AEA GEDI 2015 Panel— Lesson Learned

Session Number: 2978
Track: AEA Sponsored Sessions
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Cultural Competence In Evaluation, evaluation education, evaluation immersion, Evaluation practice, GEDI, internship, new evaluators
Session Chair: Ashaki M. Jackson [Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI)]
Presenter 1: Danielle Cummings [NYU]
Presenter 2: Kisha Porcher [GEDI]
Presenter 3: Kristin Sachi Mendoza [National Institutes of Health]
Presenter 4: Natalia Woolley [5856 South Mansfield Ave. ]
Presenter 5: Kevin Lee
Time: Nov 13, 2015 (03:30 PM - 04:15 PM)
Room: Skyway 273

Abstract 1 Title: Context Speaks Louder than Numbers—The Role of Cultural Responsiveness in Developmental Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 1: Developmental evaluation merges principles of utilization-focused evaluation and program development, with the end goal of creating or adapting innovative programs in complex environments. Ongoing stakeholder engagement and a deep understanding of program context are central to developmental evaluation; therefore, cultural responsiveness is essential when conducting developmental evaluation in diverse contexts. As a GEDI fellow and emergent evaluator, I worked with school staff to implement, adapt, and evaluate a new attendance initiative at Harlem Children’s Zone. This presentation discusses my journey integrating culturally responsive evaluation practices—specifically, learning about the culture and values of the organization and its students from cultural insiders, cultivating myself as a culturally responsive instrument, and centering validity in culture—into each phase of this developmental evaluation. I will discuss the role the GEDI program played in enhancing my awareness of and ability to employ culturally responsive evaluation practices.
Abstract 2 Title: Navigating Different Cultures at Two Different Evaluation Sites
Presentation Abstract 2: The GEDI program provides emerging evaluators of color with the opportunity to learn about the field and develop skills in evaluation through webinars and conferences. Coupled with the webinars and conferences, GEDI provides internship sites, for the interns to implement the skills that they acquire. As an evaluator, one must learn to navigate the culture of different organizations, as well as ensuring that their organization engages in culturally responsive evaluation practices. This presentation will highlight, from a GEDI perspective, how one navigates the culture of two different evaluation sites (Education Development Center & Westat), while ensuring that culturally responsive evaluation practices are an integral aspect of the BPC-A project. It is imperative to examine different cultures of organizations to determine how to work collaboratively on a specific evaluation project. It is also imperative to examine how the two organizations ensure that their evaluation practices are culturally responsive. This presentation will highlight how the GEDI intern, navigated the two evaluation sites, as an emerging culturally responsive evaluator.
Abstract 3 Title: Culture in Evaluation & Culture of Evaluation
Presentation Abstract 3: The GEDI experience provides emerging evaluators with the skills and training not always available in the graduate curriculum. Furthermore, the GEDI experience provides real-world learning environments to translate evaluation theory into practice. Despite the lack of prioritization of culturally responsive evaluation practices among some groups, it sometimes falls on the evaluator to take on the role of not just the evaluation advocate but also as the voice culturally responsive evaluation practices. This presentation will share insights and learning from a GEDI perspective serving as an evaluator within a federal agency. Given the scope of work at the federal level, it is important to examine and consider both culture in evaluation and the culture of evaluation. Facilitating culturally responsive evaluation practices in a politically driven and financially competitive environment is challenging. This presentation will highlight the various roles taken on by a GEDI as a new evaluator, a driver for culturally responsive evaluation practices, and as an evaluation advocate.
Abstract 4 Title: Challenges and Opportunities in Including Culturally Responsive Practices into Federally Mandated Community Health Needs Assessments
Presentation Abstract 4: Non-profit hospitals are required to conduct community health needs assessments (CHNAs) every three years according to the Accountable Care Act. Furthermore, federal regulations establish broad categories of community stakeholders who must be engaged in the process as sources of primary data. At the same time, new secondary data resources such mapping tools and query-enabled data have allowed hospitals to better understand the communities they serve and improve planning of CHNAs. This presentation covers my GEDI internship experience working to create recommendations on how to leverage secondary data to ensure hospitals engage with community members in a culturally responsive manner while conducing CHNAs. Furthermore I explore the challenges of operationalizing culturally responsive practices in the context of CHNA federal regulation requirements.
Abstract 5 Title: Evaluating across Cultures—The Interplay between Organizational and Community Culture
Presentation Abstract 5: Cultural responsiveness can often be perceived as cultural competence strictly in the context of working with community stakeholders. While engaging with community needs is a critical element of culturally responsive evaluation, it is also necessary as an internal evaluator to understand how the culture of an organization shapes evaluation design and practice. Therefore, recognizing that culture is embedded in all aspects of the evaluation process is a touchstone of this presentation. This presentation focuses on my experience navigating multiple cultural contexts as a GEDI program fellow within a microfinance non-profit organization. From understanding the functionality of evaluation within a financial organization to practicing cultural responsiveness in primary data collection, I share how I situated myself within the cultural context of the organization in order to leverage a more responsive evaluation that takes into account the diverse experiences of the community.
Audience Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Session Abstract: 

The Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) scholars discuss lessons from their yearlong program, including applying, creating values about, and examining strategies that incorporate cultural competence in evaluation. The panel includes scholars’ broader thoughts about the GEDI program’s offerings (mentoring and structured deliverables) as it relates to their professional development. The scholars touch upon what works in nurturing new evaluators as a part of ongoing efforts to sustain the program and its impact on incorporating cultural competence in the field.