Principles-based change for principles-driven people.


Nora F. Murphy, MA, PhD

I’m a New Hampshire native, working in Minnesota as connector, social change champion, space-maker, seeker of inspiration, and empath. My professional titles are co-founder, principal vision officer, and evaluator. My personal path has profoundly shaped who I am and therefor how I evaluate and show up as an evaluator. This was a blog post from me, circa 2004:

We die and become fertilizer. This isn't a sad view of the world, just rational. And if you love nature like I do, becoming part of the cycle of life (think a sunlit tree sycamore tree at a creek's edge or a blooming fiery pink peony) is a beautiful thing. There's no need to want for anything more. No need for religion or a belief in something bigger than myself. The world is beautiful, has order that can be explained by science, and makes sense.

Tragedy broke me open on September 29, 2010 and I learned that there is so much more. It huge, gorgeous, magical. This website and blog is me now, Nora F. Murphy PhD, former skeptic and spreadsheet lover, learning what to do with my new awareness, figuring out how to live a spirit guided life, and become whole. Waking Lumina is emerging from this seeking.

Many people thinking of evaluation as something that is dry, boring, and rote, but I think of it—the particular way I do it and reasons for doing it—as my calling. It's the way I live into my guiding principles of light, connection, social justice, and inspiration with my heard, mind, body, and spirit. Waking Lumina is my "brand" for this way of living and working.

I hope this website and blog inspires you to think, feel, move, love, and create. You can follow me on social media to learn more from afar, click on the services link to learn about some of the ways I work with people, or schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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Learn more about Nora with her Top 3 Highlights lists


  1. Seeing patterns in and pathways through complex systems
  2. Listening to stories deeply and treating the shared story with dignity and honor.
  3. Connecting with people in our shared humanitiy.



  1. Feeling everything so deeply without getting depleted, discouraged, or depressed.
  2. Collecting and integrating the fragmented pieces of myself to be[come] whole.
  3. Remembering and living the fact that "being" is more important than "doing".


Recent Workshops

  1. Murphy, Nora. F. (December 2017) Principles-Focused Evaluation. 2-day workshop, TerraLuna Collaborative, Minneapolis, MN
  2. Murphy, Nora F. and Johnson, Andy. (March 2017) Developmental Evaluation in Practice: Lessons Learned. 1-day workshop, Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute Spring Training, St. Paul, MN
  3. Murphy, Nora F., McKegg, Kate, Wehipeihana, Nan. (March 2017) Beyond Developmental Evaluation 101 – Applying Developmental Evaluation Principles in Practice. 1-day workshop. Canadien Evaluation Society Conference, Vancouver, BC, Canada 




1. PhD in Evaluation Studies, awarded January 2014 by the University of Minnesota, College of Human Development and Education, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development

2. M.A. in Research Methodology, awarded May 2005 by the School of Education, Department of Psychology in Education, University of Pittsburgh

3. B.A. in Studies in Education and Biology, awarded May 1996 by Earlham College, with College and Departmental Honors, Phi Beta Kappa.



1. Faster Forward Fund Grant, 2016.. Nora F. Murphy, Kate McKegg, and Nan Wehipeihana of the Kinnect Group were awarded funding to develop an Institute that aims to provide an alternative pathway for new evaluators from under-represented communities who want to work as Developmental Evaluators for social justice. 

2. Recognized as Leader in Next Generation Evaluation, 2016.

 3. Awarded the Michael Scriven Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Theory, Method, or Practice in 2013



1. Murphy, N. F. (2017) Waking Lumina: A Personal Principles-Based Evaluation Philosophy. In Patton, M.Q. Principles-focused evaluation: The guide. Guilford Publications.

2. Murphy, N. F. and Huseby, H. H. (2017) Diverse Uses of Principles across an Organization. In Patton, M.Q. Principles-focused evaluation: The guide. Guilford Publications.

3. Chapman Haynes, M., Murphy, N. F., & Patton, M. Q. (2017). A Guiding Typology for Site Visits. New Directions for Evaluation2017( 156), 11-19.