MSI Fellowship Week: Reflections of an AEA MSI Fellow by Cynthia Gonzalez

Hi, I’m Cynthia Gonzalez, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Public Health and Associate Director in the Division of Community Engagement at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). At CDU, I am able to teach courses in public health, community engagement, health disparities, and health equity, while also running a community assessment and youth program in Watts, my hometown. My Mexican-American heritage and upbringing in Watts have influenced my interest in community engaged research and program development that is inclusive, mindful, and integral.

As a participant in the AEA MSI Fellowship, I was exposed to the resources and opportunities offered via the American Evaluation Association, while networking with fellows and experts in the field. More importantly, as a public health professor, program planning and evaluation are essential and at the core of our curriculum and practice. As such, my participation in this fellowship also ensured I extend my knowledge and improve my practice, in the classroom and as I apply it in the field.

Activities as a Fellow

  • Learn about evaluation as a profession and the various ways to include equity, diversity, and inclusion in my own program development. Through this, the community assessment and youth program I have grown to develop will now include improved metrics for survey development and positive youth development, respectively.
  • Co-present with two fellows a workshop entitled “Promising Practices at Minority Serving Institutions: Incorporating Program Evaluation Training Across Course Curricula” at the AEA Conference.
  • Co-present with all 2018 AEA MSI Fellows at the AEA Conference, a workshop entitled, Teaching Culturally Responsive Evaluation: Theory, Practice, & Reflections
  • Incorporate Positive Youth Development as a framework in my community engagement course
  • Incorporate culturally responsive evaluation in my health disparities course

Lessons Learned:

  • Culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) as a framework within the practice of evaluation
  • A single approach to evaluation is ineffective when addressing diversity and culture; it requires foundational and applied training through mindful practice
  • Course curricula should include CRE framework training within an introduction of general evaluation
  • Student training must begin in the classroom, continue in applied learning, and follow a culturally responsive framework across an academic degree program

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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