American Evaluation Association 2019 Conference CREA Professional Development Workshops

November 12 - November 13

Minneapolis, MN, USA

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) offering of professional development training workshops at its annual conference will once again include workshops by members of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) community. These workshops will focus on topics specific to culturally responsive evaluation and congruent with the AEA Evaluation 2019 conference theme of: Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Contribution, Leadership, and Renewal.

This year’s theme, Paths to the Future of Evaluation: Contribution, Leadership, and Renewal, encourages you to consider how to stay relevant to the key issues of our society, increase our society’s capacity to understand looming issues and tradeoffs, and enable our communities to have informed conversations about the way forward.

Building the future of the evaluation practice begins at Evaluation 2019 – by assessing and appreciating the past contributions evaluation has made to society, considering the issues where evaluators can bring leadership, and looking ahead toward the renewal of the profession.

CREA/AEA Partnership Professional Development Workshops

Foundations of Culturally Responsive Evaluation

November 12, Tuesday, Full Day

Presenters: Rodney Hopson, PhD., Professor University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Karen Kirkhart, PhD., Professor, Syracuse University

Workshop Description: This workshop addresses theoretical foundations of Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) and the strategies that operationalize it in evaluation practice. It is delivered as a conversation between presenters and among participants. Following opening introductions, we will set the context with a reflection on the relevance of diversity, equity and intersectionality in the current moment of our country and where the evaluation profession sits within that. Against this backdrop, we highlight the history of CRE’s development and identify key theoretical elements.

The workshop then transitions from theory to practice in three segments. The first segment pairs analysis of evaluation contexts with reflections on one’s own cultural location as an evaluator. This prepares us for the second segment, which considers methods that are culturally congruent with their contexts of practice, noting potential strengths and limitations of each. CRE values the return of benefit to the community, and the third segment examines both methods and issues in communicating findings. We pair examples from the literature with your own examples as participants to connect workshop content with your contexts, interests, and concerns. In closing the workshop, we will return to fundamental issues such as grounding CRE in social justice and how this location poses important metaevaluation questions that connect to both ethics and validity.

Presenter Biographies:

Rodney Hopson is Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign.

He received his Ph.D. from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia and has done post-doctoral/sabbatical studies in the Faculty of Education, University of Namibia, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University. He served as President of the American Evaluation Association in 2012.

Dr. Hopson’s research interests lie in social politics and policies, foundations of education, sociolinguistics, ethnography, and evaluation. His work raises questions that 1) analyze and address the differential impact of education and schooling on marginalized and underrepresented groups in diverse global nation states and 2) seek solutions to social and educational conditions in the form of alternative paradigms, epistemologies, and methods for the way the oppressed and marginalized succeed and thrive despite circumstances and opportunities that suggest otherwise.


Karen E. Kirkhart is currently Professor and Director of the Baccalaureate Program, School of Social Work, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University. Dr. Kirkhart is also an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

She has been active in the evaluation profession for over thirty-five years. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from The University of Michigan,Dr. Kirkhart served as President of the American Evaluation Association in 1994. Her leadership has been recognized with the Robert Ingle Award for Outstanding Service to the AEA. Dr. Kirkhart’s scholarly contributions to multicultural validity, cultural competence in evaluation, and evaluation influence have been recognized by the AEA with the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory.



Utilization of a Racial Equity Lens to help Guide Strategic Engagement and Evaluation

November 13, Wednesday, Full Day

Presenters: Paul Elam, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer, MPHI; LaShaune Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Creighton University; Mindelyn Anderson, Ph.D., Program Director, American University


Workshop Description: The field of evaluation is being challenged to move from the traditional role of evaluation, and its perceived role of objectivity, to a process that considers who is being evaluated and who is conducting the evaluation. Over the past three years, Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA) has worked to develop useful frameworks, tools, and approaches that evaluators could consider to focus on the ways that race and culture might influence an evaluation process; this has resulted in the development of a framework for conducting evaluation using a racial equity lens.


This workshop focuses on the practical use of a racial equity lens when conducting evaluation. The framework argues that culture and race are important considerations when conducting an evaluation because we believe that there are both critical and substantive nuances that are often missed, ignored, and/or misinterpreted when an evaluator is not aware of the culture of those being evaluated.

Participants will be provided with a Template for Analyzing Programs through a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens, designed to focus deliberately on an evaluation process that takes race, culture, equity, and community context into consideration.

Presenters will also share a “How-to Process” focused on the cultural competencies of individuals conducting evaluations, how such competencies might be improved, and strategies for doing so. This “How-to Process” is the result of thinking around developing a self-assessment instrument for evaluators, is based primarily on the cultural-proficiencies literature, and relates specifically to components of the template.

Participants will have the opportunity to engage in small-group exercises to apply the concepts contained in the template to real world evaluation processes. Based on these experiences, participants will gain practical knowledge on the use of the lens.

Presenters Biographies:


Paul Elam, Ph.D.,Chief Strategy Officer, MPHI

He is a skilled researcher with expertise in justice issues. He is a collaborative leader who brings an abiding commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity to his public policy work. Dr. Elam has a wealth of knowledge and experience measuring racial and ethnic discrimination and believes that sound public policy analysis should include an examination of whether all people are being treated fairly and equitably. Dr. Elam directed a state-wide evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Michigan Team’s investments and used the Template for Analyzing Programs through a Culturally Responsive and Racial Equity Lens as part of the evaluation design.

Dr. Elam recently began assisting the Annie E. Casey Foundation with the Expanding the Bench Initiative. This initiative aims to improve evaluation science and social innovation by increasing diversity in the field of research and evaluation. Dr. Elam’s work will focus on evaluators from historically underrepresented groups with evaluation expertise in the areas of child welfare and juvenile justice. Dr. Elam is also a certified facilitator for the California Brief Multicultural Competence Scale (CMBCS) Multicultural Training Program.


LaShaune Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Creighton University

She is an experienced researcher of online learning among pre-health professional students, breast cancer disparities, adult and adolescent obesity, and pediatric health literacy among immigrant/refugee populations. She is faculty in the Master of Public Health program, and in the Master of Medical Anthropology program. She is currently the co-chair of the Metro African American Breast Cancer Task Force in Omaha, Nebraska, and is the co-director of the “In Search of a Medical Home”, a culturally sensitive, Muslim community-based educator project in Central Missouri, funded by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Community Research and Action. She is one of the contributors of a recently published textbook, Social Capital and Community Well-Being, which is being used by the Serve Here Connecticut academic debt reduction program. She is also one of the contributors to an upcoming edited volume on Black LGBT health issues.

Dr. Johnson has employed novel community-based methods to support Omaha’s Adolescent Health Project developmental evaluation (participatory video) and another method (Photovoice) to investigate health services for obese patients in Connecticut and Nebraska. For the Breast Cancer Task Force, she co-designed a peer educator/advocate program; this program is in its second year and is expanding to add training for patient navigators. She is currently a member of the Building Healthy Futures Evaluation Advisory Board in Omaha. She was a member of the inaugural Annie E. Casey Foundation LEEAD (Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity) program.


Dr. Mindelyn Anderson currently serves as the Program Director of the Masters of Science in Measurement and Evaluation at American University and is the founder of Mirror Group LLC. Most recently, she completed a Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Her previous higher education appointments include Honors Faculty in Residence and Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northeastern University and Marilyn Yarbrough Fellow at Kenyon College. Dr. Anderson has also held fellowships at American Institutes for Research and Mathematica Policy Research.

For 15 years, Dr. Anderson has researched social inequality and stratification, race and migration, education and social mobility. She has conducted evaluations with community-based, regional, national and international non-profit, for-profit, and educational organizations. Her utilization-focused, participatory evaluation practice is informed by Culturally-Responsive Evaluation and values diversity, equity, and inclusion as integral components of high quality evaluation. Her scholarship has been supported by sponsors including the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities.



Culturally Responsive Quantitative Evaluation in STEM Education

November 13, Wednesday, ½ Day

Presenter: Toks Fashola, PhD., Professor, American University

Workshop Description: This workshop seeks to address the challenges of objectively evaluating STEM programs that are aimed at improving STEM opportunities for underrepresented ethnic minorities. Participants in this workshop will learn to navigate different theories, learning objectives, and assessments, in order to better be active participants in STEM evaluation. The workshop addresses theories such as ecology, social constructive theory, and attribution theory, that address STEM exposure, skills, and access. Participants will also learn to understand and quantitatively measure constructs that measure non- traditional skills, such as 21st Century learning skills encouragement, access to knowledge, and motivation. Upon completion of this workshop, the participants will better understand what to look for, and how to contribute to evaluation and assessment tools that measure STEM achievement of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM.


Presenter’s Biography:

Olatokunbo (Toks) S. Fashola (Ph.D.) is a Research in Residence / Research Professor at American University, and a consulting Principal Research Scientist and Vice President for Evaluation at Mathematics Education Research Associates (MERA)

She has expertise in randomized field trials (RFTs) and Quasi Experimental Designs and has served as principal investigator, evaluator, and advisor for several programs and program evaluations across the country. Her current research interests include STEM among underrepresented students in grades K-16, Resiliency theory, Resiliency theory in specialized settings, bilingual education and language and literacy acquisition, opportunities to learn during the non-school hours, culturally relevant program evaluation, and educating African American Males. She is also interested in college attendance and dropout prevention programs that work, early childhood education, and wraparound programs. Dr. Fashola uses mixed methods to conduct her research, which includes policy analysis, program evaluation, and culturally relevant evaluation and assessment.




Paving Pathways for Culturally Responsive Evaluation: Cultivating Self-Reflection and Collaboration to Foster Community Engaged Evaluation Practices with Latinx Communities

TBD, ½ Day

Presenter: Lisa Aponte-Soto, University of Illinois-Chicago

Workshop Description: This workshop will focus on pathways for working collaboratively with Latinx communities to foster contemporary cultural responsive evaluation (CRE) practices. Latinx are the largest population in the United States, accounting for 17.6% of the total population (2010 census). Enacting CRE with diverse multinational Latinx communities demands highly skilled evaluators who can employ evaluation approaches that incorporate diverse perspectives in all phases of evaluation. This session will begin with a brief history of social justice oriented theories including Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) in relevance to CRE practices. This paradigmatic framing will provide a foundation to discuss the nine-step CRE process and applying strategies for engaging Latinx communities in evaluations. The facilitator will highlight synthesized literature and draw on her own indigenous praxis-oriented perspectives. Participants should be open to self-reflection and be prepared to assess how their cultural positionality influences their evaluation planning and practices when working with Latinx communities.


Presenter’s Biography:

Lisa Aponte-Soto, Ph.D. serves as Associate Director of Community Based Research for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Mile Square Health Center (MSHC)


Mile Square Health Center (MSHC) is network of 13 Federally Qualified Health Centers providing comprehensive, high quality health services through the continuum of care. In this capacity, Dr. Aponte-Soto coordinates a portfolio of community-based research projects, oversees the MSHC patient screening and navigation programs, and conducts evidenced-based program, process, and outcomes evaluation to monitor progress, mitigate issues on an ongoing timely basis, and ensure continuous improvement.


Formerly, Dr. Aponte-Soto served as National Program Deputy Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Connections program at Equal Measure. Lisa is committed to the professional development and advancement of racial and ethnic students and scholars from underrepresented backgrounds through education, advising, and career coaching. She describes herself as an advocate, researcher, and evaluator promoting culturally responsive practices to foster academic and health equity among underserved, underrepresented and vulnerable populations. Lisa has 20 years of experience leading public, private, and federally funded diversity initiatives. In these capacities, she has conducted mix-methods and community-based research and evaluation applying CRE principles. Lisa is an alumna of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Graduate Diversity Internship Program. She is also a founding member and chair of the AEA Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group (TIG), a member of the AEA Task Force on Engagement, Diversity, and Leadership Development, a member of the AEA Guiding Principles Task Force, a former program co-chair of the AEA Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation TIG, and a former member of the AEA Cultural Competence Working Group.



The Foundations of Indigenous Evaluation

TBD, ½ Day

Presenter: Joan LaFrance, Ed.D.

Workshop Description: The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) has recently revised its Indigenous Evaluation Framework (IEF) which was first published in 2009. The IEF describes evaluation from an Indigenous point of view. This workshop will focus on the four foundational elements in the revised framework. This includes the characteristics and sources of Indigenous ways of knowing, core cultural values, engaging community, and using cultural metaphors. Each of these elements influence the way in which evaluation should be practiced in tribal and Native American communities. The workshop will explain each element and discuss how they influence evaluation. The workshop format includes participation and small group discussions around each of the elements.


Presenter’s Biography:

Joan LaFrance, Ed.D., is owner of Mekinak Consulting, a management and evaluation service in Seattle, Washington specializing in educational program evaluation, research, and management studies. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Joan received her doctorate Harvard University, and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Washington. Mekinak Consulting has a long history of evaluation of programs in Tribal Colleges and Universities, tribal and indigenous communities, and for non-profit organizations. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), she conducted the research and co-authored the book Indigenous Evaluation Framework: Telling Our Story in Our Place and Time. Currently, she is conducting research on the application of the Indigenous Evaluation Framework in three tribal college communities. She was a founding member of the Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation TIG in AEA, and believes that traditional Indigenous voices and values will make significant contributions to evaluation theory and practice. In addition to her ongoing work in American Indian tribal communities, she is working projects in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands to assess culturally relevant mathematics curriculum and climate change education projects. She was the lead evaluator for CEMELA, a NSF funded four university consortium dedicated to research in mathematics learning among Latino populations. Joan has taught research and evaluation methods in graduate programs for the University of Washington, Western Washington University, The Evergreen State College, and Lesley University. She has done municipal budgeting, program development and management, and curriculum development.She has also worked as an internal consultant in the City of Seattle’s Performance Resource Group where she was involved in government improvement efforts such as performance measures, surveys of city residents and businesses, organizational research and organizational development.