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Richard Weston

Chief Executive Officer, Healing Foundation

Richard is a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. For the past six years, he has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Healing Foundation. He sits on the Board of Families Australia and is a member of the Commonwealth Government’s Independent Advisory Council on Redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. Richard is a member of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander forums and committees.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions such as the forced removal of children from their families and communities. Trauma, and the legacy of past policies and practices, can rob families and communities of hope and purpose. The Healing Foundation works with communities, members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants, to design solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. The Healing Foundation’s evaluations show amazing outcomes can be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are supported to lead and develop their own responses.
 
The Healing Foundation continues to build the national evidence base on healing complex trauma. Drawing on these lessons it is building a theory of change that values both Indigenous cultural knowledge and the international evidence base on trauma.  It has supported more than 135 culturally strong, community led Indigenous healing projects around Australia, and over 19,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, women and men have participated in healing activities. About 94% of participants have reported improvements in their social and emotional wellbeing.

Prior to being CEO of the Healing Foundation, Richard was CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service and prior to that was CEO of Maari Ma Health in far west NSW based in Broken Hill.  Under his leadership, Maari Ma won several health awards, including five NSW awards and a national award.

Dugan Fraser

Program Director, RAITH Foundation

Dugan is Program Director of the RAITH Foundation, a privately funded social change organisation, which finances organisations working for social justice in South Africa. Dugan leads the Foundation’s strategy, implementation and evaluation work. The Foundation believes empowering civil society actors will help South Africa overcome systemic injustice and unfairness and become the fair, just society envisioned by the Constitution. It uses evaluation to share and document lessons about how to accelerate systemic change towards a fairer South Africa. Dugan is the Chairperson of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association. He leads the Association’s work on professionalizing and strengthening South Africa’s evaluation system. Before joining the RAITH Foundation, Dugan worked in the South African public service. He helped develop South Africa’s Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System. He designed and implemented large-scale systems to monitor and evaluate land reform, social development and public service governance.

Dugan believes evaluation can help deepen democracy and create stronger institutions. But to shift ‘big systems’, he believes the evaluation profession needs to engage with the interplay of political strangeness, policy ambitions, and institutional capacity to implement and learn. He also reflects on how evaluators can explain their value-add in a noisy market place of ideas and fashions.

Sandra Mathison

Professor of Education; University of British Columbia and Executive Director, Institute for Public Education – BC

Sandra's research focuses on educational evaluation and especially on the potential and limits of evaluation to support democratic ideals and promote justice in education. Her research focuses in large part on the intended and unintended consequences of government mandated high stakes testing on teachers, students and quality of education. She has conducted national large- and small-scale evaluations of K–12, post-secondary, and informal educational programs and curricula; published articles in the leading evaluation journals; and edited and authored a number of books. She is editor of the Encyclopedia of Evaluation, co-editor (with E. Wayne Ross) of Defending Public Schools: The Nature and Limits of Standards Based Reform and Assessment and Battleground Schools. She is co-author (with Melissa Freeman) of Researching Children’s Experiences. She was Editor-in-Chief of New Directions for Evaluation and is currently co-editor of Critical Education and a member of the Institute for Critical Education Studies. Sandra is the Executive Director of the Institute for Public Education – BC, a research think tank focusing on public education in British Columbia.

Andy Rowe

Evaluation and economics consultant

Andy is former President of the Canadian Evaluation Society and has been awarded for his service to evaluation in Canada and is a Fellow of the Society. He has a PhD from the London School of Economics and has been on the faculty of universities in Canada and Scotland, worked in Canada and U.S. government, with a public/private oceans research cooperation and globally as a consultant.

He has provided lasting contributions to evaluation methods. His Rapid Impact Evaluation is a flexible low cost mixed methods approach to evaluating impacts. It is an accepted approach under the Canadian National Evaluation Policy and used by federal agencies in the U.S. and Canada, by the Global Environment Facility and others. His evaluation systems for conflict resolution interventions have been used in U.S. federal agencies for fifteen years, in Canada and by the World Bank.  And the approach to knowledge use developed with Kai Lee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation continues to be shape the Foundations’ Science Program and is finding a place in evaluations of international normative products and promoting use in evaluation offices.

His recent publications focus on evaluation in complex multi-system settings such as sustainable development. He initiated the Fellows’ Strand now an annual feature of Canadian Evaluation Society conferences and is now initiating a storytelling effort for CES Fellows to share their knowledge and experience with the field and especially with new entrants to evaluation. He is on the Board of Ecotrust Canada and an associate editor of Evaluation and Program Planning.

Gill Westhorp

Professorial Research Fellow, Charles Darwin University

Gill leads the Realist Research Evaluation and Learning Initiative (RREALI) at Charles Darwin University. RREALI develops new methods and tools within a realist framework, supports development of competency in realist approaches and provides realist evaluation and research services. Current projects include developing realist economic evaluation. Gill is particularly interested in the development of realist methods for hard-to-evaluate initiatives, including prevention programs, large scale policies and programs, complex interventions and cross-cultural realist evaluation.

Gill is a co-author of the international reporting standards, quality standards, and guidance materials for Realist Synthesis and Meta-Narrative Reviews (RAMESES I) and for realist evaluation (RAMESES II). She is author of a guidance note on Realist Impact Evaluation and co-author of another on evaluating prizes and challenges, of articles on realist evaluation and complexity theory, and various project-based articles and publications. 

Gill is Director of Community Matters Pty Ltd, a research and evaluation consultancy based in South Australia; an Associate in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne; and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Centre for the Advancement of Realist Evaluation and Synthesis at Liverpool University, UK.  She is a past member of the national AES Board and was previously the inaugural Convenor of the Australasian Evaluation Society’s Special Interest Group in Realist Evaluation and Realist Synthesis and Convenor of the South Australian chapter. Prior to moving into evaluation and research, Gill worked in the community services and health industries for over twenty years.