AEA Newsletter: June 2015

Message from the Executive Director - Thank You for Participating 

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The AEA Working Group that developed and implemented the AEA Member Survey has completed the first phase of its work. Phase II, analyzing the data and writing a comprehensive report, now begins, with an anticipated release date of December 2015. The group began its work in September 2014 to develop a survey instrument that would gather input from members on AEA programs and begin to set benchmarks on progress toward the AEA Ends Goals.

The survey was distributed to the AEA membership on April 15 and remained open for three weeks (closing May 6), with reminder emails sent out weekly. (If you did not receive emails about this survey, please check your email address in your member profile on the AEA website. Please contact Zachary Grays with any questions.) With 25 percent of the membership responding (1,713 members), the survey attracted input from a demographic that appears to match the overall demographic of AEA membership in general. The working group validated the level with which respondents represented the overall AEA membership, including race, gender, membership type, place of employment, years of experience in evaluation, and geographic location.  

The results seem to indicate a general satisfaction with membership value from the respondents, with 78 percent of the respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement "AEA resources meet my needs with respect to my professional interests." However, overall, many respondents were not familiar with many of the AEA programs currently being offered. 

Phase II will focus on a deep analysis of the data and on the writing of a final report to be shared with the leadership and AEA members. 

I would like to thank the hard-working members of the working group for their dedication:

  • Moya Alfonso    
  • Johnny Baek                                                                                                 
  • Sharon Baggett  
  • Eric Barela, Chair                
  • Herb Baum                
  • Janelle Clay
  • Michael Harnar, Co-Chair                           
  • Peter Lovegrove                              
  • Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead        
  • Jonny Morell                                    
  • Jenica Reed                                      
  • Katherine Ryan                               
  • Jacquelyn Warnecke                                   
  • Nicole Vicinanza    

I would also like to thank the members who volunteered to serve as pilot testers for the instrument as well as all of the 1,713 respondents. We appreciate your participation as we continue to enhance AEA’s programs and benefits. If you have any questions about the information presented here, please contact me at droosendaal@eval.org.  

Sincerely,

Denise Roosendaal

AEA Executive Director

 

Diversity - Congratulations to the 2014-'15 GEDI Cohort! 

Zachary Grays.jpgThe Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) commencement at Summer Institute 2015 marked another year of GEDI excellence and the continued expansion of diversity in evaluation. A mainstay at the institute, the GEDI commencement celebrates the successful completion of the rigorous program requirements by the current cohort. Joining the alumni ranks of the more than 60 successful GEDI graduates, this year's impressive cohort is eager to impart their newly acquired expertise on the world.

This year’s successful scholars are Natalia Woolley, Kristin Mendoza, Iliana Perez, Kevin Lee, Kisha Woods, Erica Roberts, and Danielle Cummings, who made their final presentations detailing their host site experience during an intimate luncheon attended by special guests, including GEDI program creator Dr. Rodney Hopson. In the grand tradition of cohorts past, this year’s GEDI cohort has chosen the name Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu, meaning “Unity in Diversity.”

Diversity Photo June15.jpgAEA congratulates this year’s GEDI cohort! We couldn't be more proud of their hard work and are expecting spectacular things from them in the future. Learn more about the GEDI program and get to know this year's cohort here. AEA and the GEDI program directors are now in the process of reviewing applications for the next set of future evaluators, receiving more than 75 applications for this prestigious opportunity.

 Congratulations to the 2014-2015 GEDI cohort!

  • Danielle Cummings, Harlem Children's Zone
  • Kevin Lee, Opportunity Fund
  • Kristin Mendoza, National Cancer Institute
  • Iliana Perez, Harder + Company Community Research  
  • Erica Roberts, National Cancer Institute
  • Kisha Woods, Education Development Center
  • Natalia Woolley, Southern California Kaiser Permanente

 

Potent Presentations Initiative - Message Matters

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

Sheila Robinson-RS 2.pngGreetings, Potent Presenters! Many of us are playing the waiting game right now, wondering if that conference proposal acceptance notice will appear in our inboxes soon. As we dream of giving that standing-room-only presentation that leaves us thinking These people are definitely going to seek me out for a keynote next year, it’s a good time to begin planning the message of your potentially career-altering presentation. Sure, great slide design and good audience engagement strategies will take you part of the way, but you can’t go the distance without a solid message.

Defining your message may be the most time-consuming part, and design, delivery, and audience engagement strategies are all built on a solid foundation of key points. As one member of the Dynamic Dozen, whose work was studied for p2i, says: “You have to first create the key points and then figure out what you want to say.” Fortunately, p2i has a host of messaging materials available for free viewing and download. You can find them here on the p2i tools page.

p2i image_June 15 Newsletter_RS.pngNoted presentations expert Nancy Duarte suggests structuring your presentation message like a story – with a beginning, middle, and end. Duarte’s approach includes clearly identifying and communicating to your audience “what is” and “what could be” and ending your presentation with a call to action. This can be an especially daunting task for academic or research-focused presentations, which don't (at least on their surface) appear to have much in common with persuasive speeches or sales pitches. Well, (soon-to-be) noted presentations expert Sheila B. Robinson (I can dream, can’t I?) says that all presentations are lessons and all presenters are teachers. Best-selling author Daniel Pink, in “To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” has my back when he claims that all of us (including teachers!) are in sales. As we ask people to part with their time and attention during our presentation (not to mention their money, if they paid to see us), we can only achieve success in their eyes (and that’s what counts!) if our message is clearly identified, communicated, and retained by our audiences.

Another recognized presentation expert, Garr Reynolds, offers some key tips on the preparation phase of presentation planning. Among Reynolds’ nuggets of wisdom also lies this cautionary note:

Remember, even if you’ve been asked to share information, rarely is the mere transfer of information a satisfactory objective from the point of view of the audience. After all, the audience could always just read your book (or article, handout, etc.) if information transfer were the only purpose of the meeting, seminar, or formal presentation.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Don’t be an illusion to your audience! Make sure they take your message with them. 

Image credit: Patrick Denkar via Flickr

 

International Policy Update - AEA Sending Our Award-Winning New Evaluator to Global Forum in Nepal

From Mike Hendricks, AEA Representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), with contributions from Jim Rugh, EvalPartners Co-Coordinator

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In a wonderful display of our support for the next generation of evaluators, AEA is funding last year’s winner of our Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award to attend the EvalPartners Global Evaluation Week to be held in Nepal this November. Attending the week-long sessions in Kathmandu will be Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead from the University of Connecticut.

Bianca_RS.pngBianca will be very busy during this event, actively participating in at least three different ways. First, she has just been appointed to the steering committee of EvalYouth, a new EvalPartners global initiative to promote young and emerging evaluators to be leaders in the evaluation field, and she will help to formally launch this initiative. Second, she will help celebrate EvalYear 2015 and attend the global Parliamentarians Forum for Development Evaluation, both sessions to be held in the Parliament of Nepal. Finally, she will share her expertise on "Building Evaluation Skills in Government" during the Third Conclave of the Community of Evaluators-South Asia, which will be held in conjunction with the Global Forum.

In each of these roles, Bianca will represent AEA – especially our young and emerging evaluators. Given her track record, she will represent us extremely well. Even though she is relatively new to the field, having received her Ph.D. in evaluation and applied research methods from Claremont Graduate University only six years ago, she has already achieved more than many of us achieve over an entire career.

For example, Bianca has already:

  • Earned a tenure-track position at the University of Connecticut, where she is an assistant professor of measurement, evaluation, and assessment and also the coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation
  • Published 11 peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Co-edited a recent issue of New Directions for Evaluation
  • Chaired AEA’s Topical Interest Group (TIG) for Graduate Students and New Evaluators
  • Co-chaired a recent AEA task force that reviewed AEA’s Guiding Principles for Evaluators
  • Been a primary investigator, contributing writer, or lead staff member on 13 evaluation grants totaling over $13 million

You can see why AEA is so proud to have Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead representing us at the EvalPartners Global Evaluation Week. If you see her at our annual conference in Chicago (which will occur immediately before the Nepal meetings), please congratulate and encourage Bianca in her efforts on our behalf.

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