Engagement for Equitable Outcomes provides practical suggestions for practitioners addressing urgent social problems and reducing inequities in their communities. Newcomer, Wilson, and Criner Brown offer approaches and models customized to local conditions and equity-focused guidance for innovating and adapting encouraging interventions. Their approach stresses intentional end-user engagement and collaboration, including a five-step Data and Engagement for Equitable, Measurable Outcomes Model: 1) inclusively collaborating to prioritize equitable outcomes; 2) identifying and developing promising interventions; 3) engaging and adapting to implement customized interventions; 4) scaling interventions for maximum impact; and 5) sustaining and improving equity-focused programming. The authors provide road maps, check lists, insights, and practical tips for navigating these five essential practices. Ultimately, this book is designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and perspectives of policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and all who are interested in addressing urgent social problems with sustainable, equitable results.
Kathryn Newcomer is a professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University where she teaches graduate level courses on public and nonprofit program evaluation, and research design. She served as the Trachtenberg School director for over 12 years, until July 2019. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and currently serves on the Comptroller General’s Educators’ Advisory Panel. She served as the president of the American Evaluation Association in 2017, and the president of the Network of the Association of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) for 2006-2007. Dr. Newcomer was recently selected by the board of the American Society for Public Administration’s Center for Accountability and Performance to receive the 2021 Joseph Wholey Distinguished Scholarship Award for her scholarly work and lifetime achievement in the areas of performance management, government accountability, and program evaluation.
Dr. Newcomer has published six books, including Evidence-Building and Evaluation in Government (2022 by Sage), U.S. Inspectors General: Truth Tellers in Turbulent Times (2020 by Brookings), and The Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (4th edition 2015). She has received two Fulbright awards, one for Taiwan and one for Egypt. She has lectured on performance measurement and public sector evaluation in 17 countries outside of the U.S.
Quentin Wilson is a Distinguished Executive with the George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, and has led performance improvement efforts in federal, state and local government, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors. His government experience as both an agency executive and a political staff member provides a rare perspective on the intersection of policymaking and goal setting with the implementation and scaling of promising products and programs. Prior to undertaking this effort, Wilson worked as a leader of multi-billion-dollar education finance entities in Missouri and California, and as the state Commissioner of Higher Education, Deputy Director of Economic Development, Director of Revenue and governor’s Cabinet Director for Missouri. Previously, he worked in nonprofit and private organizations promoting international education and trade in Japan and Russia, and served as an aide to three Members of Congress.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Travis Reginal
Chapter 1: How can we more effectively address urgent social problems?
Chapter 2: Inclusively Collaborate with End-users to Prioritize Desired Equitable Outcomes
Chapter 3: Identify Promising Interventions to Achieve Prioritized Outcomes
Chapter 4: Engage and Adapt to Implement
Chapter 5: Scaling Interventions
Chapter 6: Sustain and Improve Equity-Focused Work
Chapter 7: Achieving Equitable Outcomes: Next Steps
Engagement for Equitable Outcomes is a practical, yet comprehensive, resource for developing the practices, skills, and mindset to improve society through helping others. With a tone that is plainspoken and factual, with empathetic shades, the book pushes the reader to do more, and do better, without being pushy. I recommend this “playbook” to anyone who needs an equity primer or an in-depth guide to building systems that work for everyone.
For far too long, the public management toolkit has focused on cost and effectiveness at a collective level. This novel text opens the black box of evidence-based management by tackling the elephant that has long occupied the public and nonprofit space—that outcomes for particular programs are not uniform for all recipients. This approach provides the tools with which managers can better choose, evaluate, and implement programs in a manner that emphasizes equity as a core public value.
In Engagement for Equitable Outcomes: A Practitioner’s Playbook, Newcomer and her co-authors make the case for using methods to investigate urgent social problems. At the community-level, they offer a breakthrough approach which integrates theory and practice to examine important issues explaining persistent and existing gaps in service delivery. To achieve equitable outcomes and improve racial justice, this playbook offers an authentic community engagement strategy to block attempts to deny inalienable rights to underserved persons and marginalized communities.
The emphasis on creation happening authentically in relationship with communities makes an enormous difference in the potential for equitable outcomes. Engagement for Equitable Outcomes approaches this complexity with a nuance that reflects lived experiences. The focus on the use of data, the commitment to this being the work of all sectors, and the understanding of systems and policy changes coupled with community work is our nation's most hopeful path forward.
The authors of this very timely new book are the “go to” people in Washington for program evaluation and management improvement. They’ve distilled their lifetime experiences into this readable Playbook to tackle the challenge of improving equitable outcomes in social programs in both the public and nonprofit sectors. Their pragmatic advice – rooted in bridging the gaps between political leaders, practitioners and members of local communities – will be invaluable to readers who aspire to achieve equitable results when addressing longstanding social challenges.
We need different tools and approaches to tackle the systemic social challenges that have plagued our nation for far too long. Adapting an evidence-based equity approach and putting equity at the forefront of these complex discussions promotes the engagement of communities whose voices are often marginalized. I believe this is a critical step to paving the way for bold solutions to address our nation’s most urgent problems.
Being born in 1950 in a small, segregated town gives me insight into what the real world of inequities looks like. Despite leading successful organizations, having achieved the office of President of the United States and creating great art, music and poetry, Blacks and other minorities are still seen as second-class citizens. In the face of the challenges of systemic racism, the authors present a sound framework for deliberate action to prioritize and achieve outcomes that overcome disparities in healthcare, education and crime.