MSI Fellowship Week: Denise Gaither-Hardy on Experiencing a Year as a Minority Serving Institution Initiative (MSI) Fellow

My name is Denise Gaither-Hardy. I am an Assistant Professor at The Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

I want to share a few thoughts about my experience as a member of American Evaluation Association (AEA) and Minority Serving Institution Fellow (MSI) during the past year. My five member cohort was led by Art Hernandez, Professor and Dean of the College of Education at Texas A&M University and my individual mentor was Kevin Favor, Professor at Lincoln University and both are former MSI fellows.

This Fellowship has offered me an opportunity to acquire and enhance evaluation skills while becoming a member of an organization that continues to provide me with future opportunities needed to advance my career.

I have been fortunate that some of the skills I have refined and acquired are as follows:

  • the art of survey development, which is truly is an art
  • the theoretical understanding of culturally responsive evaluation and the need to increase awareness and advancement
  • the utility of logic models in evaluation

Rad Resource: Susan Kistler on Lessons Learned Using Online Survey SoftwareGo to the AEA website and read more about Dr. Kistler and her work on survey design and development at AEA.

Rad Resource:  Stafford Hood, Rodney Hopson, & Henry Frierson’s book on culturally responsive evaluation, The Role of Culture and Cultural Context – A Mandate for the Inclusion, the Discovery of Truth and Understanding in Evaluative Theory and Practice. Read more about cultural responsive evaluation at the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment.

Rad Resource: Thomas Chapel is the Chief Evaluation Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He serves as a central resource on strategic planning and program evaluation for CDC programs and their partners. He is a frequent presenter at national meetings, a frequent contributor to edited volumes and monographs on evaluation, and has facilitated or served on numerous expert panels on public health and evaluation topics. Go to the AEA website and read more about Dr. Chapel and his work on logic models.

Lesson Learned: The profession of evaluation has increasingly become recognized as essential in both the private and public sectors. Training is critical and empowering. The MSI Initiative allows you to put into context components like culture and equality, while giving enough room for self-exploration. You will inherently develop and/or refine technical skills which most assuredly will include theory and methodology.

Hot Tip: No matter how often you attend workshops and speak with colleagues there is always something new to be learned. The program evaluation skills and competencies that can be learned through AEA will not only benefit you, but students, faculty and administration at your home institution.

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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