Donna M. Mertens Ph.D.
  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Educational Psychology, 1977
  • M.S., University of Kentucky, Educational Psychology, 1973
  • B.A., Thomas More College, Psychology, 1972
Short Biography

Donna M. Mertens, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Education at Gallaudet University, where she teaches advanced research methods and program evaluation to deaf and hearing students. She received the Distinguished Faculty Award from Gallaudet University in 2007.The primary focus of her work is transformative mixed-methods inquiry in diverse communities that prioritizes ethical implications of research in pursuit of social justice. Her recent books include Program Evaluation Theory to Practice: A Comprehensive Guide, Transformative Research and Evaluation, The Handbook of Social Research Ethics; Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology: Integrating Diversity with Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods (3rd ed.); Research and Evaluation Methods in Special Education; and Parents and Their Deaf Children: The Early Years. She is widely published in the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, American Journal of Evaluation, American Annals of the Deaf, and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. She currently serves as the editor for the Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

As a past President (1998) and member of the American Evaluation Association's Board, Dr. Mertens provided leadership in the development of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and the establishment of the AEA Diversity Internship Program in conjunction with Duquesne University. AEA awarded her their highest honor for service to the organization and the field of evaluation for her contributions in international and diversity initiatives.

Dr. Mertens conducts and consults on evaluations, as well as leads professional development activities on research and evaluation in many national and international settings. Examples include teaming with the leadership of the United Nations UNIFEM initiative to address the Millennium Goals for women in Africa in South Africa; evaluating the cultural exchange program for deaf students between Costa Rica and Gallaudet; providing professional development on transformative mixed methods inquiry strategies in diverse communities at the Fitzwilliam College of Health Sciences, Cambridge University; consulting with the breast cancer screening project for indigenous peoples in Newfoundland, Canada and on early intervention programs for deaf infants and children in Israel for Jewish and Bedouin families; and evaluation of professional development for Egyptian educators in deafness, blindness, and mental retardation.  


Donna Mertens receiving the Paul F Lazarsfeld Theory Award

The Department of Education congratulates Dr. Mertens on receiving the prestigious PAUL F LAZARSFELD THEORY AWARD from the American Evaluation Association at their annual meeting in Orlando Florida on November 13, 2009.  The Lazarsfeld Theory Award is presented to an individual whose written work on evaluation theory has led to fruitful debates on the assumptions, goals, and practices of evaluation.

Dr. Mertens posits that the field of evaluation can transform society through work that shares - or brings - the voices of those pushed to societal margins into the world of research. This applies to those discriminated and oppressed due to factors including but not limited to race/ethnicity, disability, immigrant status, political conflicts, sexual orientation, poverty, gender or age as well as power structures that perpetuate social inequities and indigenous people and scholars from marginalized communities undergoing change.  Mertens explains that "The transformative approach to evaluation makes explicit the use of evaluation for the purpose of furthering social justice."  



Program evaluation; Transformative research and evaluation; Cultural complexity in program evaluation

Learn more about Donna M. Mertens Ph.D.
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