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Pathways Initiative To Bring More Diversity to Evaluation Field



Loyola is one of five Chicago-area universities bringing to life the Pathways Initiative (PI), a new program designed to strengthen the diversity of the Chicago-area evaluation field. “We’re recruiting undergraduate applicants for a cohort of eight students to begin in January 2021,” said Dr. Leanne Kallemeyn, head of the collaborative for Loyola. “Similar types of projects exist at the graduate and early career level, but PI is the first of its kind in the US with a focus on undergraduate students, and students from across a number of disciplines can apply.”  

The need for a program like this is great. “It’s hard to find people of color from Chicago-area neighborhoods to evaluate programs in those neighborhoods,” says Kallemeyn. “Without skilled evaluators who are culturally responsive and equity focused, evaluations and the programs they support may perpetuate rather than address inequities. And really, who is going to go into evaluation without knowing what it is and what it entails? PI will introduce a career path many students might not otherwise know is an option.”  

PI is a 2-year independent study program taught both by evaluators working in the field and instructors at all five participating universities (Loyola, Northwestern, UIC, Adler, and DePaul.) Through the initiative, students will learn the field of evaluation, meet with other evaluators from private, non-profit and government organizations, and be exposed to the array of vocational opportunities that exist. PI students will have chances to work in the field side-by-side with skilled evaluators, culminating in a paid internship between their junior and senior years, and a paid 6-month apprenticeship after graduation. While this is an independent study initiative, students won’t go it alone and will have a mentor working with them individually throughout the course of the initiative.   

“This idea was incubated over a year ago, and has truly been a huge collaborative effort between the universities, the McCormick Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Staines Family Foundation, other Foundations, non-profits, and representatives from various entities across Chicago who see the importance of recruiting, training, and retaining people who represent the full scope of diversity in the metro area,” says Kallemeyn. “I’m looking forward to our first cohort and seeing where this program can go.” 

Students interested in applying for a spot in the inaugural Pathways Initiative cohort can contact Kallemeyn directly at lkallemeyn@luc.edu for more information.