Sheila B Robinson

Reflections of an everyday educator/program evaluator/professional developer…LEARNER


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Exploring the Public Education Paradox – Evaluation and Public Education (response to Jamie Clearfield)

Just last week, one of my favorite evaluation blogs, Emery Evaluation, featured a guest post that got me thinking. Exploring the Non-Profit Paradox – Evaluation and Non-Profits [Guest post by Jamie Clearfield] reminded me that I’ve long thought there exists a dearth of program evaluation in public schools. As Jamie indicates for the world of non-profits and community-based organizations (CBOs), I too believe there is a lack of understanding of evaluation and its role in public education. How do I know this?  Continue reading


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Harnessing the power of the ULTIMATE evaluation resource

I’m adding a few letters after my name…GPS. No, not THAT GPS – Google Power Searcher! Did you know Google has not one, but two online Power Searching courses? I missed the first one, but found the materials here and am making my way through the course on my own. Much like other online courses, Power Searching includes a series of video lectures and exercises that offer the opportunity to apply and test your skills.  Continue reading


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Ode to AEA365: A “Meta-post”

This is a blog post about blog posts…a meta-post, if you will (and even if you won’t). 🙂

I call myself AEA365’s biggest fan. It’s true. I’ve been a daily reader since its inception.* For the uninitiated, AEA365 Tip-A-Day by and for Evaluators is the official blog of the American Evaluation Association. It’s well-designed, reader-friendly and very searchable. I strongly encourage everyone to spend time exploring posts using keyword searches, or posts tagged for Topical Interest Groups (TIGs). Or, simply click on Archive and see every title and author of the more than 1000 posts.  Continue reading


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Can a DataViz novice become a slide snob?

Yes. Yes, I can. Like so many other evaluators (and journalists, presenters, trainers, etc.) I’ve been sucked into the compelling world of Data Visualization and Reporting, Infographics, and the art of presentation. It’s evaluspheric reform at its best. In fact, I can see a new branch growing on Christina Christie and Marvin Alkin’s Evaluation Theory Tree. It’s the REPORTING branch, and it’s just starting to bud. It will certainly feature data visualization leaders and thinkers, and I imagine the first name to appear near the base will be Evergreen (hey, now THAT’S a name that works, given the tree metaphor!).

Stephanie Evergreen’s Potent Presentations Initiative (P2i) has helped launch a new wave of evaluation DataViz & Reporting enthusiasts, and catalyzed my newest learning journey which included giving my first Ignite Presentation at AEA2012. Back in 2010, John Nash mentioned two fabulous books in this aea365 post: Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology, and Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen.  I can assure you, they’re both WELL worth the investment. Susan Kistler (among others) has posted and presented many, many tech tools and resources to fuel the cravings of any data or tech geek (a quick search on aea365 yields over a dozen of her posts on the topic).  Continue reading


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Who are you as an evaluator?

At Evaluation 2012, I attended “Advice for novice evaluators,” an engaging panel comprised of  the following evaluators whose experience ranges from 13-47 years: Arthur Hernandez, Jeanne Hubelbank, Michael Morris, Katye Perry, Robert Stake, and Sue Lin Yee. Each panelist was given the opportunity to offer wisdoms of practice, and all gave substantive advice that I look forward to sharing with my future evaluation students.

I wish I could properly credit the panelist who proffered this astute aphorism:

Developing a professional identify doesn’t always come from what you do, but how you think of yourself. 

It reminds me of one of my  favorite AEA365 posts: John LaVelle on Personal Statements About Evaluation – published March 25, 2010. Read the original post here and you’ll even see a comment from me!

©2006 Photo by SheilaBRobinson

Among other things, LaVelle tasks evaluators to Develop a personal statement of what evaluation means to you and how it can and should be practiced in dynamic, fluid, and political organizational and community environments. Given AEA12’s insightful conference theme, I would now consider asking evaluators to describe how evaluation can and should be practiced in complex ecologies comprised of relationships, responsibilities, and relevance.

I ask evaluation students to complete an evaluation personal statement as a required course assignment. I couldn’t possibly ask blog readers to do the same, but I will ask you this:  if you were to write such a statement, what key words or phrases would most certainly be included in yours?