Date and time: Friday 26th March 2021 10.00am - 12.00pm NZ time
Topic: True Grit: Impartiality, disinterest and the avoidance of truth in evaluation
Presenter: Prof. Saville Kushner, Drew University, USA/ University of West England
Venue: Via Zoom. Details will be emailed to registrants just prior to the seminar start time
Register online by: noon on Wednesday 24th March

This is a free seminar organised by the Aotearoa New Zealand Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in the evaluation community and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators.

Seminar overview

Most fields of knowledge and practice advance by accumulating knowledge. Some move forward by shedding knowledge - knowledge that may uncomfortably complexify action. Economics is an obvious example, losing its roots in Moral Philosophy. Psychology is another - losing its own roots in Introspection. Program Evaluation, I would say, joins them as a shredder of its own history. This discipline and practice has come a long way since its inception in the 1960s, but it has done so by narrowing its options to a small sector on the spectrum of possibilities - from authoritarian evaluation (e.g. punitive inspection) at one end and humantist evaluation at the other. As a result, we have lost key issues and principles, such as evaluation as an information source to all with no privileged access; evaluator independence and impartiality; recognition of values pluralism; House's (1980) three principles of validity (Truth, Beauty and Justice); and the inevitability of uncertainty. I will make a multi-media presentation using film and art to reinstate some of these losses. Look forward to a playful but professional couple of hours! It will be a joy for me to meet Southern friends once again!

Presenter's background

Saville Kushner is Adjunct Professor at Drew University, USA, and Emeritus Professor at the University of the West of England. After working in English universities for many years, and a secondment to UNICEF in Latin America, he spent five years as Professor of Public Evaluation at the University of Auckland, and held a number of public positions in Aotearoa. His most recent book, Evaluative Research Methods: Managing the Complexity of Judgement in the Field, is published by Information Age Pubs (2017).

Seminar start times

  • New Zealand: 10.00am
  • VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS: 8.00am
  • SA: 7.30am
  • QLD: 7.00am
  • NT: 6.30am
  • Perth: 5.00am

For other time zones please go to

Please ensure you have access to your email address just prior to the start time to access Zoom details. Please also check your email address is correct on your registration form before submitting. Thanks.

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