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Register for the June 10th Webinar (Cultural Constraints in Systems): HERE
The application of “systems” in bringing about social change is
rapidly gaining currency among those who fund and implement programs aimed at
various aspects of social betterment. One constituency in this movement is the
group of people who evaluate new programs. For them, “systems” (however
defined) provides an intellectual perspective on understanding how a new
program may work and what it will accomplish. As such, a “systems” approach
affects evaluation design, data choices , methodology, data interpretation, and
recommendations. In addition to serving as an intellectual framework, “systems”
can be invoked as a methodology that can be added to the quiver of evaluation
This webinar is based on the assumption
that whether intellectual perspective or method, we will benefit from exposure
to knowledge of how evaluators used systems in practice. We need to see cases
where our colleagues tell us: 1) Here was my evaluation task. 2) I chose this
aspect of “systems”. 3) I applied it in this way. 4) Here is what happened.
Of course “systems” is a large and
ambiguous term that is applied to a very wide range of theory and action. We
take no sides as to what is “in” and what is “out”. Our intent is to include as
many examples of “systems” use in evaluation as possible. Each webinar will
last half an hour – approximately 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes
for questions. Sessions will be archived for those who are not able to attend
in real time. Specific times and dates will be published toward the end of December.
The purpose of this message is to solicit suggestions as to what topics to
cover and to open the floor for nominations for presenters.
The topics, presenter, and schedule of each webinar is listed below.
The series is hosted by the Center on Collaborative Governance in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver and coordinated by Dr. Jonathan (Jonny) Morell. If you want to receive information or registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For substantive questions about content, and suggestions for additional presentations, contact Jonny at email@example.com
Organizer Brief Biographies
Jonathan A. Morell PhD (Jonny) is an organizational psychologist with extensive experience in the theory and practice of program evaluation. His current hands-on evaluations involve safety programs in industry, evaluating R&D, programs to minimize distracted driving, applying best practices in on-the-ground settings in development, and evaluation capacity building. Based on his practical evaluation experience Jonny has made theoretical contributions to the field involving both evaluation methods for programs that exhibit unexpected behaviors, and the use of complex system behavior as evaluation frameworks and evaluation tools. His views are set out in his book: Evaluation in the Face of Uncertainty: Anticipating Surprise and Responding to the Inevitable. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Evaluation and Program Planning, and a recipient of AEA’s Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award. Details of his work can be found at his website www.jamorell.com, and his blog, http://evaluationuncertainty.com/. His mantra is: Respect data, trust judgment.
Danielle Varda (PhD) is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver with a secondary appointment in the Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy. She is Co-Director of the Nonprofit Concentration, Advisor to the Dual MPA-MPH Degree, and Director of the Research Program on Collaborative Governance. She specializes in collaborative governance and network leadership, focusing specifically in Public Health Systems and Services Research. Her research focus is on evaluating the network structure of interorganizational collaborations between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and the subsequent network effects of these recorded interactions. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she is the developer of a software tool (PARTNER, www.partnertool.net) that uses Social Network Analysis to administer a survey and link to an analysis tool, to measure and monitor collaborative activity over time. Her research portfolio includes projects in the areas of maternal/child health, public health preparedness, nonprofit community networks, and systems evaluation. Her research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the CO Department of Public Health and Environment, the CO Trust, the RAND Corporation, the Department of Health and Human Services (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response), Veterans Administration, University of Kentucky School of Public Health, and the Department of Defense. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org