Donaldson Takes Evaluation Center Helm as Executive Director

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After more than 16 years of leadership involving the schools of Community & Global Health (SCGH) and Social Science, Policy, & Evaluation (SSSPE), Stewart I. Donaldson has accepted the new roles of executive director of the university’s Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) and professor of Psychology and Community & Global Health, announced Provost Patricia Easton in a message to the entire CGU community.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Stewart’s transformative leadership is continuing at CGU,” Easton said. “The field of evaluation science is rapidly growing. … As more industries seek evaluation support to guide their decisions, our CEC is ideally positioned to respond to these demands and grow even more under Stewart’s strategic vision.”

The CEC is a major provider of evaluation and applied research services, on-site and online professional development training, evaluation conferences and events, and supports the evaluation certificate programs and a wide variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs at CGU.

Located on the university campus in Claremont, the CEC has in recent years expanded its presence in Washington DC and New York to amplify its positive social impact.

In 2015, the CEC acquired The Evaluators’ Institute (TEI) from George Washington University in DC. TEI has provided training to more than 10,000 researchers and evaluators over the past 20 years and is now offering programs in DC, Atlanta, Chicago, and Claremont under the direction of the CEC-DC team. Last year, CEC-NY was established to provide leadership and evaluation training for those working on projects addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As CEC executive director, Donaldson will focus on developing a new CEC Global Evaluation Center, increasing the number of funded projects across the CEC offices, increasing the number of Claremont Colleges faculty and students participating on CEC projects, and exploring the development of a new hybrid online MS degree in evaluation.

Granted a sabbatical leave during the second half of 2017, Donaldson is continuing this fall to develop new projects with his CEC colleagues and supervise CGU students while also serving as a visiting professor at UCLA and conducting talks and workshops around the country.

Donaldson’s acceptance of the new roles at CGU will enable him to focus more of his time on developing the fields of evaluation science and positive organizational psychology, and promoting health, well-being, and optimal human and organization functioning through his research, evaluations, and teaching.

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In her statement to the community, Provost Easton noted that Donaldson’s career at CGU “as a leader and scholar [is] a record of sustained achievement and progress.”

In 2001, Donaldson was first appointed as dean of the School of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences (SBOS). Under his leadership, SBOS more than tripled its faculty and student body and is now educating approximately 325 graduate students seeking degrees and certificates in applied psychological science, evaluation, and human resource management each year. Some of the concentration areas he designed with his colleagues, including evaluation and positive psychology, now receive many applications each year and are commonly known as the top graduate programs in the world in these fields.

In 2012, Donaldson was appointed dean of the School of Politics & Economics (SPE) and later became dean of a larger school combining SPE, SBOS and Evaluation—SSSPE—which was formed in 2013. Under his leadership, the DPE faculty reorganized into three departments—the Department of Economic Science, the Department of International Studies, and the Department of Politics and Government—and the DPE board successfully launched a new fellowship program to support outstanding DPE students.

That same year, in 2013, Donaldson was also appointed dean of the School of Community & Global Health (SCGH) and served as deans of SCGH and SSSPE until the beginning of his recent sabbatical, which started in July. Under Donaldson’s leadership, SCGH has doubled the size of its student body and expanded offerings to include a certificate program in Public Health, a master’s degree program in Positive Health Psychology, and a doctoral degree program in Public Health (the DrPH). Along with DBOS faculty, SCGH faculty have continued to be the most active and successful faculty at securing extramural research funding for CGU.

Donaldson’s portfolio in the social and health sciences over the past three years has included providing academic leadership for more than 100 core and supporting graduate faculty, overseeing the education of more than 650 degree-seeking graduate students, and securing grants, contracts, and gifts to support SSSPE and SCGH research and students.

Donaldson also has held numerous other leadership positions during his tenure as dean at CGU. He served as the president of the American Evaluation Association (2014-2016), congress chair for the International Positive Psychology Association’s Third World Congress of Positive Psychology in Los Angeles (2012-2013), director of AEA’s Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program (The GEDI Program; 2011-2017), book series editor for Information Age’s Evaluation and Society Series (2011-present), and founding director of the Western Positive Psychology Association (2013-present). He also served on the boards of the International Positive Psychology Association (2013-present), American Evaluation Association (2010-2012), EvalPartners (2012-present), Centre for Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne (2014-present), The Faster Forward Fund (2014-present), The Evaluators’ Institute (2016-present) and the Western Psychological Association (2017-present).

During his deanship, Donaldson has worked actively with his colleagues and students on research and scholarly works. Since 2001, he has published 14 books, more than 75 articles, chapters, and evaluation reports, served on numerous peer-reviewed journal editorial boards, and kept an active research and evaluation grant and contract portfolio. He also has served as chair or member on more than 50 doctoral dissertation committees at CGU, and more than 75 master theses and certificate students’ culminating research and evaluation projects.

His newest books include Credible and Actionable Evidence: The Foundation for Rigorous and Influential Evaluations (2015), Evaluation for an Equitable Society (2016), Scientific Advances in Positive Psychology (2017), and Toward a Positive Psychology of Relationships: New Directions in Theory and Research (forthcoming, 2017). In 2013, Donaldson was awarded AEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award, for his sustained lifetime written contributions to the advancement of evaluation theory.

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Taking Donaldson’s place at SCGH is Interim Dean Kim Reynolds, a member of the SCGH faculty. Taking his place at SSSPE is Interim Dean Michelle Bligh, a member of the Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences faculty.

The chairs of SSSPE’s Division of Politics & Economics—Heather Campbell (chair, Politics and Government), Tom Kniesner (chair, Economics), and Yi Feng (chair, International Studies)—also are playing vital leadership roles during this transition.

More information: To learn more about Claremont Evaluation Center activities, visit the center’s website, TEI, and CEC-NY.

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