RoE TIG Week with EvaluATE: Defining and Measuring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by Ayesha Boyce and Tiffany Tovey

Hello! We are Ayesha Boyce (Arizona State University) and Tiffany Tovey (UNC Greensboro). This year, we’ve been working with Ph.D. students Jeremy Acree (UNCG), Onyinyechukwu Onwuka (UNCG), and Neelakshi Tewari (ASU) to investigate the feasibility of measuring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) ATE program using indicators recommended by the National Academies of Science (NAS).

We began our study three years ago by surveying ATE PIs and evaluators to understand their perceptions and experiences with defining, attending to, and measuring DEI efforts in their work. Most recently, we’ve conducted semi-structured interviews with nine PIs and ten evaluators from ATE to understand what conditions exist in the ATE context (community colleges) that impede or facilitate the collection of sound data on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Our findings include:

  • Insights about how PIs and evaluators define diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Paradigmatic discrepancies between the NAS indicators and evaluators’ approaches.
  • A need, among PIs, for the preparation, time, and/or resources to collect and analyze meaningful DEI data.
  • A need, within the program, for clearer communication about expectations regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion¾and guidelines for measuring and assessing them.

An article sharing our findings was recently accepted by the American Journal of Evaluation. For now, here are some research-on-evaluation and DEI tips we’d like to share:

Hot Tips:

  • For your research: Research is only as good as the action that comes from it. We are working on developing case studies with ATE projects using design-based research that will directly influence EvaluATE’s practices around DEI. Focus on bridging theory and practice in your research on evaluation.
  • For your DEI work: When engaging with DEI, consider your own values, prejudices, and identities, and be prepared to have critical formal and informal discussions with clients and stakeholders.
  • More for your DEI work: Engaging in reflective practice is essential in DEI and social justice work. See here and here for more on reflective practice.
  • On our findings: For more on our findings, explore this webinar and this report. And check this page for future publications.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Research on Evaluation (ROE) Topical Interest Group Week. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our ROE 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@eval.org. AEA365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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