Stewart Donaldson
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  • Degrees
    PhD, Psychology, Claremont Graduate University
    MA, General Experimental Psychology, California State University, Fullerton
    BA, Behavioral Science, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Research Interests
    Positive psychology, positive organizational & community development, peak performance at work and in sports, optimal health & well-being, and culturally responsive and international theory-driven evaluation science
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Stewart I. Donaldson is professor of psychology and community & global health, the executive director of the university’s Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC), and director of The Evaluators’ Institute (TEI). He previously provided more than 16 years of leadership and service to the School of Social Science, Policy, & Evaluation (SSSPE), where he was the founding dean from 2013 to 2017; the School of Community & Global Health (SCGH), where he was dean from 2013 to 2017; the School of Politics & Economics, where he was dean from 2012 to 2013; and the School of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences (SBOS), where he was dean from 2001 to 2013.

Donaldson’s portfolio in the social and health sciences during the final three years of his concurrent deanships (2014-2017) included providing academic leadership for more than 100 core and supporting graduate faculty, overseeing the education of more than 650 degree-seeking graduate students, and securing grants, contracts, and gifts to support SSSPE and SCGH research and students. Among many other accomplishments, Donaldson led the effort to develop the first research-oriented positive psychology programs in the world, launch the new doctorate of public health program at CGU (DrPH), and dramatically expanded the portfolio of evaluation and applied research programs.

In 2007, Donaldson (in collaboration with professors Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura) developed the first research-focused PhD and MA programs in positive psychology. He currently provides paid employment and supervises numerous students specializing in positive organizational psychology, positive health and sports psychology, and evaluation. Many of his students are active in his Accenture Talent Innovation Lab, Positive Organizational Psychology Lab, Positive Organizational Development Lab, or Positive Sports & Peak Performance Psychology Lab. Professor Donaldson actively recruits new students to join his labs at the beginning of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Donaldson also employs and supervises doctoral, masters, and certificate students specializing in evaluation and applied research methods. Many of these students work with him on projects as part of the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) and his Culturally Responsive and International Theory-driven Evaluation Lab. The CEC is a major provider of evaluation and applied research services, on-site and online professional development training, and evaluation conferences and events, and it supports The Evaluators’ Institute (TEI), CGU evaluation certificate programs, the new online program in evaluation and applied research, and a wide variety of residential master’s and doctoral degree programs at CGU. Located on the university campus in Claremont, the CEC has in recent years expanded its presence in Washington DC to amplify its positive social impact.

Donaldson has built a career rich in both academic and professional experience. He is past president of the American Evaluation Association (2015) and has served on numerous boards, including those of the International Positive Psychology Association, Western Psychological Association, Western Positive Psychology Association (co-founder), American Evaluation Association, Centre for Program Evaluation at the University of Melbourne, The Faster Forward Fund, Southern California Evaluation Association (co-founder), and EvalPartners. He currently serves as editor of the Evaluation and Society book series (with Jennifer Greene), and as a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, American Journal of Evaluation, New Directions for Evaluation, Evaluation & Program Planning, and Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation. He is also a fellow and on the council of representatives for the Western Psychological Association.

Donaldson has been honored with a plethora of prestigious national and regional career achievement awards, including the Early Career Achievement Awards from the American Evaluation Association (1996) and the Western Psychological Association (2001). In 2013, he was presented with the American Evaluation Association’s (AEA) Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors in the field of evaluation; the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award for sustained lifetime written contributions to the advancement of evaluation theory. “As an author and full-time evaluation professional, I have learned a great deal in preparing this justification statement,” wrote one of his lead nominators, “and I come away convinced that Stewart Donaldson is probably our field’s most prolific theorist.”

He was also honored with the AEA’s 2017 Robert Ingle Service Award for his important contributions to the field of evaluation and the American Evaluation Association (AEA) over a long period of time. That recognition includes his serving as president of the AEA during the International Year of Evaluation in 2015, for six years of recent AEA Board Service, as director of the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program, as chair of the Program Theory and Theory-Driven Evaluation Topical Interest Group, and for his various leadership appointments and many evaluation training, mentoring, evaluation practice, and scholarly contributions.

In 2018, The Western Psychological Association (WPA) bestowed upon Donaldson the prestigious WPA Social Responsibility Award for his efforts to promote and increase social justice at the societal and individual levels. The WPA award selection committee unanimously chose Donaldson based on his record of research and publications, theory-based evaluations, and grants that are oriented toward social equality and boosting positive psychological outcomes.

Most recently he was selected as the recipient of the AEA’s 2018 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award, which is presented to an evaluator who exemplifies outstanding evaluation practice and whose contributions to the field of evaluation have been substantial, sustained over a number of years, cumulative, and whose work is consistent with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators. Outstanding evaluation practice is defined as leading or conducting evaluations of the highest possible quality and utility, as demonstrated through publications, documented stakeholder feedback, and other forms of evidence of influencing the field in which evaluations are performed. His nomination letter stated “he has served the AEA and the broader field of evaluation as a major thought leader as well as a practitioner [who] has done more to create the conditions for practice excellence in the United States and around the world than any other person.”

Donaldson has taught numerous courses at CGU and published widely on the topics of evaluation theory and practice, positive psychology, positive organizational psychology, positive organizational and career development, optimal health & well-being, cross-cultural and international evaluation and research, and applied research methods.

Donaldson works collaboratively with his students and colleagues to publish findings from his extensive portfolio of extramurally-funded research and evaluation projects. He has served as chair or member on more than 70 doctoral dissertation committees at CGU and more than 200 master’s theses and certificate students’ culminating research and evaluation projects.

Donaldson’s work has been cited widely, including more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, chapters, and evaluation reports. He has also published 14 books, including his most recent titles, Toward a Positive Psychology of Relationships: New Directions in Theory and Research (2018); Scientific Advances in Positive Psychology (2017); Evaluation for an Equitable Society (2016); Credible and Actionable Evidence: The Foundation for Rigorous and Influential Evaluations (2015); Emerging Practices in International Development Evaluation (2013); The Future of Evaluation in Society: A Tribute to Michael Scriven (2013); Teaching Psychology Online: Tips and Techniques for Success (2012); Social Psychology and Evaluation (2011); Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society (2011); Program Theory-Driven Evaluation Science: Strategies and Applications (2007); and Applied Psychology: New Frontiers and Rewarding Careers (2006).

Ackerman, C., Warren, M. A., & Donaldson, S. I. (2018). Scaling the heights of positive psychology: A systematic review of measurement scales. International Journal of Wellbeing, 8(2), 1-21.

Kim, H., Doiron, K, Warren, M. A., & Donaldson, S. I. (2018). The international landscape of positive psychology research: A systematic review. International Journal of Well-Being, 8(1), 50-70.

Donaldson, S. I., and Donaldson, S. I. (2018). Other people matter: The power of positive relationships. In Warren, M. A., and S. I. Donaldson. Toward a positive psychology of relationships: Theory and research. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Warren, M. A., Donaldson, S. I., Luthans, F. (2017). Taking positive psychology to the workplace: Positive organizational psychology, positive organizational behavior, and positive organizational scholarship. In Warren, M. A., and S. I. Donaldson. Scientific advances in positive psychology. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Donaldson, S. I. (2017). There is more to life than evaluation logic and data: Trusting gut feeling. New Directions for Evaluation, 157, 117-119.

Leeuw, F. L., and Donaldson, S. I. (2015). Theories in evaluation: Reducing confusion and encouraging debate. Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice, 21(4), 467–480.

Bledsoe, K, & Donaldson, S. I. (2015). Culturally responsive theory-driven evaluations. In S. Hood, R. Hopson, K. Obeidat, & H. Frierson (Eds.), Continuing the journey to reposition culture and cultural context in evaluation theory and practice. Greenwich, NY: Information Age.

Rao, M., and Donaldson, S. I. (2015). Expanding opportunities for diverse populations in positive psychology: An examination of gender, race, and ethnicity. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie, 56(3), 271–282. (Special issue on Positive Psychology)

Donaldson, S. I., Dollwet, M., and Rao, M. (2015). Happiness, excellence, and optimal human functioning revisited: Examining the peer-reviewed literature linked to positive psychology. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(6), 1–11. (This article with former students already has more than 130 citations)

Donaldson, S. I., and Ko, I. (2010). Positive organizational psychology, behavior, and scholarship: A review of the emerging literature and evidence base. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5 (3), 177–191. (This article with a former student has more than 200 citations)

Donaldson, S. I., & Grant-Vallone, E. J. (2002). Understanding self-report bias in organizational behavior research. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17(2), 245-262. (This article with a former student has more than 930 citations)

Doctoral Seminar in Positive Organizational Development
Positive Organizational Psychology
Theory-Driven Program Evaluation
Field Placement for Psychology Doctoral Students
Monitoring and Evaluation in Global Public Health Programs
Theory-driven Evaluation Science (online)
Designing, Monitoring, and Evaluating Positive Psychology Interventions (online)
Advanced Seminar in Evaluation Theory, Practice, & Research (online)
Advanced Evaluation Science Practicum (online)