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Practicing at the Nexus: Culturally Responsive Evaluation, Racial Equity Analysis and Systems Evaluation - previously recorded eStudy 116

Kien Lee, Principal Associate and Vice President, Community Science
Michelle Revels, Senior Associate, Community Science
Amber Trout, Managing Associate, Community Science


As evaluators, we continue to make strides in our collective effort to be culturally responsive, while we also wrestle with our role as change agents for equity and social justice through our practice. As interventions grow and expand to deal with the complex social, cultural, environmental, and other issues contributing to widening disparities in health, education, and income, the evaluation profession has responded with methodologies such as Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE), Systems Evaluation, and most recently, Equitable Evaluation, and concepts such as multicultural validity. How do all these concepts and methodologies come together? How can we as evaluators shift and deepen our perspectives about structural racism and where do we fit in the constellation of change agents? How can we combine our lived experiences and training to have optimal impact?

This workshop is intended to create a safe space for learning and discussion about the complex and messy issues that we have to grapple with emotionally, intellectually, relationally, professionally, and contractually. In the first session of the workshop, we will share and discuss concepts about racial equity and how CRE and Systems Evaluation principles support the role of evaluation in dismantling structural racism, and promoting equity and social justice. We will use 1-2 hands-on exercises to help colleagues engage with principles and approaches described.

In the second session, we will transform the CRE and Systems Evaluation principles into actionable practice using case studies, in-depth debriefs, and peer learning techniques. The presenters will share pain points, effective practices, practical strategies, and other experiences with making these principles actionable in dynamic environments.

Learning Outcomes:
Attendees will:
  • Learn principles of racial equity and intersectional analysis, culturally-responsive evaluation, and systems principles in evaluation.
  • Learn how to apply principles that encourage systems thinking to address structural racism.
  • Lean how to apply practical strategies that address how social and organizational systems intersect to impact outcomes.
  • Have an opportunity to explore and reflect on our privilege and power as evaluators.
  • Learn about the work and experiences of peers to foster relationship-building and support future innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.
This workshop is aligned to AEA’s Competencies and Guiding Principals as follows:
The intention of this workshop is to address the following questions that are critical to both our roles as evaluators, how we design and implement evaluations, conduct culturally relevant and appropriate systematic inquiry, disaggregate and analyze data, as well as how we use and communicate evaluation results and findings.
  • How do all concepts and methodologies like CRE, Systems Evaluation, Equitable Evaluation, and multicultural validity come together?
  • How do we, as evaluators, identify the knowledge and skills we need to gain to address systems of oppression and structural racism?
  • Where do evaluators fit in the constellation of change agents? What assumptions and power do we contribute evaluation processes?
  • How can we combine our lived experiences and training to have optimal impact?

As a result, this workshop actively encourages professional evaluators to think about and apply AEA’s competencies and guiding principles, at both a theoretical and personal level, in order to strengthen our understanding of how these competencies and principals are the foundational ingredients necessary to conduct evaluations in the service of equity. This deeper understanding and recognition hopefully helps people to understand that often the “missing piece” is how we use our knowledge and skills to practice evaluation in the ways that serve equity. For example, the Evaluator’s journey map is a tool to encourage reflection on evaluator’s roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for acting as a change agent. The case study and examples provided in each session will also help participants think about their own biases and the steps they can take to minimize those while ensuring the necessary conversations and action steps are taken to support an evaluation in service of equity.

Who Should Attend?

Intermediate level evaluators (a minimum of 3-5 years of experience) who are willing to be open-minded and engage in uncomfortable conversations focused on race, culture, equity and social justice, as well as current evaluation methodologies, regardless of race, ethnicity, and cultural background.

Facilitation Experience:
Kien Lee has presented and conducted workshops on evaluation with an equity lens for foundations, nonprofit organizations, evaluators, grassroots leaders, and community practitioners. Most recently, Dr. Lee was the lead facilitator for a full day version of the proposed workshop at the AEA’s 2019 Annual Conference. She designed and conducted a workshop about the use of secondary data on social determinants of health to inform strategies to end health disparities at a national conference of community practitioners and advocates in 2012, funded by the Office of Minority Health. She also leads the design of and has conducted workshops for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation grantees in Mississippi and New Orleans about the most appropriate evaluation designs for their work. All the above workshops have been evaluated and showed that participants felt that she is knowledgeable of the topic and they achieved their learning goals.

Michelle Revels has developed and led numerous trainings in focus group methodology, program evaluation, qualitative research and data analysis. For approximately 14 years, Ms. Revels has conducted her focus group training in a variety of settings, including the last twelve sessions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/American Evaluation Association (AEA) Summer Evaluation Institute, several annual meetings of AEA, the 2012 Eastern Evaluation Research Society’s annual conference, as an e-study for AEA in 2012 and 2013. Most recently, Ms. Revels collaborated with Dr. Jasmine Williams-Washington on the inaugural 2019 three-hour workshop “ Evaluation Capacity Building: You Built it, Why Won’t They Come at the AEA/CDC Summer Institute. This workshop was one of five invited back for the 2020 AEA/CDC Summer Institute. Ms. Revels also co-facilitated with colleagues Kien Lee and Amber Trout at the 2109 AEA Annual meeting the full day workshop entitled, “ Racial Equity, Culturally Responsive Evaluation, and Systems Evaluation: What Do They Have in Common in Theory and Practice?”

Amber Trout is an experienced facilitator in racial equity and organizational change to promote systemic transformation at the leadership, organization and community level. Over the past four years, she has led workshops with executive directors, practitioners and residents from community development organizations nation-wide. Amber has led workshops that range from teaching the concepts of equity and inclusiveness, change management to peer exchanges and coaching executive directors and staff on their action plans for culture change and advancing equity. At NeighborWorks America, she developed and trained an internal facilitation team to serve as an organizational resource to sustain equity efforts. Amber has received intensive facilitator training from the Center for Equity and Inclusion.

September 13, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET
September 20, 2021 12:00 - 1:30 PM ET 

Once you purchase the eStudy you must register for each session. Recordings will be made available to registrants unable to attend sessions live. Recordings will be made available to all registrants for 90 days.