CJPE Tribute to John Mayne


robertp.shepherd@carleton.ca's picture

Learning of the passing of John Mayne came as a surprise to many, including the instructors and students of the Diploma in Public Policy & Program Evaluation (DPPE) at Carleton University's School of Public Policy & Administration. To say that John was a friend of the School and our program would be a monumental understatement.

John was a stalwart participant in many of the program's founding and continuing moments since its inception in 2006. He was asked for his advice at the time on what would make for a relevant and effective degree program. His first piece of advice was that it had to be based in both theory and practice, something that John has written about many times over the years in the CJPE. His second piece of advice was that the degree should not be contained in the "ivory tower," but outward facing and inclusive of the practitioner community. These principles, as it were, frame the very essence of the DPPE, including and sometimes for better or worse, the program is founded on a practicum that engages students in actual evaluation practice. The DPPE remains true to this format thanks in large part to John's early advice and taken to heart by the program's instructors.

John was always a friend to the students. He was very patient, and was always available when asked whether by students or instructors, to give of his time to make an appearance, record a video, or comment on papers even when he was travelling to some far off destination as he liked to do. Students frequently remarked on his kindness, and his ability to connect very personally with their work. He never judged, but often "nudged" students to think in different ways - something that even we as instructors marveled.

John's writing was and remains central in the DPPE's courses. His work on performance management, theory-based evaluation, and contribution analysis in particular is the cornerstone of the program's architecture. This is cutting-edge thinking that many in the Canadian field, and indeed internationally, have come to recognize as revolutionary. We as instructors have based our own evaluation work on his thinking, which we pass to our students freely.

John was a big personality wrapped in a kind person - something we in this program have tried to emulate. To say that John will be missed barely communicates the sadness we all feel. On behalf of all of us in the School of Public Policy & Administration, Carleton University and the DPPE, we extend our most sincere condolences to John's family, friends and colleagues. Losing John is a huge loss to what continues to be our "fledgling" community.