On Wednesday, June 28, 2017, evaluators from across Northwestern gathered to welcome American Evaluation Association (AEA) President Dr. Kathryn Newcomer to the university. Organized by the Evaluation, Data Integration, and Technical Assistance (EDIT) Program, the Center for Community Health (CCH) and the Department of Preventive Medicine, reception attendees represented more than 10 Northwestern departments and programs, and included many community partners such as the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Francesca Gaiba, Associate Director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) in which the EDIT Program is housed, welcomed attendees to the event, which was held in the new ISGMH office space on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. Dr. Gaiba highlighted ISGMH’s dedication to serving marginalized populations and the central role that evaluation plays in this mission.
Kristi Holmes, Director of Galter Health Sciences Library and Director of Evaluation for Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NUCATS); Gregory Phillips II, Director of the EDIT Program; Grisel M. Robles-Schrader, Research Portfolio Manager for Community and Stakeholder Engagement, CCH, and Bennett Goldberg, Assistant Provost and Director, Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, spoke about diverse evaluation work that is taking place across the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Dr. Phillips highlighted this reception’s broader purpose of cultivating a formal collaboration of evaluators within the Northwestern community. Each speaker described the importance of this initiative as it seeks to bridge disciplines, connect resources, and build the university’s presence in the field of evaluation.
Leah C. Neubauer, Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Program in Public Health, Division of Public Health Practice, Feinberg School of Medicine and Past President of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association (CEA), introduced Dr. Kathy Newcomer who is the current President of AEA and Director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University. Dr. Newcomer spoke of her career in evaluation and her path to becoming AEA President, as well as her excitement in seeing this group of evaluators come together to learn from each other. Dr. Newcomer’s discussion encompassed three themes: addressing race and justice in evaluation work, evaluation in the current political environment, and priorities during her term as AEA President.
Following the reception, the co-hosts officially formed the Northwestern University Evaluation and Research Alliance (NU-ERA). The group hopes to expand this collaborative in the coming months to encompass evaluators from across the entire Northwestern community. Those interested in joining NU-ERA can subscribe here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the listserv and learn about upcoming events.