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Assistant professor receives $1.7 million award from U.S. Department of State

  |   Anika Chaturvedi   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   News Release,   Research,   Students and Faculty

Giovanni Dazzo, an assistant professor in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, received a $1.7 million grant award from the United States Department of State for his research project, “Promoting Rights-Based Evaluation (PRE).”

In the project, Dazzo and co-principal investigator Robin Lin, a professor at Michigan State University, will form a cohort of international co-researchers to examine how funding agencies can implement funding decisions using a locally led and community-informed approach.

“This project builds on my previous work as it provides an opportunity to continue conducting participatory research and evaluation with human rights activists and communities who have experienced rights violations,” Dazzo said. “It’s an opportunity for funders to take a more culturally responsive and decolonizing approach to evaluate their programs, and to then use this evidence to further ground their funding decisions through community values.”

The co-researchers will include human rights activists and community members across various groups, creating a collaborative network with knowledge and understanding of human rights goals and programs.

“As the funder was interested in our model of community co-researchers, I’ll be able to continue exploring how the research and evaluation process can be more restorative for communities, rather than simply an extraction of their knowledge. We’ll also explore the coloniality of knowledge, and how this affects how funders design, research, and evaluate human rights programming,” Dazzo said.

“By working directly with the funder and communities who have experienced human rights violations, I hope to demonstrate how restorative forms of inquiry are not solely theoretical, but can contribute to changes in how funding models are designed and resources are distributed.”

Dazzo joined the College in 2022 after completing a Ph.D. in research methodology from George Mason University. In 2023, he co-authored “Critical Participatory Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Guide,” a textbook outlining the research process of critical participatory inquiry, and received the 2023 Qualitative Research SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association’s Qualitative Research Special Interest Group.


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