Oregon Evaluators Week: Advancing a Responsive Evaluation Learning Community by Chris Cartwright & Karyl Askew

Hi, I am Chris Cartwright, an independent consultant specializing in assessing intercultural competence and global inclusive leadership. And I am Karyl Askew, an independent program evaluation consultant specializing in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation. We are members of the Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN), a local AEA affiliate.

Along with Kari Greene, Sam Mehoke, and Nelda Reyes, we serve on the OPEN Responsive Evaluation workgroup. We have been working together for 18 months and have organized two sessions. The first session used a carousel graffiti exercise and pair-share discussions to surface what local practitioners needed to learn, discuss, and understand to feel more equipped, confident, mindful, resourceful, empowered, and effective at serving our community. Building from the ideas that surfaced in the first session, the second session (focused on an introduction to culturally responsive equitable evaluation) was the first in series of conversations intended to cultivate a learning community focused on equity in evaluation.

During this moment in history, the evaluator’s roles seem so crucial and our group is advancing conversation about how we evolve as a profession, as professionals, and to what end. Our group is brainstorming ways to lean in as a virtual learning community. However, we are aware of the challenges that online spaces pose for engaging in vulnerable conversations. Two virtual sessions are being planned for this fall and will make use of Zoom’s breakout room capability to create small virtual learning circles around topics identified by attendees at the start of each gathering focused on equity, COVID, and evaluation.

Hot Tip: There are some many free online tools that can make virtual spaces feel inviting and engaging. Checkout Session Labs’ list of 25 useful free online tools for workshop planning and meeting facilitation and sign up for their free email course on remote workshops to unleash your creativity.

Rad Resource: We were fortunate to attend a National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) 2019 workshop in Portland facilitated by Dr. Hazel Symonette. Here is a link to Dr. Symonette’s Calibrating and Cultivating An Integral Evaluator-Self As Responsive Instrument Model, one of the many resources we found particularly useful for thinking about practitioners show up at our “evaluator best” given our read of what the context summons. At the heart of Dr. Symonette’s model is evaluator self-care, which all evaluators need in these times. Namaste!

This week, AEA365 is featuring posts from evaluators in Oregon. Since Evaluation 2020 was moved from Portland, OR to online, a generous group of Oregon evaluators got together to offer content on a variety of topics relevant to evaluators. 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.

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