Five questions to Stewart Donaldson
… Professor and Chair of Psychology, Director of the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC), and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (SBOS), Claremont Graduate University and Guest Researcher at the Centre for Work Life Studies.
This is your first visit to Sweden and Malmö University, how has it been this far?
"I’m very impressed. Malmö University seems very innovative, maybe even non-traditional. You’re training the students of the future here, and it’s an engaged and bright faculty."
You held a seminar about the future of evaluation, what is the future of evaluation?
“Evaluation has grown and is growing as a profession and discipline in the world, and there is a greater demand to evaluate – in government, in industry, everywhere.”
Why is that?
“Society and people want evidence, data, in order to improve everyday life and make sure their money is being spent well.”
“This is because of accountability purposes; because there’s more to enhance, more concern about learning, programme development, empowering communities – these are different areas where evaluation can add value. Some of the newer approaches are about responsive feedback: improvement orientation versus doesn’t work/didn’t work.”
“The other thing that is going on is researchers and evaluators working together, both sides being greatly enhanced by the other – that’s one of the innovative things going on here at the Centre for Work Life Studies.”
You use new media and new technology in evaluation, could you tell us more about that?
“I will hold a workshop about using technology to improve evaluation at the European Evaluation Society’s conference in Helsinki in a few days. It’s about using social media tools to better map and understand the nature of a programme, and how to use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) as a mapping technique. Online surveys are of course also useful in order to get quick feedback, as is online training and distance education. By using new technology we can connect and get work done more efficiently as evaluators.”
Can you tell us about your other seminar as well, ”Find a Job You Love, and You will Never Work a Day in Your Life”?
“Yes! It’s about a new area in psychology, positive psychology. Historically, scientific studies tend to focus illness, depressions and problems, but we don’t know as much about what it is that makes life work – things like hope, optimism, happiness and wellbeing. Positive psychology is a scientific movement promoting research about how to make life much more meaningful, and it has become the most popular psychology class at Harvard, students are flocking to this field.”