THE WISCONSIN IDEA IN ACTION: AEA-GEDI finds a home at the LEAD Center by Kimberly Kile

Warm wishes from wonderful Wisconsin! I’m Kimberly Kile, Project Manager for the LEAD Center, housed within WCER at the University of Wisconsin. The LEAD Center is comprised of professional staff who conduct program evaluation within and about higher education both locally and nationally. I had the opportunity to take a leading role in developing our center as a host site for an intern through the American Evaluation Association’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship (AEA GEDI) program. This post will share some hot tips and lessons learned in becoming a host site.

The host site information on the AEA GEDI website identifies the site’s responsibilities, as well as the roles of the intern’s mentor. Once we reviewed these materials and knew that we were able to meet these expectations, we moved forward with the application.

Concurrently, we identified a potential project for the intern to work on. It was important to us to have a project that could be started and completed within the internship timeline (Sept through June). We also wanted the intern to see the entire process of an evaluation project, from the planning stages through an end product.

Hot Tip:

Consider finding a partner or project to share the cost of hosting an intern. In our case, our center paid the GEDI’s salary and benefits, while the project paid for the GEDI’s professional development expenses. Be sure to work closely with your financial folks to work out all the payment details.

Hot Tip:

Because of the tight timeline, in our case, we included a note in the application that funding for the position was still pending. There is no financial obligation unless you select an intern.

Lesson Learned:

AEA reviews the applications and then forwards potential GEDI applicants to each host site. Because travel can be a significant financial burden to graduate students, we offered interviews both in-person and via Skype.

Lesson Learned:

The interview window is set by the GEDI program so the sites have little flexibility related to the interview schedule. We blocked a couple of half-days within the interview window to be sure all interviewers could participate. This occurs in summer and vacations can conflict with interviews. If you partner with someone to share the cost (like we did), be sure to invite the partner to participate in the interviews. We also blocked an hour or so of time after all the interviews, so that all interviewers could discuss the applicants and everyone could make a decision together.

The LEAD Center had a delightful experience as an AEA GEDI host site. The GEDI at our site brought fresh ideas to our staff. We would highly recommend others consider hosting an AEA GEDI!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating The Wisconsin Idea in Action Week coordinated by the LEAD Center. The LEAD (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination) Center is housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison and advances the quality of teaching and learning by evaluating the effectiveness and impact of educational innovations, policies, and practices within higher education. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from student and adult evaluators living in and practicing evaluation from the state of WI. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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