MSI Fellowship Week: Teaching an Entry-Level Evaluation Course Incorporating Culturally Responsive Evaluation in a Professional Doctoral Program by Lu Liu

Hello! My name is Lu Liu and I am an Assistant Professor in the La Fetra College of Education at the University of La Verne.  I am faculty in the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership Program teaching research method courses and I am interested in developing evaluation courses that integrate Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) theory and practice so that these notions can be included as part of the research literacy outcomes of the program.

This is important as educational organizations like K-12 school districts or community colleges serve an increasingly diversified student population and my students, working in these settings, participate in evaluation projects assessing activity effectiveness. Per the AEA ethical guiding principles, it is the evaluator’s responsibility to be culturally competent in order to contribute to the common good and equity in organizations.  To establish that competency, formal coursework and on-going training is necessary.

I had the opportunity to review some evaluation course syllabi for our group project because of my engagement in the Minority-Serving Institution Program of the AEA. For the project, we investigated the teaching of culturally responsive evaluation through theorical and practical lenses and reported our findings at the 2018 annual conference.

Lesson Learned: 

Recognizing the incorporation of the CRE in evaluation is a coherent process – the process starts from the beginning (e.g. preparing for the evaluation) and continues to the end (e.g. results dissemination). From the curriculum design perspective, it is critical to recognize the CRE throughout the whole course as well. In particular, it is important to list CRE as part of the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), then add course readings that specifically discuss the theoretical foundations and practices in CRE, assign activities which help the students translate the concepts in the readings to real-life experiences, and engage students in self-reflections and discussions. To make the learning meaningful, it’s important to structure the course with hands-on practices and activities which take into consideration contextual factors, stakeholders, evaluation purposes, culturally relevant data collection and analysis methods, findings sharing, etc. It is also helpful if some culture and diversity courses are offered in a program so that the students can draw theories and practices from them as well.

Rad Resources: Some good starting point references include:

The AEA 365 blog list is a great resource for ideas, practices and resources related to CRE.

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.


4 thoughts on “MSI Fellowship Week: Teaching an Entry-Level Evaluation Course Incorporating Culturally Responsive Evaluation in a Professional Doctoral Program by Lu Liu”

  1. I agree and think it is relevant, that the culturally responsive evaluation process should start from the beginning to the end. I find that culturally relevant data is important for the social programs that service minorities. Than you for contributing to culture diversity awareness when evaluating.

  2. Good Morning,

    I am new to learning about the evaluation field as a move through my Masters in Education, but as a teacher it has been welcome to learn that being culturally responsive when evaluating is a part of the learning process for evaluators. As a teacher relatively new to my school (5 years), and in a remote part of Northern Canada I have heard a lot of stories from colleagues in the region about how evaluation in the past was not productive. This is a complaint not limited to program and policy evaluation either. The complaints have been leveled about educational physiology evaluations, standardized testing, speech language experts and the list goes on. In small communities there is a great deal of inherent distrust of outside siders to being with. Evaluators who take the time to learn about the community to gain an understanding of the culture and who have training in being culturally sensitive and responsive get a lot farther and can provide small communities like the one I am in with much more reality based recommendations. As I learn more about the field of evaluation and realize how much it can impact my day to day practice I am encouraged to learn that being culturally responsive is in the consciousness of other fields. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Thank you,

  3. Hello Lu Liu,
    I am a University Educator from Canada. We have a greatly diversified student body, with domestic students and an ever-growing international student body. CRE is a topic that I believe we’re not putting enough emphasis on when creating our evaluation tools. We constantly create/post the same methods of evaluation, without considering what inclusions we need to be making, that will allow for stronger effectiveness of cultural backgrounds and experiences.
    I agree with you, recognizing the importance of CRE in evaluation is a coherent process. It’s important that we consider this from the very beginning.
    The tools you have listed are very effective, especially the checklists from the University of Western Michigan. I wonder if you have any suggestions or links to evaluations that have used CRE effectively and provide examples of when this was added and not added. It would be interesting to see what changes were exactly made, and the impact that this has had on effective education.
    Thank you again for an interesting post,

  4. Hello Lu Liu,

    Very interesting blog post. Great resources and additions to be reviewed. I am curious if you have any suggestions (outside of the checklists) and myself being culturally competent, on how to best practice creating CRE’s, prior to actual times when you will create these. Are there any you have done, that you think are worth sharing, so I can see the inclusion of cultural competence in the evaluation, compared to when it was not considered?

    Thank you for your time to respond. Kate

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