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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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