Calling All Creatives

We are thrilled to be announcing the inaugural call for submissions for the first ever DEI e-Anthology of Developmental Evaluation (DE) for Social Justice. This project is the culmination of many hours of creative conversations, insights, and recommendations from evaluation practitioners and community members from around the world!

Our aim in producing this e-Anthology is to bring together individuals from around the world who are interested in topics pertaining to the eight principles of DE for social justice to illuminate what DE looks like in practice, why DE is particularly suited in work in social justice context, the value of including voice underrepresented communities in the practice of DE, and to have tangible tool and resource for social justice developmental evaluation practitioners and community members.

As you may have seen in our call for submission this inaugural e-Anthology will center around our eight principles for DE for social justice which include:

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 1.17.43 PM.png

(1) Co-creation

(2) Innovative Niche

(3) Systems Thinking

(4) Complexity Concepts

(5) Utilization-Focused Evaluation

(6) Developmental Social Justice Purposes

(7) Timely and Culturally Appropriate Feedback

(8) Evaluation Rigour

...and one (or multiple!) or our working principles: social justice, undivided selves, connectedness, community facing, artistic expression, loving relationships, and generosity of spirit.

We are seeking short essays, quotes, book reviews, podcasts, musical lyrics, poetry, photo essays, quotes, policy notes or program briefs, and any other creative submissions which seek to illuminate the principles and practice of developmental evaluation for social justice and are written for an interdisciplinary readership.

The goals of the creation of the e-Anthology are to establish a network of relevant individuals interested and passionate about developmental evaluation for social justice; gather knowledge, wisdom and insight, and experiences pertaining to the theory and practice of DE; create an overarching model and supporting content for the forthcoming DEI course curriculum.

We are eager to hear your voice! Please send your submission to by March 14th, 2018.

In addition, the editorial board of DEI is also seeking peer reviewers and copy-editors for the inaugural DEI e-anthology to assist with reviewing and editing the first edition and future edition. To volunteer for any of these positions, please fill out this brief volunteer form.

Please comment below or contact us with any questions you have, we look forward to hearing from you.

Warm greetings from the Minnesota team

What does development mean, anyway? As students in a Masters of Development Practice program learning about Developmental Evaluation, you'd think we'd have a clue! Yet, one of the questions that continues to elude us is how to explain our degree with the wide range of meanings and uses of the term, "development." There's child development and economic development; new housing or business developments and development as nonprofit fundraising. Research and development is a big one, professional development, international development (our degree program) and of course, developmental evaluation (what we're doing here)!  With such a ubiquitous term, it becomes difficult to tell what any "developmental" thing actually is just by the name.

We're used to that! So we're looking forward over the coming months to a deeper exploration of Developmental Evaluation. What is it? How do we learn how to do it? What are the principles that guide it? What does it look like in real life? How does it relate to whatever we're doing? How can we use it to advance social justice? We are looking forward to learning the answers to these questions, and meeting you who can guide us along the way. Look out for us in your inboxes, on this blog, around our haunt at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and elsewhere (probably not in Bali, but we can dream, can't we?). We're on a quest to help launch DEI and grow a collective understanding of Developmental Evaluation along the way. We are:


Vanessa Voller

While originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Vanessa has most recently been calling southern Costa Rica and Colorado home. Academically, Vanessa's interests are in examining youth’s aspirations and alternative models to sustainable growth. Beginning in September 2018, she will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Comparative International Education at the University of Minnesota. Outside of school, Vanessa enjoys climbing, long-distance running, and brewing kombucha. Vanessa is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Developmental Evaluation Institute and will be helping to create the first ever e-collection of stories, art, spoken word, and essays about the principles of DE. 


Jennifer Compton

Hailing from the state of Iowa, Jennifer has made her way from the midwestern U.S., to the Middle East, and back again. She has studied in Morocco, worked in Jordan, and is interested in issues of forced migration and improving systems for people who are refugees. Her professional experience is in adult literacy education, nonprofit fundraising, and community engagement and partnership building. In addition to being a student, Jennifer fashions herself a runner, gardener, and Sunday crossword aficionado. She joins this team enthusiastically and is looking forward to working on the DEI website and resource library.


Patrick Roisen

Patrick is originally from Buenos Aires (Argentina), and spent a majority of his upbringing living in various international places and contexts. In addition to his graduate studies, Patrick works at the Institute on the Environment (IonE), managing a university-wide teaching fellowship program for the Sustainability Education department. Before arriving at the University of Minnesota, Patrick served over three years in West Africa as a Peace Corps Education Specialist with a non-governmental organization focused on gender policy and female empowerment. Patrick's professional interests include environmental policy, program evaluation and exploring how philanthropy can effectively solve complex challenges. In May he will be moving to Baltimore, Maryland and join Lutheran World Relief as the New Business Development Manager in the Strategic Partnerships unit. Patrick's hobbies include tennis, cooking, and listening to Minnesota Public Radio. He will be lending his strategic eye to the team to explore the many possibilities for how DEI might continue to take shape. 

What's new for DEI in 2018


The new year is well upon us and we have been busy these past few weeks sowing seeds so that we might enjoy a bountiful harvest of new ideas, partnerships, art, and learning in 2018.

We're especially looking forward to a few developments that are getting off and running:

New Partnership with the University of Minnesota

For the next four months we'll be collaborating with a small team of students from the University of Minnesota who are interested in developmental evaluation, program design, and strategic planning to fast forward our DEI initiative. The students are studying in the Masters of Development Practice program, a curriculum which encourages thinking across academic disciplines in complex scenarios to work for sustainable, positive change. The team will be helping us imagine what DEI can grow into, developing pilot projects for you all to test, and asking for input and ideas from our community of supporters, including you who are reading this very blog!

Ways YOU can get involved in the process!

To grow and nurture this new initiative - we need your input! We'd like this space to be one for idea sharing and two-way communication. At its least, a blog shares updates and information (which isn't bad!), but at its best, an online forum can facilitate interaction between people halfway across the world. That is in part what we hope to accomplish, eventually, with DEI and so we hope that by commenting, contributing, and sharing, you will help us turn this into your site, as much as it is ours. If you have ideas or questions already about what you would like to see, post a comment! Send an e-mail! Don't be shy about letting us know what will keep you looking forward to checking in with us each week.

Moving forward with the Developmental Evaluation Institute (DEI)

Finally, we're pleased to announce another DEI weeklong training is in the works for late April of this year. Check back soon for updates, and know that we are mindfully preparing the course to be inclusive for people from all backgrounds and levels of experience.

Happy New(ish) Year to you! May all the work you're doing bear glorious fruit.

Developmental Evaluation for Social Justice Institute: Faster Forward Fund Grant Funding

The Developmental Evaluation Institute for Social Justice Institute is the brainchild of Nora Murphy of the TerraLuna Collaborative and Kate McKegg and Nan Wehipeihana of the Kinnect Group. Still, In the early design and development stage, the Institute aims to provide an alternative pathway for new evaluators from under-represented communities who want to work as Developmental Evaluators for social justice. Follow the progress of the Institute here. Nora, Kate, and Nan would like to acknowledge The Faster Forward Fund for providing grant funding to support the development and launch of the Institute.