Michael Morris has been a faculty member at the University of New Haven since 1978,
where he serves as Professor and Director of the Master's Program in Community Psychology . Michael also consults part-time with a variety of human-service, non-profit, and
public-sector organizations; his consulting specialties are organizational development
and the enhancement of collaborative relationships between organizations.
The professional activity Michael enjoys most is teaching, in large part because at
the University of New Haven he has the opportunity to teach the subjects he finds
most interesting and challenging: organizational behavior, consultation, community
psychology, and program evaluation. These areas relate directly to the professional
work Michael does outside of the University of New Haven. Michael has received the
University's Award for Excellence in Teaching on two occasions (1985 and 2008); this
is the professional accomplishment of which he is most proud.
Michael's major research interest is the ethical challenges faced by program evaluators
in their work. In 1993 he published the first national study of such challenges among
professional evaluators, a task that required more content analysis of survey data
by Michael and his graduate assistant (a co-author of the study) than any two people
should have to conduct in a lifetime. This study is frequently cited in publications
dealing with ethical issues in evaluation. Michael has served as Associate Editor
of the American Journal of Evaluation (2010-2013) and as a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of New Directions for Evaluation. His third book, Evaluation Ethics for Best Practice: Cases and Commentaries, was published in 2008 by Guilford Press.
Feel free to read no further if you abhor the "personal tidbits" section of these
descriptions. Michael enjoys playing racquetball (when he plays well), movies (when
they're good), writing humorous essays (when he has the time), performing stand-up
comedy (when other people find him funny), and reading long novels (when they are
not on a Kindle). He loves living in New Haven because it has magnificent pizza, world-class
theater, it gets less snow than Boston, and it provides convenient TV and radio access
to three Major League baseball teams.
I do research on ethical challenges faced by program evaluators. Evaluators study
the effectiveness of programs and policies in fields as varied as health, education,
social services, criminal justice, employment, and community development. Because
these programs have major implications for the well-being and vested interests of
a wide range of individuals and groups, ethical problems can occur at any stage of
an evaluation project, from the entry/contracting phase at the beginning to utilization
of results at the end. How should an evaluator respond, for example, when pressured
to misrepresent the findings of an evaluation? "Doing the right thing" in evaluation
is often difficult, sometimes because it’s not clear what the "right thing to do"
is, and sometimes because doing the right thing puts one’s own welfare at risk.