MVE TIG Week: Stanley Capela on Tips for Evaluating Military Programs

My name is Stanley Capela. I am the VP for Quality Management for HeartShare Human Services of New York. In addition, I am a military peer reviewer for a nation accreditation organization where I have had the opportunity for participating on reviews for military family readiness programs as well as after school programs on military bases throughout the United States as well as military bases in Germany, Japan and Guam. The purpose of this AEA 365 is to share some tips that I have learned doing these reviews on how best to evaluate military programs.

As a military reviewer I had to undergo training to make sure I have a good understanding on how to approach these reviews. My comments will be based on my experiences as well as what I learned participating in training programs to prepare me for these reviews.

Lesson Learned: First, hierarchy is very important in the military. One key is to be sensitive to their respect for hierarchy and anticipate how you may address this. For example when doing entrance and exit conferences you may see others stand as a higher ranking officer enters the room.

Second, the military has a language that is part of their culture. Therefore, it is important to understand the high usage of acronyms.

Third, their use of various terms such as the use of customers versus clients; staff instead of personnel, service member instead of soldier/sailor or Marine; In-Briefing instead of Entrance Meeting; Cusomer File Review instead of Consumer Record Review.

Fourth, when conducting interviews, it is good to start by letting them know who you are and why you are there. If in my case when doing a review we try to let them know about the accrediting organization and why they are being interview.

Fifth, make sure you stick to a schedule; let people know there may be follow up schedules, avoid casual conversations and if there are people you want to interview outside of the original schedule it is kept to a minimum.

Sixth, when interviewing customers who are veterans, it is important to use the following guidelines: be understanding; be an active listener; listen with empathy, but minimize sympathy; and provide background and context to your interview questions.

These are some tips that I have learned over time.

Rad Resource: If you want to learn more I would suggest looking at the Council on Accreditation website to learn more about the standards as well as opportunities to possibly become a military reviewer. It has been a very valuable experience and I gained a great deal of knowledge enhancing my evaluation skills.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MVE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Military and Veteran’s Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MVE TIG members. 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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