Request for Letters of Interest: AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program Director and Host Institution: 2017-2019
Deadline: April 1, 2017  

Are you committed to fostering the growth of the next generation of evaluators? Are you a faculty member or practitioner committed to the involvement of members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the field of evaluation? Are you and your academic institution looking for an opportunity to take a critical volunteer position within AEA?

The American Evaluation Association is seeking a dedicated, qualified candidate to serve for two years (academic years 2017-18 and 2018-19) as the Program Director (or Program Co-Directors)  for the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program. This program brings together a cohort of 10-15 outstanding graduate students from around the country for a 10-month internship consisting of workshops, training, networking, and mentoring opportunities.

Program Purpose and Goals

The Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year. The GEDI program works to engage and support students from groups traditionally under-represented in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to:

  • Expand the pool of graduate students of color and from other under-represented groups who have extended their research capacities to evaluation.
  • Stimulate evaluation thinking concerning under-represented communities and culturally responsive evaluation.
  • Deepen the evaluation profession’s capacity to work in racially, ethnically and culturally diverse settings.

Interns may come from a variety of disciplines including public health, education, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, social work, and the natural sciences. Their commonality is a strong background in research skills, an interest in extending their capacities to the field of evaluation, and a commitment to thinking deeply about culturally responsive evaluation practice.

Program Overview

The interns gather for the first time in August and/or early September for three days to receive an orientation to the program, evaluation, and culturally responsive evaluation practice. The students attend the AEA Annual Conference for a full week in the fall, where they attend pre-conference workshops and multiple education sessions. They also meet with the Program Director to give updates on their evaluation-focused service learning project.

The students gather again in January or February for three days to receive further training as well as coaching and feedback on their progress related to their internship projects. They gather for a final time for four days in June at the AEA Summer Institute to present and receive feedback on their final projects, attend the Institute, and take part in a commencement ceremony. Concurrently, they participate in a 10-month site-based internship placement that provides them with real-time, hands-on practice in evaluation skills.

Program and Leadership History

 Duquesne University (2003-09)

  • Rodney Hopson (Director)
  • Prisca Collins (Coordinator)
  • Tanya Brown (Coordinator)

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2009-11)

  • Rita O’Sullivan and Michelle Jay (Co-Directors)

Claremont Graduate University (2011-present)

  • Stewart Donaldson (Director)*
  • Katrina Bledsoe (Co-Director)
  • Ashaki M. Jackson (Co-Director)*
  • John LaVelle (Coordinator
  • Richard Dowlat (Coordinator)*

*Denotes those currently serving

Current leadership proposes strong academic sites at which evaluation programming is offered and resources can be shared to support that site as a home base.

Program Director Role and Responsibilities

The Program Director role is fundamental to achieving the present and future goals of AEA’s GEDI internship program. Therefore, it requires a deep investment in developing interns while consistently meeting specified program objectives. To ensure operational excellence, past Program Directors have elected to designate a Program Co-Director to assist with administrative tasks, cohort oversight, and maintaining relationships with the host sites. This assistance is highly recommended.

The Program Director is responsible for the following key facets of the internship program:

  • Overseeing the curriculum: As Program Director, thought leadership is indispensable. Therefore, the Program Director will build on the existing curriculum to refine a curricular framework for the program that spans the two stand-alone trainings and is supplemented by thoughtful workshop and session selection for the conference and Summer Institute.
  • Facilitating training:The Program Director will provide introductory evaluation training and coaching to the interns during the two stand-alone trainings and any conference call follow-ups and will work with the AEA staff to arrange for outside speakers and facilitators to supplement their offerings. For example, the Program Director might facilitate/coach approximately 50 percent of the opening workshop training and 25 percent of the winter training, with the content provided by the Program Director supplemented during the training retreats by site visits, discussion groups, and the presentations of other facilitators. Presumably, Co-Directors would facilitate a larger percentage, drawing on the expertise of two leaders.
  • Serving as coach: While Program Director is not responsible for serving as a mentor per se, their investment in helping students move through the program and connect with other professionals and/or resources is key to the success of the internship program. The Program Director will thus provide interns guidance through the program through monthly conference calls and email exchanges on a regular basis.
  • Serving as host:The Program Director is the champion for fostering strong relationships with interns. Therefore, the Program Director serves as host at all four events, and will be responsible for connecting with the interns, welcoming them, and encouraging networking and professional growth.

AEA staff will be responsible for the operational aspects of the program, including overseeing student recruitment, handling logistics for all meetings, and funds management. The AEA staff and Program Director will work collaboratively on selecting and securing placement sites. The Program Director/Co-Director will work collaboratively with the AEA Executive Director and staff to set policies regarding recruitment, student selection, and general guidance for the program. The extent to which the Director participates in the selection and advisory process is at the Director’s discretion.

Program Director Criteria

The Program Director should meet the following six criteria:

  • Have completed a master’s or doctoral degree and be teaching or practicing in the field of evaluation
  • Have experience of successful teaching or training in the field of evaluation or related areas
  • Possess knowledge of the needs and experiences of traditionally underrepresented students and/or students of color
  • Have knowledge of culturally responsive evaluation practices
  • Have the ability to guide or coach students or young professionals
  • Be available to attend four training opportunities each year for the next two years as described above
  • Be affiliated with an academic institution with a strong evaluation program/component

This is primarily a service-focused position. The Program Director(s)will receive travel support (airfare, accommodations, and registration) for the Summer Institute and for either of the stand-alone trainings not held within driving distance. The Program Director(s) will also be reimbursed for a hotel for up to three nights at the Annual Conference, recognizing the need to arrive early or stay late in support of the student interns. In addition, the Program Director will receive a stipend of $20,000 in recognition of the facilitation work involved in leading this program.

In most recent years, the Director has also created opportunities for members of their internal team to participate in the process to learn how the program works and to offer administrative support and guidance.

Program Co-Director Role and Responsibilities

The Program Co-Director plays an intricate role in ensuring that the vision and mission of the American Evaluation Association is realized. This role is designed to not only assist the Program Director in key administrative functions, but to also be a conduit for the continued growth of the program.  The position is funded through a total stipend amount of $5,000. No additional funding is provided by AEA.

The following are the key responsibilities for the Program Co-Director: 

Serving as key liaison:  The Program Co-Director will maintain direct communication with supervisors throughout the year regarding program updates and upcoming activities.  This will include in-person meetings when requested. The individual will also distribute monthly announcements to the GEDI community about pertinent news as well as job and grant opportunities. The Program Co-Director will frequently check-in with scholars to access initial program experience as well as answer questions and requests through the year. As liaison, the Program Co-Director will work diligently to ensure all field concerns are promptly responded to when needed. The Program Co-Director will also be asked to deliver a speech at the yearly winter conference as well as introducing a variety of conference speakers, including theorists, scholars, and practitioners.

Coordinating meetings: A key initiative of Program Co-Director will be to ensure the planning and coordination of GEDI Webinars, Seminars, and Conferences throughout the year. This will include but is not limited to logistical preparations such as identifying, inviting, and hosting GEDI partners to instruct for webinars, as well as creating itineraries, taking notes, as disseminating information regarding meeting previously recorded and future meetings. The Program Co-Director will ensure the fostering of continued relationships with AEA management, instructors, and host sites.

Creating value: The Program Co-Director will have the opportunity to create value for the yearly conference by attending workshops and recommended sessions and by collecting sample handouts and networking with potential conference instructors. Program Co-Director will also meet with scholar groups socially to discuss pre-determined topics.

Setting up online-systems: Core to administrative functions will be the continuous update of submission and return deadlines, as well as ensuring the distribution of comprehensive bi-weekly program messages with resources. The Program Co-Director will also be essential to maintaining the electronic portfolio for each scholar which will include copies of all group deliverables as well individual deliverables that will be distributed by the program’s end.

Ensuring excellence: The Program Co-Director will distribute key deliverable instructions and explain to the scholars verbally. This will include reading and rigorously editing all drafts for excellence in content logic, quality, and clarity. He or she will also take initiative by coordinating a team of readers if the number of deliverables cannot be reviewed in a timely manner. 


Serving in this role(s) comes with a great deal of responsibility and is seen as an invaluable contribution to the evaluation profession, AEA, and expanding the awareness of and opportunity to diverse and underrepresented community. Regarding compensation, the Program Director will receive $20,000 payable in two (2) installments of $10,000. The Program Co-Director will receive $5,000 payable in two (2) installments of $2,500. Each stipend installment amount will be paid at the beginning of each cohort and upon successful completion of each program year.

Application Process

To apply on or before April 1, 2017, please submit a letter of interest and a curriculum vitae or résumé via email to zgrays@eval.org. The letter should be no more than three pages in length and should detail:

  1. the ways in which you meet each of the six specified criteria;
  2. why you are interested in leading this program;
  3. any unique qualities, experiences, or background that you bring to this opportunity that would further enhance your ability to fulfill the role; and
  4. any specific support your place of employment/institution plans to offer you in this endeavor.

Questions? Please contact Denise Roosendaal, AEA Executive Director, at droosendaal@eval.org or (202) 367-1166.