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Transitioning from School to Work: Preparing Evaluation Students and New Evaluators for the Profession

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Unlike some professions, there is no single path for making the leap from student to new professional to being an established member of the profession. In large part this is because of the trans-disciplinary nature of evaluation field and the many the broad number of professions and sectors (public, non-profit, private) in which evaluation and social science research skills may be useful. This panel will explore the many approaches used by universities in the Washington, DC area to train graduate and undergraduate students in the field of evaluation, and the transition strategies to help students and new evaluators establish themselves in the evaluation field. The seven distinguished panelists are all associated with Washington Evaluators, and have served in AEA and/or WE leadership positions. Panelists and our Discussant will be asked to address questions such as:

1. In which disciplines/schools at your university would we expect to find courses in evaluation or related to evaluation?

2. What are the components of the evaluation curricula? Do you offer a degree or major field in evaluation?

3. Do you offer hands-on experiences for your students to design and conduct evaluations?

4. Where have your former students worked in the evaluation field, and what kinds of careers have they had?

5. What advice do you have for new evaluators regarding making the shift from school to work in the evaluation field? What types of professional and networking activities would you recommend to further careers in evaluation?

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Transitioning from School to Work: Preparing Evaluation Students and New Evaluators for the Profession

  1. 1. Transitioning from School to Work: Preparing Evaluation Students and New Evaluators for the Profession Washington Evaluators Brown Bag Panel February 24, 2015 Chair: David J. Bernstein, Ph.D., Westat: Rockville, MD President, Washington Evaluators Note: Opinions/perspectives in this panel are those of the presenters, and do not reflect the position of Washington Evaluators.
  2. 2. 2 Introduction • There is no single path for making the leap from student to new professional to being an established member of the profession. • The trans-disciplinary nature of evaluation field and the broad number of professions and sectors (public, non-profit, private) in which evaluation and social science research skills may be useful leads to multiple paths. • This panel will explore the many approaches used by universities in the Washington, DC area to train graduate/undergraduate students in the field of evaluation, and the transition strategies available to help students and new evaluators establish themselves in the profession.
  3. 3. Panel Introductions • Kathryn Newcomer, Professor of Public Administration; Director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University; and AEA President-elect. • Rodney Hopson, Professor of Education Policy and Evaluation; Senior Research Fellow, Center of Education Policy and Evaluation, George Mason University; and Past-president of AEA. • Donna Mertens, Professor Emeritus, Gallaudet University; Past- president, AEA. • Brian Yates, Professor of Psychology, American University; Past- treasurer, AEA. • Veronica Thomas, Professor of Human Development, Howard University; Eastern Evaluation Research Society Board Member. • Edwina Dorch, Adjunct Professor, University of the District of Columbia and Professor of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. 3
  4. 4. Discussant Introduction Joseph Wholey Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California; Past President, Evaluation Research Society; Co-founder, American Evaluation Association (AEA). 4
  5. 5. 5 Panel Format • Panelists will be asked a series of questions related to today’s topic. • Panelists will take turns briefly answering one question at a time. • The discussant may also address the question, or may hold his comments till the end. • Audience questions will be taken at the end of each question session, after the panelists’ comments.
  6. 6. Question 1 1. In which disciplines/schools at your university would we expect to find courses in evaluation or related to evaluation? 6
  7. 7. Question 2 2. What are the components of the evaluation curricula? Do you offer a degree or major field in evaluation? 7
  8. 8. Question 3 3. Do you offer hands-on experiences for your students to design and conduct evaluations? 8
  9. 9. Question 4 4. Where have your former students worked in the evaluation field, and what kinds of careers have they had? 9
  10. 10. Question 5 5. What advice do you have for new evaluators regarding making the shift from school to work in the evaluation field? 10
  11. 11. Question 6 6. What types of professional and networking activities would you recommend to further careers in evaluation? 11
  12. 12. Want the PowerPoints? Visit the Washington Evaluators website at: http://washingtonevaluators.org/event-materials If you are not a Washington Evaluators member, please consider joining to stay well informed about evaluation issues in the DC area. Student memberships are only $15! http://washingtonevaluators.org/membership 12

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