The Revolution Will Not Be Evaluated and More Insights from Community Science

*View the Community Science Newsletter online.

September 2017

The Tragedy of Professionalizing Social Change: We Are the System We Seek to Change
By: David Chavis, PhD, President/CEO
There is little doubt that this country and this world are seeing monumental challenges that we have not seen in decades, if ever. Racism and other forms of hate have become legitimized in many more places than we have seen in a while. There is a rise of authoritarian rule, “bullyism,” and violence against women and minorities. In this country, the basic social contract of a caring state and a common community (e pluribus unum – or “out of many, one”) is being threatened on nearly an hourly basis. The good news is that there has been a large-scale outcry from all corners of our society over many of the abuses and abusiveness. People are organizing across race and class to try to turn these trends around, and to promote equality and inclusion in this great country…
Early this year, our friend and colleague Rodney Hopson came to speak to our staff on culturally competent evaluation, as part of our internal professional development series. Rodney ended his workshop by reading a poem based on the lyrics to a song by the great jazz artist Gil Scot-Heron entitled The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as part of a 2011 tribute to evaluation thought leader Michael Scriven. We have dedicated this issue of The Change Agent to Rodney’s message. That message is a wake-up call to all of us “professionals” that if we want to see change, it is not going to come in a contract, grant, or billable hour. It’s going to come only by rejoining the social justice movement, not as an expert, but as a participant.

The Revolution Will Not Be Evaluated
An ode to Gil Scot-Heron, Michael Scriven, and the future of evaluation
By: Rodney Hopson
Professor & Associate Dean for Research
College of Education and Human Development

George Mason University

“You will not be able to avoid the usefulness and ubiquity of evaluation,
You will not be able to mislabel, misappropriate, misconceive, misapply, or misuse
evaluation, limiting it to the settings of programs, policies, and personnel
You will not be able to refer to the usual distinctions between research and
evaluation, draw simple conclusions at the end of a program evaluation, or avoid
instances of bias and conflicts of interests, as if our only concern in the discipline
rests on value judgments or our only claim to fame is to inform decision-making
Because the revolution will not be evaluated.”

Staff Profile: Maria Fernanda Mata

Maria Fernanda Mata, MA Analyst, has experi-ence in social science research, program development, public policy, and advocacy, particularly in the areas of community engagement, access to healthcare and social support, immigration, and social mobility. She is particularly interested in the application of quantitative and qualitative research to improve programs and services that empower racially and ethnically diverse communities. At Community Science, Maria is working to develop a tool kit that community- and faith-based organizations can use to reach and increase healthcare access for the most vulnerable populations. As part of this project, she is helping to identify strategies to educate communities of color and individuals with limited English proficiency, low literacy, or low health insurance literacy about the importance of obtaining health insurance coverage and the benefits of accessing preventive healthcare. Prior to joining Community Science, Maria Fernanda served as programs research associate for the National Hispanic Council on Aging, where she led program and policy research on key issues impacting Hispanic communities, including health, retirement security, and access to social programs.

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