an interview with Dr. Anne Farrell, Director of Research, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
For this edition of The Chicagoland Evaluator, Dr. Rafiqah Mustafaa, Evaluation Coach at Planning, Implementation, Evaluation Org interviewed Dr. Anne Farrell, Director of Research at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Below, Rafiqah shares Dr. Farrell’s valuable tips on how readers might conduct rigorous translational research and evaluation that can be useful for decision-making.
1. Deeply examine the theory of change. This is an essential component of any project because it helps the evaluator or researcher to understand the logic behind the policy or program being examined. To understand this logic, Dr. Farrell suggests asking questions like what is this program/policy trying to accomplish? And who is involved in implementation?These answers provide a realistic idea of how the program operates, the outcomes that matter, and where our work can have the most impact. Too often, measurement of implementation is ignored, making it impossible to know what components are responsible for change (or lack thereof).
2. Seek the perspectives of various stakeholders including the policy’s intended beneficiaries and frontline workers. Inquiry into the effectiveness or impact of a policy or program involves an informed, collaborative dialogue. As evaluators, we have perspectives that shape our inquiry; however, there are many things we don’t know, or can’t know, because of our particular vantage points. It is important that we understand the perspectives of the beneficiaries, frontline workers, and other stakeholders, and use those perspectives to inform our evaluation process. In particular, equity-oriented evaluation efforts need to tap the perspectives of community members and individuals who are intended to benefit from initiatives and programs.
3. Study in depth the policy and its related regulations. Policy-oriented evaluators need to understand deeply the policies of interest in order to align evaluation to inform policy. To do this, evaluators can ask questions like what are the regulations associated with this policy?And how are the intended beneficiaries affected when laws, regulations, or appropriations change? By answering these questions, evaluators are better positioned to provide insightful analyses and relevant recommendations for decision-makers.
4. Focus on collecting data that is needed and useful. Dr. Farrell shared that she has become a measurement “minimalist” as she’s evolved in her career. Very often, heads of agencies, frontline staff, and intended beneficiaries are required to collect and/or report data that is never actually used in evaluation. Policy-oriented evaluators need to have a clear understanding of the purpose of each data point. Knowing this, we can use a more intentional approach to measurement that focuses on collecting quality, useful data, and minimize demands on the individuals involved in the data collection process.
This conversation with Dr. Anne Farrell highlighted that while evaluators bring to their work a range of interests, skillsets, and approaches, it is important to consider how we can be intentional in shaping our work to maximize its utility for policy and practice.
EduDream is looking for an experienced research associate (3-5 years experience) with a passion to advance educational equity. It's a great opportunity for someone looking for flexible work hours. This can be either a part-time or consultant position.
Job posting: EduDream_ResearchAssociate_JobDescription2019_FF.pdf
Planning Implementation and Evaluation Org (PIE) provides research and evaluation leadership to non-profit organizations throughout Chicagoland. They are currently seeking a research intern to assist PIE staff in helping organizations use their own data for decision making.
If you are interested, you can view the job description and email your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2019.
The Milwaukee Evaluation association invites Chicagoland Evaluation Association members to attend its 2019
Members of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association are eligible for a reduced registration cost of $80.
Keynote Speaker: Vu Le (“voo lay”) is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Known for his no-BS approach, irreverent sense of humor, and love of unicorns, Vu has been featured in dozens, if not hundreds, of his own blog posts at NonprofitAF.com, formerly nonprofitwithballs.com.
Conference participants will also participate in several methods-based capacity building breakout sessions, network with peers across the state, and meet several emerging evaluators of color. Session abstracts will be posted soon.
Registration includes light refreshments and lunch.
The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation (IDPE) at Western Michigan University (WMU) is accepting applications for Fall 2019. The IDPE is dedicated to developing evaluation scholars and practitioners who have a deep knowledge of evaluation theory, methodology, and practice as well as superior critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
We are excited to announce that starting in Fall 2019, a limited number of associateships are available to doctoral students with a demonstrated interest in STEM education evaluation and/or research on evaluation in the 2-year college environment. These annually renewable associateships will include tuition, fees, and a stipend.
The WMU Evaluation Center is home to EvaluATE, the evaluation support center for the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. In operation since 2008, EvaluATE (www.evalu-ate.org) recently received a new five-year grant that will support two doctoral associates from the IDPE program to work on the grant. Being admitted to the IDPE program is the first step toward consideration for an EvaluATE associateship.
If you’re passionate about research on evaluation and have an interest in or experience evaluating STEM education in the 2-year college environment, we want to hear from you. Start your application today.
Applications requesting financial support, including these associateships, are due February 1, 2019. So, don’t delay.
Go to https://wmich.edu/evaluationphd/apply to access WMU’s online degree-seeking graduate application system that allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system.
Title: Principal Researcher, Youth Development
Mid-career (10+ yrs experience)
Institution: Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
Title: Data Strategist
Early career (4-5 yrs experience)
Institution: Chicago Zoological Society
Title: Program Evaluation Specialist
Early career (2+ yrs experience)
Institution: Heartland Alliance
Title: Research Associate
Early career (2+ yrs experience)
Institution: American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Title: Education - Research Assistant (Quantitative)
Institution: NORC at the University of Chicago
Title: Survey Specialist
Join us as we celebrate this one of a kind, first in the nation Masters level program which focuses strictly on Human Services Management/Leadership.
You will see how National Louis University is working with Human Services leaders in Illinois to ensure our managers/leaders are gaining systems understanding, financial intelligence, performance measurement skills and a multi-dimensional understanding of the persons being served under each of the Human Service sectors.
When: Thursday, November 29, 2018 • 9:00AM - 11:30AM
Where: National Louis University • 122 S. Michigan Ave • Chicago, IL
AT THIS INFORMATIVE EVENT YOU WILL:
LEARN how your organization can be a partner in changing the landscape of how leaders are being developed with respect to organizational design, stewardship, continuous improvement, and management accountability.
DISCOVER how your organization can participate in creating long-lasting solutions to the long term problems of Human Services.
FIND OUT how to address the lack of qualiﬁed, well- trained managers as well as strengthening your succession planning.
WALK AWAY with the secret ingredient for establishing a learning organization.
LEARN why values, goals, and mission are so important.
ENJOY breakfast and networking with other funders and providers.
RECEIVE a copy of the revised and re-release of the book Getting It Done Right: Pragmatic Wisdom for Human Services Managers.
ONE TIME OFFER to secure a partial scholarship to our Master's in Human Services Management degree for your organization.
This event is FREE but seating is limited.
Dear CEA Members,
The holidays are fast approaching which means it is time for CEA to plan our annual holiday event/business meeting! Every year on the second Tuesday of December we get together to hold elections and update our members on all CEA happenings in the prior year. This year, our meeting will be hosted by the Lincoln Park Zoo, courtesy of our Program Committee Co-Chair, Kathy Kiser. After the event stay and enjoy the complimentary parking to attend Zoo Lights!
Also, the position of Secretary on the CEA Executive Board is up for election this year. If you are interested in running or know someone who may be a good fit, we encourage you to fill out the Nomination Form. Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis until 11/20. Committee positions are also available on the Strategic Planning/Member Engagement Committee, Professional Development Committee, and the Communications Committee. Please reach out to us if you would like to learn more about these roles.
If you will be attending the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference October 31-November 3 in Cleveland, we are hosting a meet up on Wednesday evening at 8:05pm. We will proceed to a local Cleveland restaurant for a dutch-treat dinner and networking. If you cannot make this meet up, we have also compiled a conference schedule featuring CEA members - so you can easily identify and support your fellow Chicago evaluators at the conference.
I hope to see you soon at an upcoming CEA event! As always, please feel free to reach us at email@example.com if you have any questions or comments for CEA Leadership!
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
AIDS Foundation of Chicago,
200 W Jackson Blvd,
Suite 2100, Chicago, IL
Event Page: https://www.evalchicago.org/event-3065432
8:05 PMOutside of poster session
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Lincoln Park Zoo
On Thursday, August 30, 2018 CEA co-sponsored the EC2 Conference along with several groups from Northwestern including the Evaluation, Data Integration and Technical Assistance Program (EDIT) team, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, and Northwestern University Evaluation and Research Alliance (NU-ERA).
The day began with a welcome from Joseph Podlasek from Trickster Art Gallery. The gallery's mission is to create a unique, contemporary view of Native arts, cultural education and awareness. Podlasek and his team offered opening words, a small ceremony and blessing. It was a great reminder to be mindful of those that once occupied Chicago and the surrounding territory. The ceremony was the perfect lead into the keynote address, which was an interactive discussion centered around honoring your personal identities when conducting evaluation work. Efrain Gutierrez, the new Impact and Evaluation Manager for the Obama Foundation, was passionate and engaging. He encouraged the audience of evaluators and community members to “bring identifies forward” by “bringing our full selves to the work." He asked thought-provoking questions in order to engage the audience such as, “how or why have your identities brought you here today?”
Following the keynote, the conference convened representatives from Northwestern University, community-based organizations and the Chicago Department of Public Health for a panel. They discussed their experiences working together on comprehensive, citywide HIV prevention projects since 2015. Northwestern University took an empowerment evaluation approach to assist agencies in implementing their HIV prevention programs throughout Chicago. The panel of diverse community-based organizations shared their experiences, with most reflecting that this was their first times being involved in the monitoring and evaluation of their programs. It was clear that all partners felt this was a tremendous learning opportunity.
After lunch, the conference attendees were split into two groups to work through a few topics including: Partnership in Practice: Meeting Communities Where They Are; Empowerment vs. Extraction: Building Data Capacity in Organizations; and Comprehensive Collaboration: How Partnerships Can Help Us Address Health Disparities. To wrap up the day, attendees reconvened and shared highlights from their group discussions and ideas for action and next steps.
Thank you to the members who submitted their conference sessions. We look forward to stopping by and learning from you!
CEA presenters at AEA.pdf
Chicagoland Evaluators interested in Indigineous Evaluation are likely familiar with Nicole Bowman's work. On October 10, 2018 Dr. Bowman will lead a pre-conference workshop at the National Indian Education Association Conference.
If you are unable to attend, Dr. Bowman also shared this PDF chapter on Culturally Responsive Indigineous Evaluation: http://bpcwi.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/11.21.14-Book-Chapter-Galley-Copy.pdf
Theme: Intersectionality as Critical Inquiry, Method, and Practice: Beyond Categories and Dichotomies in Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment
HOSTED BY THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Escalating domestic and global tensions in our social, political, and economic institutions require that we acknowledge the urgency as well as imperative to expand how we conceptualize our work, so that it does not continue the perpetuation of underrepresenting the issues facing People of Color. These issues should be apparent to most, passively acknowledged by some, and indignantly ignored by others. When we frame the issues and opportunities that define our work, understanding intersectionality is essential if we are to avoid inadvertently prioritizing the needs of some over the conditions of others.
If you would like to be added to the CREA listserv for conference announcements, final call for papers, and other information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org