Where to teach a course on evaluation by Steven E. Wallis & Bernadette Wright

We’re Steven E. Wallis, PhD of FAST and Bernadette Wright, PhD of Meaningful Evidence. We recently teamed up to write Practical Mapping for Applied Research and Program Evaluation (SAGE). Based on that textbook, and our teaching experience, this post will talk about options for where to teach a course on evaluation.

There are many reasons you might want to teach a course on evaluation. You can increase your professional visibility, connect with other professionals in your local area, give back to the evaluation community, support the next generation of evaluators, and more. You can also improve your own skills. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it!

College/university

Teaching in a collegiate setting is a great way to go because the institution will list your course in its catalog, providing advertisement. Having an accredited college’s “name” behind you also provides a level of prestige.

You can start by looking on the college website. Some colleges (including community colleges and universities) have a “community education,” “adult learning,” or “extended education” program and an online form that you can fill out to propose a course. You might also look at their site to see if there are any faculty positions open.

On your own

Another option is to teach the course on your own. You will be responsible for finding classroom space, advertising, and so on. One good idea to talk with people at your local professional chapter of AEA (where you are a member… right?). Joining the AEA Topical Interest Group on Teaching of Evaluation may be especially useful. Ask colleagues about their experiences in teaching and suggestions for where you might teach.  You can learn a lot over lunch!

If you plan to go it on your own, you can limit your financial exposure by setting a deadline for learners to sign-up (and pay) for the course. If you don’t have enough people signed up to make the project worthwhile, you can cancel the event, refund the money, and cancel the reservation on the room.

The workplace

You may be able to teach a course for an organization’s staff using their facilities. For example, at a nonprofit association, evaluation association, client organization, or your own place of employment.

This way, you’re helping staff to enhance their skills so that they will be better able to understand, conduct, assist with, and manage higher quality evaluations. You’ll be leveraging your expertise to influence positive change in your client organizations.

Hot Tips:

  • Look around to see what kinds of courses already exist – and think what you might teach to compliment those
  • Talk with experts in your area to find out what has worked in the past
  • Find out what local leaders want

What are your ideas and tips for where to teach evaluation? What has worked for you? Please share your thoughts below.

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.

2 thoughts on “Where to teach a course on evaluation by Steven E. Wallis & Bernadette Wright”

  1. Charlotte Newman

    Great post – thank you Steven and Bernadette! To add to your list of ideas – here at the Atlanta-area Evaluation Association (a local AEA affiliate organization) we lead an annual series of free and low-cost evaluation trainings for community nonprofits. Not only is it a great way for evaluators to gain exposure and get experience teaching, it’s also extremely gratifying!

    1. Charlotte – thank you for the excellent suggestion – and the reminder that the personal gratification is key. That feeling of satisfaction that comes from teaching, empowering people to go out into the world and make it a better place, is nothing short of wonderful.

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