Karen Eileen Kirkhart


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1980 …2021

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Personal profile

Research interests

KAREN E. KIRKHART holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from The University of Michigan. She is currently Professor, School of Social Work, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University, where she teaches graduate courses in both program evaluation and clinical practice evaluation. Dr. Kirkhart is also an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Kirkhart has been active in the evaluation profession for over thirty-five years and served as President of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) in 1994. Her leadership has been recognized with the Robert Ingle Award for Outstanding Services to the AEA. Dr. Kirkhart’s work on multicultural validity seeks to bring issues of cultural competence to the forefront of the evaluation profession by centering validity theory in culture. Her work on evaluation influence places evaluation use in the broader contexts of power, privilege, intention, and consequences, interweaving ethics and validity. Dr. Kirkhart’s scholarly contributions have been recognized by the AEA with the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory.

Dr. Kirkhart collaborated with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) in their development of an Indigenous Evaluation Framework and was a member of the writing team for the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation. In 2013, she was honored by Syracuse University as Scholar/Teacher of the Year, an award that recognizes the combined contributions of teaching excellence and outstanding scholarship. In 2018, Dr. Kirkhart received the Laura Taddeucci Downs NSCS Advisor of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.


External positions

Affiliated Faculty, Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA), University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests

  • Evaluation
  • Validity
  • Culture
  • Intersectionality
  • Evaluation influence
  • Multicultural Validity


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