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.