Our Approach to Evaluation
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) follows an evaluation approach that is not about grades and scores, but is about having good coaches and editors. A succinct summary of this approach is presented by Craig Dykstra, Vice President for Religion of the Lilly Endowment, in his brief essay, "Evaluation as Collaborative Inquiry."
How do superior athletes improve their performance? They seek out coaches/teachers/evaluators who help them see and feel what they are doing, people who can help them understand what's going on and figure out how to do it better. Dykstra says, "The interesting thing about the really good athletes is that they regularly seek such help. They go get it. They ask for it. They even pay for it." The OVM evaluation question is not, "What grade do we get on the test?" for this kind of work cannot be effectively measured in this manner (in truth, we strive for the ultimate salvation of ourselves and those we serve, which is only truly measured by our Lord). A better question is, "What plans have we made for building in self-reflection on what we have learned and for getting good coaching as we conduct our work?" Evaluation that follows this approach consists in purposeful inquiry into the structure, processes, and substance of the work at hand.
The evaluation plan calls for collecting qualitative research informed by applied anthropology and guided by the vision of planning and evaluation articulated by Kathleen A. Cahalan in Projects that Matter. This includes: the ongoing collection of qualitative data in the form of narratives, the ongoing exploratory and in-depth interviews among stakeholders, and the continuous collaborative review of the content of OVM programs.
The work of the OVM will be deemed successful if it enhances the ability of individuals and communities to
- develop new skills, knowledge, and the disposition to explore their vocations as Orthodox Christians, and
- commit to working to enrich and strengthen Orthodox Christians and Orthodox churches and institutions in America.
These measurables will manifest over time as individuals participate in OVM-sponsored programs. An external evaluator tracks these qualities in the programming and in the evaluation research.
Specific outcomes include:
- engagement of the theological exploration of vocation in teaching and mentoring undergraduates;
- student commitment to education and training in fields that will equip them for lay and ordained ministry;
- publications that share the OVM knowledge and experience of the Orthodox Christian theological exploration of vocation.
The OVM programs have been deemed extremely successful to date in part because the Office takes ongoing evaluation of its programs extremely seriously.
For more information on this process or help us further evaluate our programs, please contact Ann Bezzerides, OVM Director (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Dr. Frances Kostarelos, OVM Evaluator (email@example.com).
About the OVM
The Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM) at Hellenic College trains and educates faithful, energetic, high achieving, and service oriented Orthodox Christian young people to be leaders in the
church as priests and lay people.
Other News and Events
CrossRoad June Session:
June 21-July 1, 2014
CrossRoad Session 2:
July 5-15, 2014
OVM programs are made possible through the generous assistance
of the following organizations: