This page is intended to highlight news of the passing of any AEA members within the recent months. These individuals enriched our lives and our community. We are saddened by the loss and ask that you join us in remembering them fondly. If you have news to post here, please send to email@example.com.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our colleague, Michael Scriven, at the age of 95 last month.
Michael was a prominent figure in the evaluation community. He was a professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate University, and Co-director of the Claremont Evaluation Center.
Michael took his bachelor's and master's degrees from the honors school of mathematics at Melbourne University, Australia, and his first two jobs (internships) were in mathematical physics. He went on to a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford, for a thesis on the logic of explanations in science and history. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Melbourne University.
Scriven's fifty years of teaching included departments or chairs of mathematics, philosophy, psychology, the history and philosophy of science, law, evaluation, education and as university professor; most of this was done at the Universities of Minnesota, Indiana, California (Berkeley), Western Australia, and Auckland, as well as Swarthmore, Harvard, San Francisco, and Claremont Graduate University. His 450+ publications were mainly in the fields of his appointments and in computer science, informal logic, cosmology, international philanthropy, and technology studies. He served on the editorial or advisory boards of more than 40 scholarly journals and was elected president of the American Educational Research Association, president of the American Evaluation Association, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a Whitehead Fellow at Harvard, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences.
We mourn the loss of the Center’s Founding Director Dr. Stafford Hood, and we celebrate his legacy. Stafford brought us together as a family, and his vision created a unique space of collegiality, support, and intellectual exchange and dialogue. Stafford’s signature contribution to evaluation—the introduction and development of Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE)—has provided the ethical, conceptual, and methodological foundations of our collective work. Though words are hard to find to express the outpouring of love and support from our colleagues around the world, we write this joint statement in gratitude.
Stafford spent a career moving assessment and evaluation toward equity and justice. He changed how we think about and practice inquiry. His work prompted us to critically reflect on what we learn and on how that knowledge is used. He did this by:
Stafford’s conceptualization of Culturally Responsive Evaluation is rooted in education and assessment. His early thinking that culminated in CRE began in education, specifically drawing upon the work of Carol Lee (1990) and Gloria Ladson-Billings (1995a-b) on culturally relevant pedagogy and that of Edmund Gordon (1995) and Sylvia Johnson (1998) in educational assessment. In 1997, Dr. Hood chaired a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Chicago. This conversation led Sylvia Johnson to organize a special issue of the Journal of Negro Education, 67(3), for which Hood served as Guest Editor. They asserted that pedagogy that is responsive to cultural strengths will engage and motivate students to perform better in school (Johnson, 1998). Stafford extended this logic to assessment, arguing that culturally relevant pedagogy requires assessment strategies that are congruent with its basic tenets and that student learning may be “more effectively assessed by using approaches that are also culturally responsive” (1998b, p. 189). Hood both respected and challenged the thinking of the best measurement theorists of the day, calling upon us to reconsider “the cultural values that have defined psychometric constructs [and] the agreed-upon evidence that underpins their validity” (p. 191). This remains a timely challenge today (Hood, Frierson, Hopson & Arbuthnot, 2022).
From his conceptualization of culturally responsive assessment, Stafford then made the bridge to evaluation. He unfailingly reinforced the connection between assessment and evaluation and kept assessment squarely in the sights of evaluators.
Stafford first used the term “culturally responsive evaluation” in his presentation at the 1998 Stake Symposium, a festschrift honoring Robert Stake upon his retirement from UIUC. Stake’s inclusion of multiple value perspectives in his model of Responsive Evaluation created a compatible opening to bring explicit attention to culture. Stafford’s (1998c) description of “Responsive evaluation Amistad style” explicitly linked responsiveness to culture and cultural differences, emphasizing the importance of shared lived experience between the evaluators/observers and persons intended to be served and observed.
Stafford was a networker par excellence; he had a natural ability to bring people together and spark productive, sometimes provocative conversations. The year after the Stake Symposium, Stafford co-founded the Arizona State University’s national conference on the Relevance of Assessment and Culture in Evaluation (RACE). On the evaluation side, this coincided with the initiation of the American Evaluation Association’s Building Diversity Initiative (BDI), and Stafford’s wisdom was again sought as he was concurrently invited to join the BDI Oversight Committee and the Diversity Committee of the AEA.
The synergy of these conversations led to a series of grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), supporting a variety of interventions, evaluations, and theory development. Stafford joined with Dr. Melvin Hall to field test, evaluate, and revise the emerging theory under the signature of the Relevance of Culture in Evaluation Institute (RCEI). After shifting his academic affiliation to UIUC in 2008, Stafford realized his vision of a Center devoted to equity and justice in evaluation and assessment. He became founding director of CREA in 2011, and he once again gathered us into conversation. To date, there have been six CREA conferences, and a seventh is planned for fall 2023. Both the conference themes and the invited plenary addresses of CREA consistently give balanced attention to evaluation and assessment, international perspectives, and Indigenous knowledges.
While the overarching framework of CRE is inclusive, Stafford also emphasized the importance of cultural specificity. At the inaugural meeting of the African Evaluation Association in Nairobi in 1999, Stafford challenged the idea that evaluative standards developed in the United States should be adopted for use in African countries, arguing in favor of the African Evaluation Association starting anew to develop evaluation guidelines for African countries “by them, for them.” In a second example, Stafford collaborated with coauthors Pamela Frazier-Anderson and Rodney Hopson to craft an African American culturally responsive evaluation system, using the symbol of Sankofa (Frazier-Anderson, Hood, & Hopson, 2012).
Over three decades, Stafford schooled us in history that was absent in our formal training. Building upon his own experience, he elevated the contributions of African Americans and located social justice against a historical backdrop of exploitation and oppression, strength, and resilience. The Nobody Knows My Name project raised up distinguished African American scholars whose work was eclipsed and ignored by their white counterparts. This historical inquiry documented the contributions of scholars of color such as Edward L. Washington and Rose Butler Browne (Hood, 2001; Frazier-Anderson & Bertrand Jones, 2015), Reid E. Jackson (Hood, 2001; Hopson & Hood, 2005), Aaron Brown (Hood, 2001), Leander Boykin (Hood, 2001), Asa G. Hilliard (Hood & Hopson, 2008) and Charles H. Thompson (Hood & Hopson, 2018) . These important stories both educate white evaluators on the major contributions of scholars of color and starkly reveal the omission of such stories in our professional training and literature. The value of this project for assessment and evaluation is substantial. One cannot claim to have considered culture fully if one is ignorant of history.
Stafford appreciated and respected the role of students as the future of evaluation (Hood, 2014), and he made mentoring a major priority through his research. Stafford also played a significant role as an instructor and mentor of the American Evaluation Association’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program from its inception in 2004, acting in his words “as one of the ‘uncles’ in the GEDI extended family” (2014, p. 110). He was generous with his time in supporting colleagues and students alike.
Stafford Hood embarked on a personal journey to understand the role of culture in assessment and evaluation, which he characterized as “nothing less than a lifelong endeavor” (Hood, 2004, p. 35). He was a cherished friend and esteemed colleague. He is deeply missed.
We’re sharing the sad news of the passing of Don Compton with the AEA community, an active AEA member and well-known to many. He was active in several TIGs, authored and co-authored many AJE volumes and, to honor the impressive work he did in building evaluation capacity at the American Cancer Society, was the 2000 recipient of the Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award. Most won’t know this, but what is now known as the AEA Summer Evaluation Institute grew out of an annual ACS conference Don hosted for fellows participating in the ACS Evaluation Practicum he ran each year. Don was a great friend to many and will be missed. See his official obituary below. For more information feel free to contact Michael Schooley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tom Chapel (email@example.com).
Donald Wayne Compton, 71, of Tucker, Georgia, passed away suddenly on March 13, 2023. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, April 15th at 11:00 AM at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 4882 Lavista Road, Tucker, GA 30084. Born in Blacksburg, Virginia, on January 8, 1952, Don was the son of the late Stan and Helen Compton. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Susan McCain. Don graduated from Hamlin University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in sociology. He went on to earn his Masters degree in sociology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1976. Don earned his Ph.D. as Doctor in Philosophy specializing in education, youth studies, and sociology from the University of Minnesota in 1980. He worked for over 10 years in education program evaluation in Houston and Austin, Texas. In 1991, Don worked as an Evaluation Specialist for the Virginia Department of Education. Don moved to Atlanta in 1995 and became the Director of Evaluation Services with the American Cancer Society. In 2003 Don started working with CDC and stayed for over 10 years as a Health Scientist for the Office on Smoking and Health, the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, and the Division of Oral Health. After his time with the CDC, Don stayed on as an Independent Program Consultant in the public health, education, and non-profit sector before officially retiring in 2022. Always living life to the fullest, Don’s favorite activities included fishing, camping, spending time with his family and friends, and Virginia Tech Hokie sports. Don was the best at sharing great stories, especially given his exciting life. Don had a wicked sense of humor and the most compassionate heart that will be forever remembered. Don is survived by his two sons, Jonathan Compton and Marco Compton; his wife, Jianping Zeng, all of Tucker, GA; and stepson Shaojing Lu, of New York.