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MSI Fellowship Week: Tamara Bertrand Jones on Experiencing a Year as a Minority Serving Institution Initiative (MSI) Fellow

My name is Tamara Bertrand Jones and I am an Assistant Professor at Florida State University.

During the MSI Fellows program I evaluated an international professional development program for faculty and K-12 teachers. The program developers had designed the evaluation component and it was subsequently approved with the rest of the proposal by the funding agency. My involvement as the evaluator came after the program’s approval. Prior to this experience, I had been included in the design of the evaluation prior to its approval by the funder. So, coming in after the approval taught me a few lessons.

Lesson Learned: Involvement in program development and design is a luxury not all evaluators are afforded.

Lesson Learned: Implementing innovative evaluation tools requires additional time, planning, and most importantly piloting.   In this evaluation I used iPad applications, photos, and journaling to gather data, in addition to traditional surveys.

Lesson Learned: Utilizing multiple technology applications can ease the difficulty of virtual data collection. Throughout the month of international travel participants had several journals to submit. Participants had access to an iPad with several apps pre-downloaded to help with data collection, including Pages, Dropbox, and Shutterfly Photo Story.

Hot Tip: Incorporate photos in your evaluation! Techniques like Photo Voice or Photo Elicitation use photos to add layers and nuances to evaluation findings. Learn more about them and ways these tools can improve your evaluation.   

Rad Resource: Shutterfly PhotoStory

During the evaluation, participants created visual stories of their experience using pictures and narrative they had written. The photo books not only served as evaluation data, but were also personal mementos of the participants’ trip.

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: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=230 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “MSI Fellowship Week: Tamara Bertrand Jones on Experiencing a Year as a Minority Serving Institution Initiative (MSI) Fellow”

  1. Michelle Chandrasekhar

    Thank you Tamara! I like these ideas for helping participants to collect, and understand via their personal relationship to the information, various types of evaluation data! I think we forget sometimes that structured logs or records (formatted and defined in advance so that they are almost ‘fill in the blanks’) can be very useful. A little (ok, a lot!) of upfront planning and training can result in some awesome products! So – are you building a new app for that? 🙂

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