MSI Fellowship Week: Art Hernandez on AEA’s Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience

My name is Art Hernandez and I am a Professor and Dean at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi.

I participated in one of the very early yearlong experiences as a Fellow and have served as the Director for several cohorts.   I have served as evaluator and teacher or evaluation and am very interested in the processes of cultural competence in practice.

Lesson Learned: As part of my experience and exploration I have determined that cultural competence is a matter of process rather than product the dangers associated with assumptions related to determining competence.

Hot Tip: (Self-Reflection Guide)

  • Self awareness and a clear understanding of the potential of personal beliefs, values and perspectives to influence decision making especially in regards to the current focus of evaluation. This self-assessment must begin before the evaluation enterprise is begun and extend throughout.
  • Understanding of the purposes for which the evaluation is being conducted including the implications of roles and relationships between evaluators, evaluands, the “evaluation situated” community as a whole and the sponsors or initiators of the evaluation effort.
  • Appreciation for the language of the community, recognizing that “how” is as important as “what” people say to any interpretation of meaning.
  • Appropriateness of the methods and instruments to be used. This is in recognition of clear and obvious cultural differences related to the notion of norm as indicative of the “good” or the group as a whole, the adequacy and representativeness of sample, within culture heterogeneity and interpretation of outcomes of instrumentation.
  • Power differentials between those who initiate, implement and those who are subject to the evaluation enterprise.
  • Demography, history and religiosity are potential influences on judgments of cost, benefit, advantage and challenge.
  • Recognition that regardless of the purpose, in the end evaluation is or results in a value judgment.
  • Evaluative protocols and methods are an effort to standardize the proceedings and so to reduce “noise.” However, regardless of approach, the findings of any evaluation are “snapshots” of a dynamic process from which predictions about the current or future states are made. Resist the tendency to reify research results.
  • Non-mechanical nature of human beings and human systems. As the failure of mechanistic thinking has been demonstrated in physics, astronomy, chemistry and other “physical” sciences, it should be clear that this thinking is not likely to apply to people.
  • Attention to unintended consequences.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship Experience week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s MSI Fellows. For more information on the MSI fellowship, see this webpage: 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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