My name is Susan Keskinen. I work for Ramsey County (Minnesota) Community Human Services as a Senior Program Evaluator. My evaluation projects are related to adult services and to employment related services provided to Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) participants, Minnesota’s version of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. I am also the Communications Chair for the Minnesota Evaluation Association.
I am appreciative of the effort and thought that went into creating AEA’s public statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation. Having such a statement affirms its significance and places a value on incorporating cultural competence into evaluation work. My challenge has been how to apply or integrate culturally competent practices into my evaluation work. I have searched for and found several helpful documents on the internet that take a more applied than theoretical approach to cultural competence in evaluation. Here are a few resources that I have found to be especially helpful.
The Colorado Trust, a grantmaking foundation, has two excellent documents to assist evaluators in applying culturally competent practices to their work.
- The first document, The Importance of Culture in Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Evaluators, gives suggestions about how to incorporate cultural competence into different phases of evaluation work with questions for evaluators to ask.
- The second document, The Journey Continues: Ensuring a Cross-Culturally Competent Evaluation, includes four evaluation case studies with commentaries by experts about how each evaluation could have improved its cultural competency.
Understanding styles of communication is an important part of cultural competency. A chapter from the Peace Corps Cross-Cultural Workbook on styles of communication makes distinctions between indirect and direct communication, describes nonverbal communication, and includes exercises and examples.
Twin Cities Hot Tip:
When you are in Minnesota for the AEA conference, check out the Minnesota History Center located at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul. In addition to its great exhibits and library, it has a café (open through lunch) and two museum stores. It is located near the Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Minnesota State Capitol.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Minnesota Evaluation Association (MN EA) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the MNEA AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MNEA 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.