I had a conversation a few weeks ago during one of our Saturday classes that really stuck with me. The conversation revolved around the importance of what we were doing in our practice and actual capstone projects and the level of responsibility that comes with it. It is easy when you are in the role of a student, even at the doctoral level, to view an assignment as a theoretical activity undertaken in a vacuum. However, when looking at the research that we are doing on our practice capstone and the work that we will be doing on the capstone itself, it is incumbent upon us to recognize the impact that our work can have. Entire programs, the jobs they encompass, and the opportunities attached to them can be made or unmade by one evaluation. So, those who aspire to perform such evaluations must work hard to hone their craft and be capable of desigining and performing high-quality evaluations that are fair, accurate, and informative so as to give the clearest picture possible of the program’s value and worth.
This is a huge responsibility. It is easy in academia to lose touch with the tangible and dabble too much in the theoretical. It is important, then, to periodically re-ground oneself and be reminded of the power that the theoretical and abstract can have in shaping reality. The skill of performing program evaluations is just another expansion in our ever-broadening circles of influence as leaders, but it represents the potential for each of us to have a more far-reaching effect at one time than most of us have ever had before. That gives us great influence and, thus, great power. With that power comes a responsibility, though, to perfect our craft and become very good at what we do as a means of being responsible and fair to those influenced by our findings and recommendations.