Greetings! I’m Rose Hennessy, Adjunct Professor in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare and a Doctoral Student at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, both at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In teaching Program Evaluation to MSW students, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Jennifer Grove and Mo Lewis at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).
In the short duration of a semester, it can be difficult to provide students the opportunity to practice engaging with stakeholders and translate evaluation findings. In conjunction with NSVRC staff, we proactively identified recent research articles of interest for sexual violence prevention practitioners. Busy professionals frequently do not have time or access to recent publications, but in academia we can play a role in getting current research out in digestible ways! Students are assigned articles and asked to create infographics of key themes and implications to meet stakeholder needs.
- Students learn a new technology best with hands-on learning. A free infographic program is taught to the class in a computer lab where they can learn and practice. Walking through skills step-by-step with a guided handout promotes a new skill and program.
- Assignment scaffolding models the stakeholder process. Four different assignments are used for the project, allowing for feedback, revisions, and reflection. Students review the NSVRC website for content, design, and values. They critique their article to pull content specific to the stakeholder, create and present the infographic, and use class feedback to reflect and create revisions.
- Presenting infographics allows for shared learning of evaluation concepts. Students review creative ways to share qualitative and quantitative findings, examine different study designs, discuss how to present null findings, explore various visualization options, and gain experience utilizing critical feedback from peers.
- More time is needed to promote culturally responsive evaluation. Research with diverse populations was intentionally chosen for review, but many students lack prior experience translating findings across cultures. Providing readings to assist students, setting up ground rules, and allowing more time for reflection and discussion is necessary to help students process evaluation results in a culturally-responsive manner. Conversations also highlighted the need to differentiate between collaborative approaches and culturally-responsive evaluation, and new readings have been identified for future courses.
As an instructor, a collaborative project with NSVRC provides students the opportunity for learning with real-world applications. There was high motivation for the creation of projects that can be used by a national leader in the field, and students leave the class with new skills in the translation of research, study design, visualization, and dissemination!
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