Thursday, November 14, 2019

American Evaluation Association 2019

A Few Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation Highlights 
at the 
American Evaluation Association 2019

The empowerment evaluation workshop was very successful, engaging, and enjoyable.  We used AEA as our focal point in common.  The group defined the association's mission, took stock of AEA's current efforts, and established preliminary plans for the future.

According to Gerardo Sanchez-Romeo's postings, "light bulbs" went on during the Empowerment Evaluation Workshop   New insights emerged and great suggestions aimed at improvement were presented.  The group was fantastic, engaged, and thoughtful from 8 am to 3 pm in spite of a very cold day in Minneapolis. 

Author's night was also a lot of fun.  We were able to see colleagues who we only get to see once a year or once every couple of years - sharing our accomplishments, particular in terms of publications.

In addition, the Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation sessions were a big hit.  Linda Delaney hit the ball ⚾️ out of the park today with her presentation about an empowerment evaluation of a tobacco prevention program in Arkansas (co-presented with me - David Fetterman).

Ann Zukoski was also tremendous, highlighting the value of participatory evaluation with case examples.

There was standing room only. I kid you not. The overflow into the halls was gratifying. I even took pictures of it.

Folks really appreciated the opportunity to discuss collaborative, participatory, and empowerment evaluation similarities and differences in practice.

Our book Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation: Stakeholder Involvement Approaches came out about this time at our last meeting.

All in all it has been a very rewarding and reaffirming meeting, including hugs from colleagues from around the globe learning together.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Australian Evaluation Society Empowerment Evaluation Keynote

Australian Evaluation Society:  
Empowerment Evaluation Keynote

I was invited to present an Empowerment Evaluation Keynote at the Australian Evaluation Society's International Conference in Sydney. Many thanks for all the kind words about my plenary presentation - both funny and informative works for me. I had a good time and it was an honor to be invited to speak to the issue of indigenous rights and concerns. 

There was an electricity in the air.  Colleagues were completely engaged and the applause was both welcoming and celebratory.  LinkedIn and Facebook posts about the plenary were thoughtful and uniformly complementary. 

Australian Evaluation Society 
Annual Conference Closing Session

The discussion was lively and summarized many of the issues raised during the conference.
Indigenous IP rights and empowerment topics dominated the discussion.  However, a few topics were touchy, including a discussion about RCTs, however, it was civil and engaging. 

Australian Evaluation Society 
Annual Conference Empowerment Evaluation Workshop

I also conducted a workshop on Thursday and it was filled to maximum capacity.  
The dialogue was powerful focusing on indigenous rights.

According to a few of the participants:  "As emerging evaluators, we are constantly looking to explore and learn about concepts and theories of evaluation. In the lead up to the Australia Evaluation Society (AES) International Evaluation Conference, we had particularly been exposed to certain principles associated with ‘Empowerment Evaluation’ such as capacity building and inclusion in our project work. This triggered our fascination around the approach and so the three of us attended David Fetterman’s Empowerment Evaluation Workshop.
We gained our first impressions of David Fetterman while observing him on Day One of the Conference. By watching him walk around to all the stalls, introducing himself and having frank conversations, he established that he was ‘down to earth’ from the start. Another feature noticed was his charismatic charm – how he could draw a crowd together. By the time he got around to the ARTD booth, he had us all captured in conversation with him. It was very refreshing to meet such a humble character who was a keynote speaker, but who also took the time to connect with everyone at the conference. This was truly inspiring for us three, as relatively young and emerging evaluators, to receive this kind of attention from someone with an amazing reputation in the field.
This connection really motivated us to ‘take the journey to climb the mountain’ that is empowerment evaluation. We attended his workshop and took away the following."
Their summary is available in the ARTD Consultants' newsletter.

Ethnography: Step by Step (4th) edition is coming out in October. 
It provides a wealth of concepts and tools that can be used in empowerment evaluations.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Empowerment Evaluation Article in AJE: HIV Prevention Context

American Journal of Evaluation:  Empowerment Evaluation Article

In case you missed it, check out the first article in the latest edition of the American Journal of Evaluation (Vol. 40, Number 3, September 2019). It is another excellent empowerment evaluation. It is titled Empowerment Evaluation: A Case Study of Citywide Implementation Within an HIV Prevention Context. It highlights the 3 and 10 step approach, principles, and results. The article also demonstrates the value of using the most appropriate stakeholder involvement approach for the task at hand. We also applaud them for building evaluation capacity and applying the approach to a socially significant, civil rights domain.

Congrats Gregory, Peter, Christian, Emily, Christopher, Patrick, David, Amy, Hendricks, and George.

For more information about empowerment evaluation see Fetterman, D.M., Kaftarian, S., and Wandersman, A. (2015). Empowerment evaluation: knowledge and tools for self-assessment, evaluation capacity building, and accountability. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dr. David Fetterman Top Anthropologist 2019 and Founder of Empowerment Evaluation

Dr. David Fetterman - 2019 Top Anthropologist Award Pre-Gala Announcement. 

In preparation for the Gala Award Ceremony, the International Association of Top Professionals Award Committee highlighted Dr. David Fetterman's accomplishments. They represent the basis for his selection. 

They included:  President of Fetterman & Associates (international evaluation consulting firm); 25 years of experience at Stanford University (Administration, School of Education, and Medical School); Past-president of the American Evaluation Association and the American Anthropological Association’s Council on Anthropology and Education; author of 17 books and contributions to encyclopedia (Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation; Empowerment Evaluation: Knowledge and Tools for Self-assessment, Evaluation Capacity Building, and Accountability; Ethnography: Step by Step); founder of empowerment evaluation (self-help approach); Mensa, Myrdal, and Lazarsfeld Award Winner; AERA Distinguished Scholar Award; and projects in over 16 countries. 

The Gala Award Ceremony will be in December 2019. Highlights of background and accomplishments at:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Keynote Speaker in Sydney

Keynote Speaker at International Evaluation Conference

International Keynote Speaker: Dr. David Fetterman has been invited to speak at the International Australasian Evaluation Association conference in Sydney (September 14-19, 2019). He will be highlighting the use of empowerment evaluation to facilitate social change.

In addition, he will be facilitating a highly engaging and interactive empowerment evaluation workshop. He will include a few tech tools used to build evaluation capacity in communities.

Contact Jade Maloney and Ben Barnes for additional details or consult the web site to register at:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

CUTV News Interview with Dr. Fetterman

CUTV Radio News Interview

CUTV Radio Newscaster, Jim Masters, interviewed Dr. Fetterman from Fetterman & Associates.  They spoke about empowerment evaluation, ethnography, and social justice. 

The conversation ranged from Dr. Fetterman's work with the United Nations and South Africa to Google and Stanford University's School of Medicine.  

The topics included:  empowerment evaluation as a gateway to growth in human potential, capacity, and self-determination; a tool to help you know if you are accomplishing your objectives.

Projects highlighted include: tobacco prevention work - saving the State over $9 million in excess medical expenses; bridging the digital divide in communities of color - $15 million Hewlett-Packard initiative; educational school improvement projects - helping educational districts extricate themselves from academic distress.

The radio interview was recorded and is available on CUTV News.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Empowerment Evaluation: Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Empowerment Evaluation:  Article in Health Promotion Journal of Australia

The editors of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia invited me to write a brief article summarizing empowerment evaluation.  It places empowerment evaluation in perspective, comparing it with collaborative, participatory, and developmental approaches to evaluation.  In addition, the article describes the theories, concepts, principles, and steps associated with the approach.

The article is part of a series of blogs, web page, and related digital dissemination efforts to better prepare for the 2019 Australasian Evaluation Society International Evaluation Conference.  It will be held in Sydney from September 16-18, with workshops on the 15th and 19th.

I have been invited to provide a plenary presentation at the conference and a workshop, focusing on empowerment evaluation.  Please enjoy the article and join us at the conference.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Un-Boxing Evaluation: Empowerment Evaluation

Unboxing Evaluation

"This guest blog is an interview between David Fetterman and Jade Maloney. It is the second in a series about un-boxing evaluation – the theme of aes19 in Sydney, Australia. The series is designed to generate a global discussion of the theme ‘un-boxing evaluation’ and what that means for our profession and practice." 

Join the conversation here

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Empowerment Evaluation on Better Evaluation site

Better Evaluation

A description/explanation of empowerment evaluation (a community-based self-evaluation approach designed to help people help themselves) is now on the Better Evaluation site.

The Empowerment Evaluation description on Better Evaluation is available here.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Empowerment Evaluation and Freirian Pedogogy in Portuguese

The collection Pedagogy of Evaluation highlights evaluation approaches that have been influenced by Freirean pedagogy and share Freirean values, modes of engagement, and desired outcomes. These approaches include:  social justice-focused evaluations, democratic deliberative evaluation, empowerment evaluation, feminist evaluation, transformative evaluation, and critical systems evaluation.

This collection was recently translated into Portuguese.  One of the chapters is "Transformative Empowerment Evaluation and Freirean Pedagogy:  Alignment with an Emancipatory Tradition," by David Fetterman. It is: "Pedagogia da Avaliacao e Paulo Freire:  Incluir para transformar," iPortuguese. 

The empowerment chapter describes how empowerment evaluation and Freirean pedagogy share a common emancipatory tradition.  These approaches help people learn to confront the status quo, by questioning assumptions and prescribed roles, unpacking myths, rejecting dehumanization, and no longer blindly accepting the "truth" about how things are or can be.  They help people think critically about the world around them.

In addition, the art work is stunning.  This is a Silvia Fittipaldi art edition.  Claudius Ceccon's drawing are informative, insightful, and rich in color and expression.  

He is both an artist and social activist.  He is also the father of Claudia Ceccon.  (Claudia and Thomaz Chianca have a chapter in this publication titled, "Pedagogy in Process Applied to Evaluation:  Learning from Paulo Freire's Work in Guinea-Bissau".)

Claudius is also the Director of Centro de Criacao de Imagem Popular.  It is a not for profit and independent NGO that has been developing for the past three decades Education and Communication projects.  Their mission is to contribute to the process of democratisation in Brazil by producing information and developing methodologies aimed at influencing public policies and strengthening citizenship's fundamental rights.

The translation was sponsored by Fundacao Roberto Marinho.  Thanks are also extended to Madza Ednir for her assistance in participating in the translation and dissemination of this effort.

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it easy to publish online.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Using Google Sheets and Forms and Zoom to Remotely Facilitate an Empowerment Evaluation Exercise

by David Fetterman, Jason Ravitz, and Kathy Haynie

Jason Ravitz (Google) and David Fetterman (Fetterman & Associates, past-president of AEA, and founder of empowerment evaluation) have been using empowerment evaluation in various educational settings, including a graduate school program and with Kathy Haynie (Haynie Research and Evaluation) and Tom McKlin (The Findings Group), in our work with two computer science education evaluation learning communities.
Empowerment evaluation is the use of evaluation concepts, techniques, and findings to foster improvement and self-determination.  This approach aims to increase the likelihood that programs will achieve results by increasing the capacity of program stakeholders to plan, implement, and evaluate their own programs.
3-Step Approach.  One empowerment evaluation approach involves helping a group: 1) establish their mission; 2) take stock of their current status; and 3) plan for the future.  Additional tools include an evaluation dashboard to help communities monitor their own progress.
CS/STEM Learning Communities. The “Evaluation Wrecking Crew” includes over 60 CS education evaluators across the country. A second group (with some overlap) is the NSF-funded Computer Science Outcomes Networked Improvement Community (CSONIC).  
We have joined forces to: 1) build a CS/STEM repository of evaluation instruments and approaches; 2) build a common hub for the community, with the assistance of Oak Ridge Associated Universities; and 3) educate the CS community about the value and role of evaluation to improve the quality of CS and STEM education.  We meet biweekly using Zoom video-conferencing software.
Kathy Haynie (Haynie Research and Evaluation) 
Remotely Facilitates Bi-monthly Meetings
Online Spreadsheet. Jason designed a 3-step online spreadsheet, using Google Sheets, to facilitate the empowerment evaluation process used in both the Evaluation Wrecking Crew and CSONIC workshops.
Mission. Our collaborative process allowed workshop members to remotely record their views about the mission or purpose of the group.  Later comments were transformed into a mission statement (using Google Docs).
Taking Stock. A second sheet in the spreadsheet was devoted to “brainstorming” a list of the group’s most important activities. Members prioritized the list by “voting” for the most important activities to evaluate as a group.
A third sheet was populated with the list of the prioritized activities. The online workshop participants used a 1 (low) to 10 (high) scale to rate their performance on the “taking stock” sheet.  We used the results to facilitate a dialogue about the ratings using videoconferencing software and referencing participants’ ratings.
Planning for the Future.  We used a fourth sheet to help the group record plans for the future, specifying goals, strategies, and evidence.
Evaluation Dashboard.  A final sheet was devoted to the dashboard to help us monitor our own performance.  It included: goals, strategies, and evidence.
Computer Science Education Evaluators 
Conducting an Empowerment Evaluation Online
Rad Resources:
Free Template.  This spreadsheet is available (free) to use to facilitate your own empowerment evaluation exercise remotely:
Other free tools we have used include Google Forms to help graduate students evaluate their own as well as their peers’ work.  We used these data to assess students’ performance, and in the process, make mid-course corrections concerning our instruction.  Finally, we used Google Evaluation Worksheets to help them refine their proposals:  / Additional resources can be found here.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on theaea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Abraham Wandersman Presents GTO in Thailand

Dr. Abraham Wandersman in Thailand

Dr. Abraham Wandersman from the University of South Carolina, Columbia presented Getting-to-Outcomes (GTO) to funders and policy makers in Bangkok, Thailand this week. His most recent book with Drs. Fetterman and Kaftarian is:  Empowerment Evaluation: Knowledge and Tools for Self-assessment, Evaluation Capacity Building, and Accountability (Sage Publications).

Colleagues in this picture include from left to right: 

Dr. Oranee from R2 R, Dr. Akarin from R2R, Dr. Jadej from NHSO (National Health Security Office, Dr. Wandersman, Dr. Somsak, Dr. Bundit (Deputy CEO Health Promotion Fund (HPF), Dr. Choochai NHSO, and Dr. Pairote HPF.

“Thanks you to Prof wandersman for introducing us to GTO and how it could be applied to ensure outcome and not only for “scaling up good models from research”. Most of us present in this meeting have been doing various things to ensure whatever we did, providing services, purchasing services or granting projects on health promotion, will lead to better and bigger patient outcome or health outcome. Examples and ideas from the exchange will be valuable for us to find new ways of getting outcome with your GTO being one of the approaches and tools for doing so. Your experiences with empowerment evaluation and learning helped to shed better light to our efforts in using various methods to achieve learning health system while working to get better outcomes in the complex health system such as Thailand.”

Dr. Somsak Chunharas was a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Fall 1 2017 term. He formerly served as Deputy Minister of Health for Thailand and is currently President of National Health Foundation in Thailand, an NGO promoting and coordinating evidence-based health policy and system development.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 AEA Outstanding Evaluation Award Winner

Dr. Abraham Wandersman and his multidisciplinary evaluation team are the recipients of the 2017 AEA Outstanding Evaluation Award.

Principal Investigator

They evaluated the RWJF funded Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation (SCALE) initiative; a portion of the 100 Million Lives initiative, focusing on low-income US communities that had high capacity collaborations to address health and social issues and improve health equity.

The evaluation design monitored, modeled, and provided actionable insights to manage the complexity of an evolving program theory and support model, while providing areas for improvement.

The Getting To Outcomes ® framework, described in the recently revised edition of Empowerment Evaluation (Fetterman, Kaftarian, and Wandersman), was a systematic, no-nonsense approach to facilitating and measuring interventions to achieve outcomes.

The elements of the SCALE evaluation that made it exemplary, included the up-front work in planning for data collection and stakeholder involvement, the rapid-cycle provision of feedback, and the content knowledge that the evaluators brought to the situation.

The multi-method design and the demonstrated usefulness of findings also attest to it as an exemplar. In addition, the approach has been adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Morehouse School of Medicine.

We invite you to celebrate Dr. Wandersman's accomplishments with us at both the the AEA luncheon and the CPE business meeting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Mareike Meyn - Empowerment Evaluation and Digitization of Rural Germany

Digitization: Status Quo and future trends – a new impact on life in rural areas?

Mareike Meyn visited David Fetterman earlier this year in California. Mareike is a McCloy Fellow on Global Trends by the American Council on Germany.

She interviewed David Fetterman about his book Empowerment Evaluation in the Digital Villages: Hewlett-Packard's $15 Million Race Toward Social Justice (Stanford University Press).

She was interested in learning more about the use of empowerment evaluation in rural areas to bridge the digital divide. David's book highlights effective strategies in this area. She is applying what she has learned to rural digital development in Germany. An abstract of her work is provided below:

Digitization: Status Quo and future trends – a new impact on life in rural areas?

Digital possibilities create change. This change is necessary, especially when one looks at rural areas in Germany and their struggle to maintain social services, access to education, possibilities of employment and the like, under the pressure of the demographic development such as aging and exodus of young, qualified citizens. In the U.S. there are many innovative, digital hubs in urban centers such as in Seattle, San Francisco or New York, where people, so it seems, know how to use all the opportunities of the digital age. Not only in urban settings, but also in some rural parts of America such as Mississippi, where some unique strategies on how to transit into the digital age can be found. The paper presents insights on how Americans employ today's digital possibilities regarding the structural framework, dissemination of knowledge, the mindset, and all encompassing community development approaches for digital empowerment. Findings are that the potentials for rural communities are tremendous. Applied in a well-thought of way, digital possibilities can not only create change, but may even create a future leap-frog effect for rural communities.

Contact Information:
Documentary of the Journey:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Empowerment Evaluation’s 21st Anniversary: A Celebration, Comment & Critique


David Fetterman introduced empowerment evaluation to the field of evaluation during his presidential address 21 years ago. Since that time it has been used in over 16 countries, ranging from corporate offices of Google and Hewlett-Packard to squatter settlements and townships in South Africa. Empowerment evaluation has been used by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US. Department of Education, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Native American tribes in reservations stretching from Michigan to San Diego.

David Fetterman, Shakeh Kaftarian, Abraham Wandersman, and many other empowerment evaluators, have published 5 books on empowerment evaluation. The 21st anniversary of this approach was celebrated with a panel of luminaries who have helped shape empowerment evaluation with their critiques, concerns, and congratulations. They included Drs. Steward Donaldson, Michael Scriven, Michael Patton, and Marvin Alkin. Their comments are illuminating, engaging, and presented in this special topic edition of E&PP.

Celebrating the 21st anniversary of empowerment evaluation with our critical friends David Fetterman and Abraham Wandersman

This special topic edition of E&PP presents the insights of luminaries in the field who have helped shape empowerment evaluation with their critiques, concerns, and congratulations. We celebrate their contributions to empowerment evaluation. This special topic edition of E&PP presents their comments about an evaluation approach that, according to president Stewart Donaldson, has “gone viral” across the globe (Donaldson, 2015).
To set the stage for these critical friends’ comments, additional context for their discussion is provided. In addition, this special topic edition concludes with a brief comment on their thoughts.

Empowerment evaluation: An approach that has literally altered the landscape of evaluationStewart Donaldson

The quest for credible and actionable evidence to improve decision making, foster improvement, enhance self-determination, and promote social betterment is now a global phenomenon. Evaluation theorists and practitioners alike have responded to and overcome the challenges that limited the effectiveness and usefulness of traditional evaluation approaches primarily focused on seeking rigorous scientific knowledge about social programs and policies. No modern evaluation approach has received a more robust welcome from stakeholders across the globe than empowerment evaluation.
Empowerment evaluation has been a leader in the development of stakeholder involvement approaches to evaluation, setting a high bar. In addition, empowerment evaluation’s respect for community knowledge and commitment to the people’s right to build their own evaluation capacity has influenced the evaluation mainstream, particularly concerning evaluation capacity building. Empowerment evaluation’s most significant contributions to the field have been to improving evaluation use and knowledge utilization. 

Empowerment evaluation: Exemplary is its openness to dialogue, reflective practice, and process useMichael Quinn Patton


On the occasion of the 21 st anniversary of empowerment evaluation, congratulations are in order for having established global credibility, demonstrated utility, and for its exemplary openness to dialogue, reflective practice, and process use.
I remember well the 1993 annual convention of the American Evaluation Association in Dallas when David introduced the idea of empowerment evaluation in his presidential keynote. It was an innovative and radical approach that was met with much initial skepticism, but the approach has certainly prevailed, gaining not only legitimacy but utility, and, as evidenced in the documentary record, is being implemented and appreciated worldwide.
I've had the privilege over the years of engaging in dialogue with David, Abe, and others about various aspects of empowerment evaluation. Certainly ones of the ways in which empowerment evaluation is exemplary is its openness to dialogue and reflective practice. 

Empowerment evaluation 21 years later: There is much to admire about empowerment evaluation
Michael Scriven
There is much to admire about empowerment evaluation, and on this festive occasion, I will begin with the features that I most admire.

1 This approach begins with the people who know the most of any group about the actual operation of the program (or the product, policy, person, etc. if we go beyond program evaluation). This knowledge is often highly inaccessible for external evaluators and often crucial to the validity of the evaluation.
2 Empowerment Evaluation (EE) is dealing directly with the agency for implementation, and hence the people in perhaps the best position to implement recommendations for improvement.
3 Using program staff as the evaluators gives one access to and perhaps the best chance of control over abuses of staff and impactees.
4 Although this is not an unmixed blessing, it is often important that EE frequently converts agents into advocates.
5 In converting agents into advocates, EE can sometimes transcend the limits of a particular program and make them advocates for a methodology, not only EE, but serious tools used in its implementation.
6 EE provides a great machinery for three functions that are related to evaluation and frequently required in order to maximize its implementation: marketing, explaining, and justifying a program.
7 A powerful and possibly unique (in practice) level of the ethical and pragmatic use of meta-evaluation. I try to match David on this, and indeed advocate to David on this, by going further than his enthusiasms for the use of the “critical friend” to the use of “critical enemy” but am less successful. However, I never think of empirical evaluation without reflecting on his inspirational example of treating his critics as friends—and not just friends but helpers—as they indeed are. The connection between us is close because we are both part of that small group who really believe that proposition and act on it.

When is a theory a theory? A case example
Marvin C. Alkin

This discussion comments on the approximately 20 years history of writings on the prescriptive theory called Empowerment Evaluation. To do so, involves examining how “Empowerment Evaluation Theory” has been defined at various points of time (particularly 1996 and now in 2015). Defining a theory is different from judging the success of a theory. This latter topic has been addressed elsewhere by Michael Scriven, Michael Patton, and Brad Cousins. I am initially guided by the work of Robin Miller (2010) who has written on the issue of how to judge the success of a theory. In doing so, she provided potential standards for judging the adequacy of theories. My task is not judging the adequacy or success of the Empowerment Evaluation prescriptive theory in practice, but determining how well the theory is delineated. That is, to what extent do the writings qualify as a prescriptive theory. 

Celebratory reflections, appreciations, clarifications, and comments
David Fetterman and Abraham Wandersman

Our thanks are extended to each one of our critical friends. They have been an integral part of our lives for over two decades. They have enriched our understanding and held the bar high. They, along with the communities we work with, inspire us to improve both in theory and in practice. We conclude this special topic edition of Evaluation and Program Planning empowerment evaluation’s 21 anniversary celebration – with a few reflections, appreciations, clarifications, and comments concerning the panelists’ remarks.