exponentially expanding our ability to bring change to the field of evaluation and to the communities we work in as evaluators.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! Week with our colleagues in the Wisconsin statewide AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! 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.