Skillful Engagement Series

Evaluating Engagement: Exploring Principles-Focused Evaluation

Join us for the 4th installment in the Skillful Engagement Series to learn with world-renowned author, evaluation consultant and thought leader Michael Quinn Patton. Michael will share insights from his most recent work and thinking on Principles-Focused Evaluation, which examines whether principles are clear, meaningful, and actionable, whether they are actually being followed, and whether they are leading to desired results.

As engagement practitioners, we're often involved in planning and implementing principles-based programs and initiatives, and we know how inspirational it can be to articulate principles and dig deeply into their meaning, adherence, and consequences. We also often take as a given that strong engagement with communities, organizations and stakeholders leads to better decisions and stronger, more resilient outcomes - but many of us struggle with how to actually assess and evaluate how effective our work is.This interactive session will include opportunities to apply a principles-focused evaluation lens to your innovative engagement work. 

Please bring examples of any principles that your organization has articulated  and be prepared to share them and work with them — Michael will lead the group through activities and worksheets from his forthcoming book. 

Facilitators: Shanthi Besso and Jenna Dunsby

Read more about the Skillful Engagement Series

Skillful Engagement is a community of practice for engagement practitioners. The series showcases innovative projects and speakers, provides a forum to share knowledge and challenges, and acts as a catalyst to inspire and support the growing engagement sector. This work reflects a shared understanding that improved engagement of communities, organizations and stakeholders leads to better decisions and stronger, more resilient outcomes.

Skillful Engagement is a partnership between the SFU Centre for Dialogue’s Civic Engage Program, SFU Public Square, and SFU’s Dialogue and Civic Engagement Certificate program.


Wed, 09 Nov 2016 1:00 PM

Workshop: 1:00PM – 4:00PM



Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre (Room 2555)
SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B

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Principles-Focused Evaluation: An Evening with Michael Quinn Patton

We live in a rapidly changing world where traditional formative and summative evaluation approaches are no longer adequate for measuring the impact of complex and innovative programs and initiatives. As our special guest Michael Quinn Patton notes in his forthcoming book, Principles-Focused Evaluation, "Change confronts us on all sides, envelopes us from all directions, is omnipresent. We have choices about how we face, engage, and deal with change. Principles inform and guide those choices. They do so by telling us how to act" (Patton, 2016).

Join us for an engaging evening with Michael as we explore some of the key areas with which social innovators, evaluators, and leaders in all sectors need to engage. In particular, Michael will share some of his latest thinking and work related to principles-focused evaluation, which examines whether principles are clear, meaningful, and actionable, whether they are actually being followed and, whether they are leading to desired results.

Facilitator: Susanna Haas Lyons


Wed, 09 Nov 2016 7:00 PM

Lecture: 7:00PM – 9:00PM



Asia Pacific Hall (Room 100)
SFU's Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

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Michael Quinn Patton

Michael is an independent organizational development and evaluation consultant. He is former President of the American Evaluation Association.  He is the only recipient of both the Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Award from the Evaluation Research Society for "outstanding contributions to evaluation use and practice" and the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Award for lifetime contributions to evaluation theory from the American Evaluation Association.  The Society for Applied Sociology honored him with the 2001 Lester F. Ward Award for Outstanding Contributions to Applied Sociology. He was the Gwen Iding Brogden Distinguished Lecturer at the 2008 National Conference on Systems of Care Research for Children’s Mental Health. 

He is the author of five evaluation books including 4th editions of Utilization-Focused Evaluation (2008) and Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (2015). These books have been used in over 500 universities worldwide. He is also author of Creative Evaluation (1987); Practical Evaluation (1982); and Culture and Evaluation (1985).  He has co-authored a book on the dynamics of social innovation with two Canadians drawing on complexity theory and systems thinking: Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed (Random House, 2006). That led to his book on Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use (Guilford Press, 2011). He also authored Essentials of Utilization-Focused Evaluation (2012). His latest books are Developmental Evaluation Exemplars: Principles in Practice (2016) and Principles-Focused Evaluation (2016). 

After receiving his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, he spent 18 years on the faculty of the University of Minnesota (1973-1991), including five years as Director of the Minnesota Center for Social Research and ten years with the Minnesota Extension Service. He received the University's Morse Amoco Award for outstanding teaching. He also served as a faculty member with the Union Institute & University for 16 years. 

He was the keynote presenter for the launching of the Latin American Network in Peru in 2004, the African Evaluation Society in Nairobi, Kenya in 1999 and at the European Evaluation Society in Switzerland in 2000. He has twice keynoted the American, Canadian, and Australasian Evaluation Society conferences, as well as national evaluation conferences for the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, Denmark, Japan, and Brazil. He is a regular trainer for the World Bank in Ottawa, the American Evaluation Association's professional development courses, and The Evaluators’ Institute.

He has worked with organizations and programs at the international, national, state, and local levels, and with philanthropic, not-for-profit, private sector, and government programs. He has worked with peoples from many different cultures and perspectives.  He is a generalist working across the full range of efforts at improving human effectiveness and results, including programs in leadership development, education, human services, the environment, public health, employment, agricultural extension, arts, criminal justice, poverty programs, transportation, diversity, managing for results, performance indicators, effective governance, and futuring. He uses a variety of evaluation and research methods, with special focus on mixed methods designs and analysis.

Susanna Haas Lyons

Susanna Haas Lyons is a public engagement specialist who develops strategy and provides training for better conversations between the public and decision makers. She has over a dozen years international leadership experience in the field of public participation.

Susanna’s work focuses on:

•    Developing engagement strategy for governments and other organizations;

•    Coaching executives and managers to implement and measure engagement;

•    Facilitating complex meetings; and,

•    Instructing mid-career professionals to help build their engagement skills.

Susanna is a regular instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement, the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Certificate in Advanced Facilitation and Consultation, and for Alberta Municipal Affairs Public Input Workshops.

She holds a certificate in public participation from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and an M.A. from the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, the Environment and Sustainability