September 2022 Featured Member
Jessica Miranda is the Director of Assessment, Accreditation, and Accountability for the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has expertise in psychometrics/educational measurement, accreditation, evaluation, and applied linguistics. Jessica has been involved in evaluation for 12 years and has been an H-PEA member for 6 years. Please visit her LinkedIn page or view her curriculum vitae.
What do you do in your current role/position?
I am the Director of Assessment, Accreditation, and Accountability for the College of Education (COE) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. In this role, I lead the COE’s twenty academic programs in the assessment of student learning; accreditation and program review; and meeting all accountability requirements. I incorporate my experience in program evaluation within the accreditation process. I lead the college in designing self-studies that engage our stakeholders in the process of identifying and showcasing evidence of our areas of excellence, as well as identifying where and how we can improve.
How did you get into the field of evaluation?
I got into the field of evaluation during my masters degree program in Second Language Studies. Professor John Norris introduced me to the work of Michael Quinn Patton and Utilization-Focused Evaluation (UFE). I instantly was drawn to the ideas of UFE and began incorporating them into my professional role with assessment and accreditation in higher education. The evaluation project that I conducted during that first evaluation course introduced me to the work of internal evaluation within a higher education academic program and also became my first published journal article.
What do you find most rewarding in your evaluation work?
What I find most rewarding in my work is successfully guiding faculty through the evaluation process. I consider an evaluation a success when faculty report back that it was a valuable process for them as professionals and for their program. It is a great feeling when it happens.
What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of?
The most memorable evaluations for me are those in which I have been able to incorporate my expertise in educational measurement, accreditation, and/or applied linguistics. One such evaluation that I led examined how well prepared the students and faculty of a Special Education (SPED) teacher preparation program were to teach English Language Learners with disabilities. The evaluation findings led to strategic improvements in the academic program and the development of a framework for the essential content that SPED teachers need to effectively teach ELLs with disabilities.
Whose work in the field of evaluation inspires or guides you? Why?
The two evaluators who I have been most inspired by are Michael Quinn Patton and Stephanie Evergreen. The importance of designing evaluations that are meaningful and useful for the primary intended users of an evaluation is something that really stuck with me from Dr. Patton’s work. As for Stephanie Evergreen, I am inspired by her way of transforming data, evaluation findings, and other information into effective visual formats. I have several of her books and I hope to keep getting better at data visualization.
What hobby do you have or what is something about you that most people don’t know?
I have recently gotten my “ham” radio Technician license which is an amateur radio license so that I can communicate using a handheld radio with other amateur radio operators all over the island, and even with the international space station. I am working towards earning a General license so that I will be able to use additional radio bands for world-wide communication. It’s a great way to be able to help during emergency situations if traditional communication networks are down.
Thank you Jessica! We appreciate you and your support of H-PEA!
July 2022 Featured Student Member
Daniel Holden is a PhD student in the Department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His main research interests are critical administration, second language teaching and learning, language assessment, materials development, and program evaluation. His long-term research goal is to foster a stronger connection between administrators and the members of their school communities through critical dialogue. He’s been an H-PEA member for one year.
How did you get interested in the field of evaluation?
I first heard about program evaluation through one of my professors, who had an opportunity to travel to an international English school for the purposes of making recommendations on how to improve their program. As he described his experience and the methods he used for carrying out the evaluation, I thought that he was describing what was essentially my dream job, as it related to my personal skills and interests.
I think that evaluation is actually quite complicated in the way that those who are interested in evaluation have to be both detail-oriented and able to see the big picture when it comes to the needs and desires of stakeholders in any given situation. You not only have to be a good listener, but you also have to speak with authority and persuasiveness. I’m really interested in taking on a challenge like that and trying to create a better school environment for the local community.
What are your career goals?
Ultimately, I would like to become a university professor, but at the same time, I also intend to take on more administrative roles in my department. If I were to be put in charge of a English language program within the department, I would like to use what I’ve learned about program evaluation to assess the current status of the program and improve upon it in an iterative way.
What hobbies do you have?
I think I’m likely into a lot of hobbies that most people have. I love watching movies, listening to music, reading, jogging, hiking, swimming, etc…but one fun one is that I recently became passionate about watching female-centric martial arts movies from the 1980s to the mid-1990s. Since the movies are not easily found on streaming sites and most of the relevant information about them is written in Cantonese, I instead have to track down copies on old VHS tapes or DVDs in second-hand shops. So, there’s a collector element to it, and I’m a bit of an enthusiast for the stunt work being done before CGI.
Thank you so much for sharing, Daniel. Welcome to the H-PEA community!