What’s Your #Mosaic? by Elizabeth DiLuzio

Happy weekend! I’m Elizabeth DiLuzio, volunteer curator for AEA365. Today, I wanted to share my reflections on #mosaic, a new TIkTok trend where creators honor their roots. These short videos pay homage to the people and events that have made them who they are today through funny, thought-provoking, and touching stories. The trend got me to thinking: what makes up my evaluator mosaic? How does my mosaic compare to my fellow evaluators? And can we improve our practice by taking the time to explore each other’s mosaics?

If I were to identify the top five contributors to my evaluation practice’s mosaic, they’d be as follows:

  1. Those who taught me how to be a teacher. This includes my professors, mentors, colleagues, and students. When I changed careers a decade ago, I never imagined how much the skills I had developed in lesson planning and group facilitation would come in handy. I find much of my role as evaluator is creating a shared vision of where we want to be and then facilitating the conversations and activities that are needed to get us there. In addition, there’s a significant part of the work that requires us to share the knowledge and skills we have in order to move a project forward.
  2. Those who taught me how to be a clinician, from my professors and supervisors to my clients. The school from which I received my master’s degree is clinically focused, taking great pride in training excellent therapists. While noting the value of clinical training is not a joke at the expense of the people with whom I work, it is an acknowledgement of the value of observation, reflection, self-awareness, and analysis. Evaluation is a team sport and as such requires people skills. I’ve found that the better I get at knowing myself; reading people and group dynamics; understanding the motivations behind behaviors; and having tools for surfacing, discussing, and moving past roadblocks on the way to our goals, the better I am at my work. 
  3. Those who contributed to my love of STEM. I was groomed for this from the beginning, raised in a house with a father who worked in tech since the late 70s and a mother who majored in math. While it wasn’t an aspect of myself that I intentionally nurtured, my comfort with and passion for STEM has always been present.
  4. Those who contributed to my knowledge of the field. A special shoutout to Dr. Rachel Swaner who first introduced me to the logic model and forever changed the trajectory of my career. In one eye-opening class I found my people: fellow do-gooders with a propensity for logic and analytics. Since then, it’s been my supervisors and coworkers, fellow AEA bloggers and presenters, classmates and authors that have progressed my understanding of the art and craft of evaluation.
  5. Those who contributed to my knowledge of related fields. I’d be remiss in not acknowledging the contribution of professionals in other fields that overlap with evaluation. Those who have taken the time to teach me elements their crafts from facilitation and community organizing to data science, research, and statistics.

The mosaic pieces continue, all documenting the individuals who took the time to share with me their skills and challenged me to grow. Today, I say thank you to every one of those people.
Now it’s your turn: What makes up your evaluation mosaic? Drop me a note in the comment section below or share with us in the Evaluators’ Slack Channel. I look forward to hearing from you!

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.

1 thought on “What’s Your #Mosaic? by Elizabeth DiLuzio”

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    I am an evaluation newbie, enrolled in a Master’s course for program evaluation. I have no background in the topic, and have been slowly (and sometimes painfully 😉 ) developing my understanding and skill set. In browsing through the AEA365 site, seeking a topic that interested me, or that incited a response within me, I found your piece to be refreshing and capture my imagination. Also, you taught me about a new platform I know nothing about, so there’s that too 😉

    I have always been a big proponent of the importance of story. We are the sum of all of our parts and experiences, the people who contribute, the people who take away from us, the moments of joy and of pain, and we bring ALL of those things to different parts of our lives. I had not considered that this would also apply in the area of who we are as evaluators! My picture of who I am as an evaluator is still emerging, so I don’t know that I could pick 5 persons contributing at this particular moment in time, but it is a place for me to start looking and thinking of what that mosaic may look like for me. I feel it makes me mindful of where I am at, who is contributing to my learning, and of taking stock of current moments, that they may not be forgotten in the future.

    I particularly appreciate that you note that your overall picture as an evaluator includes so much more than evaluation itself. You have contributors in so many different areas of life. I wonder what brought you to evaluation? You note that ‘logic models changed the trajectory of my life’… I can not say that I have found the same connection to evaluation overall, but now that I have an emerging understanding of them, I can see the beauty of a logic model.

    I will put some thought into the make-up of my mosaic as a beginning evaluator. Do you have some recommendations regarding aspects I should consider in doing so? I am a middle school classroom educator with 23+ years experience. I am a generalist, I use some STEM principles, and I am taking an Indigenous focus in my Master’s program and in my classroom this next year. Because this semester is the first time I have even heard of program evaluation, I am not sure who I am yet…

    I enjoyed reading your mosaic, your story, of who you are as an evaluator… I look forward to figuring out who I am 😉

    Taleen Candy

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