Oregon Evaluators Week: Targeting your Professional Development by Kendra Lodewick

My name is Kendra Lodewick, and I’m owner and principal of Program and Policy Insight (PPI), a federally and state-certified woman-owned small business based in Portland that provides evaluation, applied research, technical assistance and capacity building services to community organizations, program funders, and government agencies.  

Rad Resource. As a small business, I am often searching for effective ways to build my own capacity and pursue meaningful professional development. I have found the Evaluator Self-Assessment tool developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to provide a useful framework for reflection of my professional capacity and strength, and identification of growth opportunities.  

The tool is built around the CDC Framework for Evaluation in Public Health, but it is applicable to broad policy areas, such as human services, workforce development, and education, where much of my work is based. The tool provides a rubric for self-assessment in the following content areas: 

  • Foundations of the evaluation profession, such as knowledge of AEA guiding principles, awareness of diverse theories and approaches to evaluation, and familiarity with techniques for ongoing reflection of professional competence.
  • Ability to engage stakeholders in all stages of evaluation planning, implementation, and findings through accessible communication strategies, culturally competent methods, and utility-focused decisions.   
  • Ability to describe the program with appropriate descriptive tools and assessment of underlying theories of change, logic models, and contextual factors that may influence program implementation. 
  • Ability focus the evaluation design by tying the evaluation framework to program logic, drawing appropriate evaluation scope, developing robust and answerable research questions, and identifying the appropriate evaluation design based on research goals and program context. 
  • Ability to gather credible evidence through competent implementation of diverse data collection strategies, including the ability to judge data quality, develop data instruments, and shepherd data collection frameworks through appropriate review clearances. 
  • Ability to justify conclusions using diverse analysis frameworks and platforms, integrating qualitative and quantitative data sources, drawing conclusions appropriate to the data source, and involving stakeholders in the interpretation of data findings. 
  • Ability to ensure use and share lessons learned such as providing user-friendly, targeted, and varied formats to communicate data findings and integrate evaluation into program operations. 
  • Ability to manage evaluations from budgeting, staffing, monitoring, and ongoing communication with stakeholders regarding evaluation challenges and opportunities.   

The process of completing the Evaluator Self-Assessment can help individuals identify their strengths and areas for professional development, facilitating continued professional growth over time. 

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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