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Frequently Asked Questions

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(Photo by Mikayla Graham)

  • What's the best way to work with you during the proposal writing stage?
    The ideal way to work with me is to have a project description, timeline, relative budget, and when applicable, what data will be or are collected by someone else. I then create a project plan based on these items to explain what I would do when, the estimated time/cost, and what each activity will inform. Typically, this isn't a final product so the project lead(s) and I iterate a few times to make sure we're both satisfied. Reaching out earlier is typically better so that we have sufficient time to discuss.
  • How much time do you need to draft an evaluation plan for a grant?
    Reaching out early to gauge interest is a good idea; I may not have the bandwidth to take on another project or the project needs may be out of my skillset but I may know someone who is interested. Planning early helps avoid stress on everyone. If I agree to work on the evaluation for your grant, I like to have at least a month to draft a plan; more time is always nice especially for some of the larger NSF grant programs (e.g., IUSE) because I sometimes am working on multiple evaluation plans. This is assuming that the project leadership has a good idea of activities, relative number of people involved, and budget for evaluation. It is much easier for me to draft an evaluation plan that is more likely to be your expectations and constraints. Having at least a month provides time for me to read over the materials, ask questions, and to iterate on any plans. It may not take an entire month to end up with an evaluation plan that everyone is happy with, but having some time to make decisions and to not rush is always welcome.
  • What is your approach to working on projects?
    For all my work, I like to stay in reasonable contact with others. Not too often but not too infrequent. I believe our best work happens when we truly collaborate and are kept up-to-date on activities. There are sometimes potential pitfalls that are best addressed sooner than later, as well as promising ventures that are time-sensitive. Creating a plan for adequate communication (e.g., monthly meetings) is typically a good choice.
  • What happens if the timeline is shifted/circumstance change/etc.?
    Very few if any endeavors run perfectly on time. Life happens! Changes to the work plan are expected. Those will need to be discussed and agreed upon with me, however.
  • Are you willing to travel?
    Yes, I am! I do enjoy traveling for work. Any travel, however, does need to be planned for and included in any budgets.
  • Are you interested in doing volunteer/service work if there is no compensation?
    Depending on what it is and what I've already committed to, I may say yes. I enjoy doing professional service or volunteering, as I find quite a bit of it rewarding and important in many ways. I sometimes do turn down opportunities as I may not feel that I'm the right fit or that I don't have the bandwidth to do more at the moment or time frame. It never hurts to ask. Information is always useful so that I can a decision.
  • I didn't see x listed, but would you be interested in working x?
    Just ask! I may be interested, but first I want to ensure that my skills and experiences match your expectations and your endeavor's needs. Oftentimes, I get to apply different skills and experiences to contexts I haven't worked in before. I think a good collaboration is similar to a puzzle; each person plays an important and unique role. For example, I know how to do external evaluation but I might not know your department. You know your department well, but you have little experience with external evaluation. Both sets of knowledge are important to ensure the work is relevant and done well.
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