On the first floor of a 118-year-old farmhouse, the rhythmic call of a guinea fowl meshes with the melodic tapping of an email composition.
Having relocated from downtown Chicago to the Missouri countryside, Keith Herzog finds himself living — and working — alongside six chickens, a half-dozen guinea fowl, three dogs, two ducks, two cats, and one loving husband. The early morning wakeup calls, and post-work chores also coincided with a new career opportunity.
“I recently stepped into the role of National Evaluation Center (NEC) associate director, where I will partner closely with Kristi Holmes, Verónica Hoyo, and the entire NEC team to advance the Center’s commitment to providing innovative evaluation frameworks,” says Herzog, who has led the NEC’s evaluation and continuous improvement team since the Center’s inception. “These frameworks and evidence-based evaluation tools, instruments, and practices support our rigorous, equitable, culturally competent, and outcomes-focused evaluation work.”
Prior to his move, Herzog served as administrative director of Northwestern University’s NIH-funded clinical and translational sciences institute and as a research and evaluation manager with the University of Michigan’s ADVANCE Program, which fostered inclusive and equitable excellence at the University of Michigan through programs, resources, and research supporting faculty recruitment, retention, climate, and leadership. His appreciation for evaluation has continued to grow since his graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in political science, English literature, and business administration. Herzog also earned a master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.
“Evaluation is at its best — and most effective — when it is a team-based endeavor. It is essential to bring multiple perspectives, life experiences, and skillsets to the table, including the invaluable subject matter expertise of our NNLM colleagues,” says Herzog. “This team-based approach to evaluation (participatory evaluation, as it is often described in the literature) enables us — as the NEC and the Network, more broadly — to assess our progress toward achieving the Network’s shared mission and goals, measure and convey the evidence-based impact of the Network to key audiences, and foster a culture committed to data-informed decision-making.”
In addition to maintaining the robust portfolio of standardized survey instruments for the Network, the NEC Evaluation & Continuous Improvement team is preparing to launch a set of enhanced NNLM Training Survey Tableau dashboards for each NNLM ROC. These interactive dashboards are intended to empower ROCs to easily access and analyze training survey responses to inform programmatic and strategic decision-making and to disseminate findings to key audiences.
With a consistent eye toward measuring the Network’s impact, the NEC Evaluation & Continuous Improvement team is also preparing to launch the NNLM Training Follow-up Survey, which will assess the longer-term impact of NNLM trainings on respondents’ actions, workplace activities, and careers as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the NNLM Discovery Podcast.
“It’s truly a privilege to be part of the NEC team and the NNLM community. As a mission-driven professional, I particularly enjoy partnering with colleagues from across the NNLM to design and implement rigorous evaluation instruments and plans that enable us to tell the story — in a meaningful, approachable, and inclusive manner — of the Network’s impact across our mission domains.”
In his spare time, Herzog often enjoys tackling chores around the farm, caring for his growing menagerie of animals, listening to podcasts (ranging from Slate’s Political Gabfest to Stages Broadway Podcast to NNLM Discovery), deepening his knowledge of and appreciation for the Kansas City Chiefs, shopping for antiques with his husband, Kevin, and relishing the phenomenal Missouri weather. Follow the Herzogs’ farm chronicles on Instagram.
Written by Roger Anderson