Leaders In Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (AECF)

Vision and Mission

LEEAD is based on the fundamental belief that increasing diversity in the field of research and evaluation improves our knowledge base and makes for better science and social innovation. Our mission is to increase the diversity of the field by developing pipelines of leaders from communities that are underrepresented in the field and who are committed to culturally responsive and equitable evaluation. LEEAD is a program of Expanding the Bench®, a race and ethnicity equity and inclusion initiative led by the Research, Evaluation, Evidence and Data (REED) unit of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. LEEAD supports talented researchers in their pursuits of careers in evaluation that will influence the life outcomes of children, families and communities.

Core Values 

  • Equity: We seek to create a fair and just society through scholars who will conduct culturally responsive evaluations that raise the voices of underserved communities.
  • Diversity: We value diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds to strengthen the knowledge base.
  • Leadership: We strive to develop leaders who will advance inclusion and influence others to join in equitable research and evaluation.
  • Excellence: We believe that increased diversity and equitable evaluation will raise the standard of excellence in practice and policy that will benefit all children and families.

Who Should Apply? 

The program welcomes the applications of accomplished, mid-career scholars from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who aspire to become leaders in the field of evaluation. Applicants must be able to commit to a rigorous training program to develop their evaluation competencies through intensive online instruction and professional mentoring.

About the Program 

The LEEAD program consists of three essential components: 1) a semester of online-based evaluation coursework; 2) ongoing mentorship from established experts in evaluation; and 3) a remote evaluation residency placement at a research organization, think tank, foundation or private firm. Additionally, scholars will participate in two in-person gatherings of the broader LEEAD Network. 

  • Coursework: LEEAD uses an intensive, fast-track program curriculum that combines online evaluation course modules and professional development course electives. Informed by an assessment of the scholars’ competencies and professional interests, scholars will enroll in select credit-bearing course modules administered by the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UW-Stout) Evaluation Certificate online program. The scholar will engage in self-directed, self-paced study. A minimum of 10 hours a week is estimated to complete the 24-topic module over the fall semester. In addition to the online modules, scholars will participate in a series of professional development sessions and electives on specialized evaluation skills. Professional development sessions will include topics related to network building, securing and negotiating contracts, and managing challenges around race/ethnicity equity and inclusion in the workplace. Specialized electives topics offered last year included NVivo and Implementation Science. Topics are informed by the needs of the cohorts and our partnered host sites.
  • Mentorship: Mentoring is an essential component of the LEEAD program and will occur throughout the program cycle and beyond. Mentoring efforts will be focused on supporting scholars in attaining an evaluation subcontract for their remote residency placement. Mentors will work with scholars to hone their proposals in response to open projects from partnering sites such as evaluation firms, nonprofits and other organizations requiring evaluation services. Once an evaluation project is obtained, mentors will then focus their efforts on coaching the scholar through a successful remote residency experience.
  • Remote Residency: The LEEAD residency is a culminating project where scholars will apply their developed evaluation competencies at a partnered host site and add specialized experience in evaluation to their curriculum vitae. Scholars are expected to execute discrete evaluation projects of about 40-60 hours of work accomplished remotely over the duration of a six- to nine-month contract period. Scholars will be considered subcontractors and paid as consultants at a competitive hourly rate. The host site and scholar can agree to extend the contract for a longer term. Since the residency will involve discrete projects, they can be completed by the scholar remotely and do not require relocation. Scholars will be expected to include a culturally responsive evaluative lens to their work. Practicum host sites include large, reputable evaluation organizations such as: Child Trends, American Institutes for Research, the University of Memphis, Harder & Company, Mathematica Policy Research, ORS Impact, RAND Corporation and Urban Institute. 

The Need for LEEAD 

Who is doing science has significant implications for the questions asked, the methods chosen, the patterns observed and the recommendations made. While researchers and evaluators aim to reduce biases, it is impossible to entirely shed individual and cultural experiences at the laboratory door. To avoid correlated biases in how problems and populations are studied, researchers from multiple backgrounds and experiences must contribute. Whereas life practices, perspectives, values and motivations are individually nuanced, they are often correlated with demographic groupings, such as race and ethnicity, social class and gender.[1] The lack of racial and ethnic diversity within entities that steer the construction of knowledge, such as universities and research institutes, limits our knowledge of social problems and jeopardizes our ability to resolve them. The lack of diversity in evaluation firms and policy think tanks also constrains our ability to use knowledge to improve practices and policies in social services. The benefits of diversity can extend well beyond the construction of knowledge to social innovation. Diversity promotes creative thinking by expanding a group's capacity for viewing issues or problems from multiple perspectives, angles and vantage points.[2] Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity takes advantage of the increasing numbers of underrepresented minority (URM) researchers earning doctoral degrees and who have already obtained the necessary methodological skill sets to conduct rigorous research. Many bright minds are ready to pursue the world of evaluation if afforded the opportunities and resources to build their capacity as evaluators.


The Annie E. Casey Foundation will sponsor 20 scholars in 2017. Scholars are expected to commit a minimum of $500 to travel costs for in-person meetings; the Foundation will cover all other expenses.

Eligibility and Qualifications 

We are seeking URM scholars who have four to eight years of experience in research and/or evaluation in criminal justice, psychology, public policy, public health, mental health, social psychology, sociology, economics, social work or related fields, with at least three years of that experience occurring post-doctorate. Other eligibility and qualifications criteria include:

  • Historically underrepresented minorities such as African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and underrepresented Asians (examples of underrepresented Asians are Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian[3])
  • Currently residing in the United States and eligible to work in the United States
  • Doctoral degree with at least three years of post-doctoral experience in research and/or evaluation
  • Endorsement from chair or dean of faculty member at an academic institution
  • Evidence of leadership capacity with potential for future growth as a thought leader in their field
  • Demonstrated expertise in Casey's priority program areas including child welfare, juvenile justice, economic opportunity, place-based strategies and early childhood development (see Casey website for more information)
  • Demonstrated interest in conducting evaluations
  • Commitment to social justice and equity
  • Comfort with interacting in virtual collaborative spaces such as video conferencing and networks like LinkedIn
  • Must participate in two in-person meetings: one meeting at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 2017 and the 2018 American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference in Cleveland

Key Dates

Applications are due 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 14, 2017. Applicants will be informed if they made it to the interview round by May 15. Final selections will be announced by June 30. The program starts in August 2017 with the first in-person gathering at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore in early September 2017. To apply, visit the LEEAD webpage or visit https://leead.workable.com. For more information please see our frequently asked questions flier, or contact [email protected].

[1] Gutiérrez, K. D., & Rogoff, B. (2003). Cultural ways of learning: Individual traits or repertoires of practice. Educational Researcher32(5), 19-25. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b0c7/d79c55cad2c4e4aeee591cfe2608c5c5c0a8.pdf

[2] Ioannides, Y. M. (2010). A review of Scott E. Page’s “The difference: How the power of diversity creates better groups, firms, schools, and societies.” Journal of Economic Literature, 48(1), 108–122.

Retrieved from http://ase.tufts.edu/economics/documents/papers/2009/ioannidesReviewPage.pdf

[3] We are targeting Asian groups underrepresented in research and evaluation relative to other Asian groups. There is evidence that groups such as Hmong, Cambodian and Laotian face patterns of challenges in access to opportunity. According to the Census 2000 report, these groups had the highest proportion with less than a high school degree and lowest median incomes. (Reeves, T. J., & Bennett, C. E. (2004, December). We the people: Asians in the United States Census 2000 Special Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/censr-17.pdf)

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