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A Breakdown of the Program

LEEAD Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be updated regularly as questions come in about the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program.

General Questions About LEEAD

What is LEEAD?

Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) is a program of the Expanding the Bench® (ETB) Initiative, led by Change Matrix and funded by a generous group of funding partners.

Launched in January 2015, LEEAD is an intensive evaluation training program consisting of three essential components:

How many Scholars have gone through the Program?

LEEAD has had three cohorts, with 50 Scholars total having completed the Program.

Can this program be embarked on in conjunction with an existing full-time job?

The LEEAD Program was created to accommodate full-time professionals. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to assess their schedules and decide if they are able to commit to LEEAD for the duration of the Program.

Applicants should keep in mind that the LEEAD Program is expected to formally kick-off in August 2021 and end in November 2022. The curriculum portion of LEEAD spans the course of four months. It is projected that a weekly commitment of 6-8 hours is required to complete the curriculum coursework. The practicum portion of LEEAD should be accomplished within an 8-month timeframe. During that time, Scholars are expected to execute a discrete project totaling an estimated 60-80 hours of work.

In addition, Scholars should reserve time for regularly scheduled meetings with their Mentors throughout the course of the Program. For more information about the time commitment, please explore our timeline of key program activities found in the Scholar Overview Document.

Where can I find more information about LEEAD?

View the LEEAD Scholar Overview document or visit the About LEEAD page for more information about the Program.

Questions About Eligibility

Who should apply?

ETB is seeking racially and/or ethnically diverse applicants with a graduate degree and three (3) to seven (7) years of experience in research and/or evaluation, with at least three (3) years of that experience obtained after receiving your graduate degree. Please note that this program is designed for early- to mid-career researchers and/or evaluators with a background in criminal justice, psychology, public policy, public health, mental health, sociology, economics, social work, or related fields.

What are your eligibility and qualifications criteria?

Specific eligibility criteria include the following:

Are researchers with full-time positions in non-academic settings eligible to apply?

Yes, researchers with full-time positions in non-academic settings are eligible to apply. This program is designed for early- to mid-career professionals with three (3) to seven (7) years of experience in research and/or evaluation, with at least three (3) years of that experience occurring after receiving your graduate degree.

If my current job is at an academic institution, does the application require a letter of support from my chair?

If an academic institution employs the applicant, he/she/they must obtain a letter from a department chair or dean if selected as a finalist.

Do I need a PhD or Master’s degree in Research or Evaluation to apply?

No. While you do need a graduate degree, LEEAD welcomes a spectrum of degree disciplines.

Are applicants with graduate training in evaluation eligible for the Program? Is the evaluation material geared toward beginners or those who have more experience in evaluation?

Yes, applicants with graduate training in evaluation are eligible to apply for the Program. The LEEAD curriculum is geared toward researchers with some evaluation experience. The curriculum is structured to focus on CREE.

Am I eligible to apply if I received my PhD several years ago, but only recently acquired experience in the field of research/evaluation?

As long as you have three (3) to seven (7) years of experience in research and/or evaluation, with at least three (3) years of that experience occurring after receiving your graduate degree, you are eligible to apply to LEEAD. Please note that this program is designed for those early- to mid-career.

I won’t have three (3) years of postdoctoral experience in research and evaluation until August 2021. Am I still eligible to apply?

At least three (3) years of research and evaluation experience must have occurred after receiving one’s graduate degree and by the start of the LEEAD Program. The LEEAD Program formally kicks off in August 2021. As long as you meet the three-year threshold before the start of the Program, you are eligible to apply!

Are researchers and/or evaluators who have more than seven (7) years of experience after receiving their graduate degree eligible to apply?

No, applicants with more than seven (7) years of experience are not eligible to apply. Applicants with more than seven (7) years of experience focused in evaluation should consider participating in ETB’s Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network. Accepted applicants become part of an expert database used by philanthropic organizations and other commissioners of evaluation to consult during the selection process for evaluation contracts.

To stay up-to-date on our next Call for New Members to join the ACE Evaluation Network, please sign up for our monthly email communication, Bench (Re)Marks.

I am currently living in the United States and legally eligible to work with an H-1B1 visa. Am I eligible to apply for LEEAD?

The LEEAD Program requires Scholars to complete a CREE-focused evaluation project with a Practicum Site (e.g. evaluation/research firm, university, non-profit, or foundation). Because you are authorized to work in the U.S. for a specific employer through the H-1B1 program, your current employer would need to also serve as your LEEAD Practicum Site. In order for you to be eligible for LEEAD, your employer will need to submit a separate application (opens in the spring of the program year) and then identify a CREE-specific project that is separate from your current work responsibilities.

To continue with the LEEAD Scholar application, you will need to discuss this with your employer and confirm they are in agreement with the LEEAD Practicum Site requirements.

On the application, you will fill out a set of questions related to your employer’s commitment to serve as a LEEAD Practicum Site, including providing a detailed description of the Practicum Site Project you would be working on and have discussed with your employer, if selected to be a LEEAD Scholar. Keep in mind that the project must be separate from your current role and responsibilities and must incorporate a culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) approach. See examples of past projects here.

Please also note that at a certain point in our consideration of your candidacy for LEEAD, we may also ask your employer to provide us with a letter of commitment to serve as a Practicum Site.

May I apply again if not accepted in 2021?

Yes, applicants who are not accepted in 2021, or previous years and still meet the eligibility criteria, are welcome to apply again for subsequent cohorts.

Questions About How to Apply

Where can I apply?

During open application cycles, the application can be found on the Become a LEEAD Scholar page.

Can I preview the application questions?

Yes, to prepare for the application, we suggest you download and review the questions and prepare your responses offline in advance. Application questions will be released on the Become a LEEAD Scholar page in PDF and Word format when applications open.

Is there a way to complete the LEEAD application online, in one-sitting?

You may technically complete the LEEAD application in one sitting. Due to the complexity of the questions and information required, it is strongly suggested that you review the questions in advance and prepare responses offline through the PDF or Word document version of our application so that you may be able to copy and paste into the online application. Application questions will be released on the Become a LEEAD Scholar page in PDF and Word format when applications open.

Questions About Timeline

When is the application due?

Applications are due by 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

What are the stages in the selection process and when will I be notified of my status?

The selection process begins with a review of submitted applications (due April 14th). Those selected as finalists will be interviewed in May. Finalists are notified of selection by the end of May or early June 2021.

When and where are the finalist interviews held?

Applicants will be informed if they made it to the interview round by early- to mid-May 2021. Finalist interviews will be virtual via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom.

When will the next cohort of LEEAD Scholars begin?

Selected LEEAD Scholars will be matched with their Mentors in June 2021. The Program will officially kick-off on August 10-11, 2021 with the LEEAD Symposium Event which will take place virtually. The online curriculum will begin in September 2021.

Questions About Travel and Costs

Is the LEEAD Program on or off-site?

The LEEAD Program is a mostly virtual program that includes completion of the curriculum and the practicum project. Due to health risks associated with COVID-19, we are planning only one in-person meeting at the conclusion of Cohort 4 during the 2022 American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference*. Practicum Sites, Mentors, and Scholars may coordinate additional in-person meetings as needed and when safe to do so.

*At this time, the AEA Conference is scheduled to take place as planned, but we are keeping a close eye to ensure travel and conference attendance will be possible, given the COVID-19 crisis.

Is there a fee to participate? Will the Scholar be given a stipend for participating this program?

There is no direct fee for participating, although Scholars are expected to contribute to their travel costs for our in-person event. There is only one in-person meeting expected to be held at the culmination to coincide with the AEA conference in 2022, pending safety precautions. Scholars do not receive a stipend for participating in the LEEAD Program.

Questions About the Mentorship

How are Mentors and Scholars matched?

The LEEAD Team will ask both Scholars and Mentors to complete an assessment that gathers information on personal background, research interests, mentoring needs and approaches, work settings, geographic locations, and much more. This is used to conduct the one-to-one matches. Matches are made based on opportunities for strong connections, thus Mentors are selected based on the Cohort’s overall characteristics and career interests.

How can I become a LEEAD Mentor?

In March 2021, the LEEAD Team will begin recruiting applicants to participate as LEEAD Mentors in the 2021-2022 program year. For additional details about serving as a Mentor, please download the Mentor Overview (pdf).

If you are interested in becoming a Mentor for the LEEAD Program, make sure you’re receiving ETB’s monthly newsletter, Bench (Re)marks for updates.

Questions About the Evaluation Curriculum

Can you tell me more about the online-based evaluation coursework?

Scholars are required to complete online-based evaluation coursework through American University. LEEAD uses an intensive, fast-track curriculum that combines online evaluation course modules with a focus on the theory and practice of culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE). Please note that the coursework is not credit-bearing.

Is the online course a self-guided program? Or are there time-bound dates/times for completion?

Scholars engage in self-directed, mostly asynchronous study. The curriculum includes weekly instruction (which can be viewed at your convenience throughout the week) and assignments that are time-sensitive throughout the 4-month period, from September – November 2021. It is estimated that a weekly commitment of 6-8 hours is required to complete the curriculum coursework.

Questions About Practicum Sites

How is the practicum experience organized for people who are working?

Scholars will be expected to execute discrete projects of 60-80 hours of work accomplished within an 8-month timeframe. Practicum Sites will contract directly with Scholars to complete a specific scope of work that can be completed remotely and does not require relocation.

Will the Scholar have to relocate to the facility where the practicum takes place, or is there a local option?

No, the Scholar is not expected to relocate for the practicum experience. The majority of past Scholars have completed the practicum remotely. Historically, many Practicum Sites have been based on the East Coast but the LEEAD Team will be actively recruiting Practicum Sites located throughout the country.

Can LEEAD Scholars stay at their home institutions to complete their practicum experience?

It is highly encouraged and preferred that Scholars use the pPracticum pProject as an opportunity to work with a new organization. However, LEEAD Scholars may elect to complete their practicum at their home institution if the evaluation project is separate from their current work and centers around CREE. The Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator must be affiliated with their home institution. Instructions for proposing a home institution residency placement will be made available to applicants once selected for the Program.

Will the scholar be the sole evaluator on the project during the practicum?

There is variance by practicum site. Some LEEAD Scholars have worked with a team of evaluators and others have worked independently. In either case, project Principal Investigators or other project leaders will provide supervision, similar to that provided to consultants working remotely.

Will Scholars receive compensation for their work on the practicum project?

Yes, the LEEAD Practicum Site will contract directly with the Scholar for a specific scope of work. Once a match is made by the LEEAD Team, Practicum Sites will contract with one or multiple Scholars for a minimum of 60-80 hours over the course of the practicum experience — this includes providing Scholars with a competitive hourly fee, commensurate with senior researcher level contractors. This rate is negotiated between the Practicum Site and the Scholar, once placed.

Will the Scholar be the sole evaluator on the project during the practicum?

There is variance by Practicum Site. Some of the past Scholars have worked with a team of evaluators and others have worked independently. In either case, project Principal Investigators or other project leaders will provide supervision, similar to that provided to consultants working remotely.

What organizations participate as practicum sites?

Every cohort is different, but LEEAD has had a diverse set of Practicum Sites that have included evaluation firms, foundations, think tanks, universities, and non-profit agencies committed to advancing the field of evaluation. Check out the previous (Cohort 3) Practicum Site Partners here!

How can my organization serve as a Practicum Site?

In the spring of 2021, recruiting for Practicum Sites to participate in the 2021-2022 program year will begin. For additional details about serving as a Practicum Site, please download the Practicum Overview (pdf).

If you are interested in becoming a Practicum Site Partner for the LEEAD Program, make sure you’re receiving ETB’s monthly newsletter, Bench (Re)marks for updates.

Questions About the ACE Evaluation Network

Can you tell me more about the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network?

As part of the larger ETB Initiative, the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network was created from the belief that information and data have the power to shape policy, programs, and practice and that evaluators from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds increase the likelihood that methods, analyses, and interpretation benefit the communities they serve. Diversity promotes creative thinking by expanding a group’s capacity for viewing issues or problems with different perspectives and through multiple lenses.

The ACE Evaluation Network promotes the practice of CREE by including evaluators from diverse racial/ethnic groups throughout all phases of a project — planning, implementation, and performance — and by providing opportunities for Network Members to delve into meaningful discussions around diversity, inclusion, and equity. In addition, several ACE Evaluation Network Members have leveraged their years of expertise to serve as Mentors for the LEEAD Program.

Those with experience exceeding eligibility requirements for LEEAD may be eligible to apply for the ACE Evaluation Network. To stay up-to-date on the next ACE Evaluation Network Call for New Members, please sign up for ETB’s monthly newsletter, Bench (Re)marks.

Questions About Expanding the Bench

Is there a fee to participate? Will the Scholar be given a stipend for participating this program?

Expanding the Bench® (ETB) serves to increase diversity in the evaluation field. ETB’s programmatic elements include: 1) the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) Program, a professional development pathway for racially and ethnically diverse evaluators to develop CREE practice; 2) the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network, a professional network of racially and ethnically diverse evaluators who use and promote CREE practice; and 3) field-building to increase the understanding of CREE among Funders of Evaluation, promote the Network of racially and ethnically diverse evaluators who practice CREE, and shift the evaluation ecosystem toward CREE. ETB is led by Change Matrix (CM) and funded by a generous group of ETB Funding Partners.

What is Change Matrix’s association with ETB?

The ETB Initiative has a unique history. It was originally incubated by The Annie E. Casey Foundation (Casey), tied closely to Casey’s overarching initiative around diversity, inclusion, and equity and was founded by the Research, Evaluation, and Learning Unit’s visionary at the time, Dr. Debora Joy Perez.

After four years of being housed at Casey, the Foundation realized that the ETB work is bigger than one, or a handful, of funders — it needed a broad coalition to grow. To create the most sustainable path to equitable evaluation, the Foundation developed a request for proposals (RFP) to accept solicitations from the field for ownership of ETB. Change Matrix (CM) responded to the RFP and was awarded the opportunity in October 2018.

Change Matrix is a women-owned, minority-owned small business that has been weaving a focus on evaluation, leadership, addressing disparities and equity, cultural and linguistic competence, and stakeholder engagement into their work at the community, state, and national level. For over 10 years, CM has motivated, managed, and measured change for systems that improve lives in communities. Learn more about Change Matrix.

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