Community, Theory, and Guidance: Reflections on the Benefits of Peer-Mentoring in Evaluation

  • Jenna M LaChenaye The University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Ayesha S. Boyce University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Jenna Van Draanen 
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus

  • Kristin Everett Western Michigan University
Keywords: mentoring, teaching evaluation, training evaluation, graduate students, new evaluators


The majority of evaluation practitioners begin their career in allied fields and stumble into evaluation. As such, university offerings and evaluation professional development sessions have become increasingly popular. As the field continues to professionalize and new mentoring programs emerge, empirical work examining teaching and training in evaluation has gained traction. However, little is known about the role that opportunities such as mentoring play in evaluation training. The purpose of this article is to explore the expected and unexpected benefits of our experiences as participants in an evaluation mentoring program, lessons learned, and logistical and structural promoters of success in peer-mentoring.

Author Biographies

Jenna M LaChenaye, The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jenna LaChenaye is an assistant professor within the Department of Human Studies at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. LaChenaye’s research focuses on the application of qualitative methods in evaluation and strategies and issues in conducting research on sensitive topics. 

Ayesha S. Boyce, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Ayesha Boyce is an assistant professor within the Department of Educational Research Methodology at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Boyce’s research focuses on attending to value stances and issues related to diversity, equity, access, climate, cultural responsiveness, and restorative justice within evaluation—especially multi-site, STEM, and contexts with historically marginalized populations. She also examines teaching, training, and novice learning in evaluation. 

Jenna Van Draanen, 
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus

Jenna van Draanen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia. Her expertise is in the social determinants of co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders. Alongside her research training, Dr. van Draanen has lead evaluations of health and social programs at the community, provincial, national and international level. Currently, she is leading research on the connections between sources of income, material security, and health outcomes for people who use drugs in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. 

Kristin Everett, Western Michigan University

Kristin Everett is a research associate at iEval and conducts program evaluations and provides consulting services in for education, health-care, and nonprofit organizations.


Practice Note- English