I didn’t blog last week. I made a choice: Get work off my desk before I left for my daughter’s commencement or write this week’s blog. I chose to get work off my desk, and even then didn’t get all the work done. Choices are tough. I often wonder if there is a right answer or just an answer with less consequences. I don’t know. I will continue to make choices; I will continue to weigh my options. I hope that I am doing “good”. I often wonder whether I am.
In evaluation, there are a lot of choices to make at any stage of the evaluation, beginning to end. Since most of the programs I evaluate have an educational focus, I found this quote meaningful. It comes from something David Foster Wallace is credited with (he is the author who is known for “how’s the water”) “Overall purpose of higher education is to be able to consciously choose how to perceive others, think about meaning, and act appropriately in everyday life.” Wallace argues that the “true freedom acquired through education is the ability to be adjusted, conscious, and sympathetic.”
Although not speaking specifically to evaluators, I think that his thoughts are germane to evaluation (substitute evaluation for higher education/education). Today I read a piece on some social media venue that reminded us to try to see life/things/items as others see them (the example used was a black/red book). I was reminded to consciously choose how to view things as others perceive them. And as a result of perceiving things as others see them perhaps I can act appropriately. The AEA guiding principles and the Program Evaluation Standards help evaluators to to hear voices of others; to act appropriately; to consciously choose what needs to be done. No easy task.