Session Description: This skill-building session addresses the centrality of culture in evaluation. It is organized in two segments. The opening segment addresses the relevance of culture to all stages of the evaluation process, to the fundamental validity of our work as evaluators, and to ethical standards and guidelines of our profession. Presenters will use an FAQ format to raise questions and address common misconceptions that marginalize discussions of culture within the evaluation community (e.g., Is “culture” really just a code-word for “race”? How does culture apply to me as a white evaluator working within predominantly white populations? What is the “value added” of culture in evaluation? Why should I care?) The second segment extends cultural relevance to present strategies for building cultural competence through experience, education and self-awareness. Theoretical frameworks that situate culture in evaluation (e.g., Frierson, Hood & Hughes, 2002; Hall & Hood, 2005; Kirkhart, 2005) are presented as advance organizers for practice and application purposes. Presenters use case scenarios and participants’ own examples to integrate workshop content with participants’ field experience, interests, and concerns. They rely on various theoretical frameworks to guide the two segments in tangible and practical ways. Additional resources are provided to extend and reinforce participant learning.
Karen E. Kirkhart holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from The University of Michigan and is currently Professor, School of Social Work, College of Human Ecology, Syracuse University.
Rodney K. Hopson has undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature, Educational Evaluation, and Linguistics from the University of Virginia, and he is Hillman Distinguished Professor, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership and faculty member in the Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research at Duquesne University. Karen and Rodney have served in positions of leadership within the American Evaluation Association, and both are actively involved in education and scholarship on culture, diversity, and social justice in evaluation. Rodney serves as Co-Project Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluation Fellowship Program. Karen is a member of the AEA Multicultural Task Force and the Diversity Committee task force charged with developing a public statement on the subject of cultural competence and evaluation.