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Washington Evaluators Brown Bag
by June Gothberg and Jennifer Sullivan-Sulewski
January 31, 2012
Evaluators are often tasked with insuring representative samples in their work. Many populations have been tagged as hard-to-reach and therefore make this task difficult in many evaluation efforts. People with disabilities and members of other vulnerable populations such as people who are homeless, chronically ill, economically disadvantaged, low literate, English language learners, elderly, and prisoners are frequently involved in or affected by evaluation efforts, regardless of the specific topic of the evaluation. Designing evaluations to include people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations is thus an essential skill for ensuring that these populations are fairly represented and included in the evaluation process. In the last two years, awareness has increased among evaluators at-large as to the importance of designing evaluation and data collection tools to include all people. Due to this, Universal Design has taken a forefront position. Out of this demand for assistance to increase capacity in this area, the idea for a Universal Design for Evaluation (UDE) checklist emerged. This session will introduce the seven principles of universal design, the UDE checklist, and their application to evaluation. Participants will add to their knowledge and skills to increase involvement for people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations in evaluation. The session will end with a discussion of next steps to increase partnerships between agencies, evaluators, and the American Evaluation Association.
June Gothberg is a researcher at Western Michigan University’s Connecting Careers Research Center where she is project technical assistance coordinator for the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center focused on improving special education and transition services for students with disabilities.
Jennifer Sullivan-Sulewski is a Research Associate at the Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston. She has conducted or managed numerous research and evaluation projects, primarily related to day and employment services and supports for people with disabilities. She received her Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University in 2006.
Together they co-chair the Disabilities and Other Vulnerable Populations Topical Interest Group for the American Evaluation Association. Through this role, they co-produced the Universal Design for Evaluation model and the Universal Design for Evaluation checklist. This seminal model is fostering a paradigm to build capacity to include all individuals during the planning, implementation, analysis, and dissemination of evaluation.