Dialogues on Race and Class

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Moderator - Melvin Hall - Northern Arizona University Professor, Former Member AEA Board of Directors

MELVIN E. HALL, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Psychology at Northern Arizona University.  Dr. Hall completed his B.S., and Ph.D., degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in Social Psychology and Educational Psychology respectively; and M.S. in Counseling at Northern Illinois University.

During a forty plus-year professional career in higher education, Dr. Hall has served in four successive appointments, as an academic dean, comprised of positions at Florida Atlantic University, University of California-Irvine, University of Maryland at College Park, and most recently Northern Arizona University (NAU).  At NAU, Dr. Hall served as Dean of the College of Education and additionally was the principal investigator on two five-year US Office of Education GEAR UP grants providing dropout prevention programs and services to thousands of middle and high school students throughout Arizona. 

Returning to full-time faculty life in 2002, Dr. Hall has melded teaching and scholarship in Educational Psychology with responsibility as co-principal investigator on five-years of National Science Foundation support for the Relevance of Culture in Evaluation Institute.  Subsequent to the RCEI grant, Dr. Hall began a continuing appointment as affiliated faculty in the Center for Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois.  As an external reviewer, Dr. Hall has served on numerous review panels and Committee of Visitors for the National Science Foundation EHR Division including an invited expert panel on the future of evaluation methodology in STEM programs. In 2015, he accepted an appointment as an intermittent expert at NSF and in that, capacity serves as a program officer for the ADVANCE and HBCU UP Programs within the Human Resource Development Division of the EHR Directorate.

For several years, Dr. Hall served on the American Evaluation Association Standing Committee on Diversity, initiating the association’s published statement on the importance of Cultural Competence in the field of Program Evaluation. In 2013, Dr. Hall became an elected member of the American Evaluation Association Board of Directors. In addition, he a member of the Inclusive Excellence Commission of AAC&U and the External Advisory committee for the Collaborative for the Advancement of STEM Leadership (CASL).

Confirmed Panelists

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Dr. Robin Lin Miller, Professor of Ecological - Community Psychology at Michigan State University

She has 25 years of experience evaluating HIV prevention and care programs in community-based and clinical environments. A recent member of the AEA Board of Directors, she has also served as editor of the American Journal of Evaluation, Chair of the publications oversight committee, Annual Conference Chair, and is a double AEA award recipient earing both the Marcia Guttentag Early Career Award and the Robert Ingle Award for service to the profession. She has continued to evaluate HIV prevention and care programs, especially those targeting Black gay and bisexual youth. She also studies the long-term use of evidence-based principles and practices in AIDS-related service settings. In pursuing both areas, she has maintained an overarching interest research on evaluation theory, methods, and practice, and, in particular, how evaluation theories are used. Her most recent evaluations include a prospective meta-evaluation for the U.S. PEPFAR Caribbean Regional Program and an evaluation of the long-term health consequences of ex-offender re-entry assistance services for persons living with HIV.

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Alden Loury - Director of Research and Evaluation, Metropolitan Planning Commission

Director of Research and Evaluation, Metropolitan Planning Commission. Alden joined MPC in May 2016 as the director of research and evaluation. He works with staff and consultants to identify and execute MPC’s research agenda and to attract media attention for MPC’s findings. He follows trends and conducts primary research to produce reports, web content, conference presentations and regional indices for internal and external audiences.

Prior to joining MPC, Alden worked for the Better Government Association serving as an investigative reporter and as a policy analyst. During his time there, Alden provided research, data analyses and lobbying for reform efforts to address inefficient and unethical practices in government. He also wrote several stories analyzing campaign finance data, redistricting changes and government spending.

 Alden also spent 12 years at The Chicago Reporter serving as a reporter, an editor and publisher. During his time there, Alden won several journalism awards for stories highlighting the experiences of young black men and documenting racial disparities in drug sentencing, jury selection and jury verdicts. As an editor, he led and analyzed data for more than 50 investigative projects examining the impact of race and poverty in lottery ticket sales, fatal police shootings of civilians, retail leakage in black neighborhoods, residential development surrounding demolished public housing and subprime home mortgage lending, among others. As publisher, he shared The Chicago Reporter’s findings in numerous media appearances and meetings with elected officials.

 Alden began his journalism career in Champaign, Ill., where he worked as a radio anchor/reporter and newspaper reporter covering government and social services. He is a 1997 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A Chicago native, Alden grew up in the LeClaire Courts public housing development and the South Side's Auburn Gresham neighborhood, where he lives today. Alden is married with three daughters.

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Dr. Joan LaFrance 

Dr. Joan LaFrance is an enrolled Citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, North Dakota. She is the owner of Mekinak Consulting, a management and evaluation service specializing in educational program evaluation, research, and management studies. Mekinak Consulting has a long history of evaluation of programs in Tribal Colleges and Universities, tribal and indigenous communities, and for non-profit organizations. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), she conducted the research and co-authored the book Indigenous Evaluation Framework: Telling Our Story in Our Place and Time.

Currently, she is conducting research on the application of the Indigenous Evaluation Framework in three tribal college communities. In addition to her ongoing work in American Indian tribal communities, she is working projects in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands to assess culturally relevant mathematics curriculum and climate change education projects.

She has taught research and evaluation methods in graduate programs at a number of universities. She has done municipal budgeting, program development and management, and curriculum development. Joan received her doctorate from Harvard University, and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Washington.

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Dr. Amanda Lewis, Professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago

Dr. Lewis' research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life.  She is the author of Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color-line in Classrooms and Communities (2003).  She is also the co-editor (with Maria Krysan) of The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity (2004), and co-author (with Mark Chesler and Jim Crowfoot) of Challenging Racism in Higher Education: Promoting Justice (2005). 


Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, DuBois Review and Anthropology and Education Quarterly.  She also published (with John Diamond) Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools (Oxford, 2015).


Jonathan Holmes, Race and Equity Coordinator, Chicago Urban League

Jonathan Holmes has advocated for criminal justice and racial equity in Chicago for over 2 years. He is currently the Race and Equity Program Coordinator at the Chicago Urban League, where he supports the advancement of racial justice by placing racial equity in the center of policy discussions and decisions in Chicago. He previously served as the Policy Specialist for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless where he advocated for state reentry legislation and helped create the racial equity committee structure at his organization. Holmes holds an MSW from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (2014).

Lorraine Forte, Executive Editor, The Chicago Reporter 
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Lorraine Forte is the Executive Editor of The Chicago Reporter, a non-profit outlet that publishes investigative journalism on race and inequality. She has worked in online, print and broadcast media in Chicago and has taught journalism at Columbia College and Northwestern University. She received a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern and a bachelor's degree in English literature from Ohio State University.