The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Woman: Anatomy and Autopsy of an Evaluation Institute

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by Jean King

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The Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) at the University of Minnesota served graduate students, faculty, and community members for 23 years (1996–2019), providing evaluator education, community- and University-based consultancies, and evaluation resources. For four of those years (2011–2015), MESI die-hards made a concerted effort to create a sustainable, self-funded institute that could survive in the context of a research university. They were, finally, unsuccessful. This is the story of what happened before, during, and after those years until the combination of the Director’s retirement and a global pandemic led to MESI’s ending in permanent hiatus. Content includes grounding in the evaluator education literature, a history and detailed description of the Institute, the logic on which it was built, and criteria and indicators for its success. The author discusses the positives and negatives of the experience and provides a Top Ten list of recommendations for others considering creating a similar structure.

EISBN: 978-1-946135-91-9

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Publication Date: September 2022

Recommended Citation

King, Jean A. (2022). The Best Laid Schemes o’ Mice an’ Woman: Anatomy and Autopsy of an Evaluation Institute. University of Minnesota Libraries. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,