AEA Awards Program 2023 Return

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is excited to announce the reintroduction of its prestigious awards program to be presented at Evaluation 2023 in Indianapolis, IN. Applications will be made available in early May 2023. In 2020, the AEA Board of Directors unanimously made the challenging but necessary decision to pause the AEA awards program to improve not only the processes associated with them, but also their meaning and service to the overall Ends Policies for the organization. In addition to the Board’s own observations, this decision was based on the recommendations from the Membership Engagement, Leadership and Diversity (MELD) report to the Board of Directors, feedback from the awards working group, and AEA’s commitment to living our values.

AEA convened the Awards Task Force representing our diverse membership to review our award program processes and report recommendations for improvements to the Board of Directors. The task force completed their work in spring 2022 with the Board voting to approve their recommendations during their May 2022 Board meeting. The improvements recommended by the task force will allow the awards program to align with AEA’s mission and vision as an organization.

AEA thanks the members of the Awards Task Force for their service and efforts to re-align AEA’s awards.

Awards Task Force Members:

  • Eric Barela, Co-chair, Salesforce
  • Sharon Rallis, Co-chair, UMass Amherst, Professor Emerita
  • Lisa Aponte-Soto, Board Liaison, Tanoma Consulting
  • Zachary Grays, AEA
  • Sandra Ayoo, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Mariana Enriquez, Independent Evaluation Consultant
  • Sebastian Lemire, Abt Associates

Learn more below about the Awards Task Force recommendations and what to expect as we roll out the 2023 awards program.

What were the approved Task Force recommendations? The AEA Awards Task Force was charged with reviewing the current awards processes and providing the AEA Board and staff with recommendations for revising AEA’s awards program. The AEA Board voted to accept the recommendations from the Awards Task Force with the exception that all awards be eligible to be given annually (as opposed to on a staggered schedule by award), that the Awards Working Group structure recommendation be revisited, and with a minor award language edit.

The following changes were recommended by the Awards Task Force program as a way to increase clarity and transparency to ensure that the purpose of the awards program continues to be to recognize the notable accomplishments of eligible nominees.

  • Keep most of the individual awards, but revert one award back to its original purpose (revert the Evaluation Advocacy and Use award back to the Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Government Award) and discontinue one award in its current form (Enhancing the Public Good Award). A summary table can be found below.
  • Include how the work of nominees aligns to AEA’s four main documents (Guiding Principles, Competencies, Cultural Competence Statement, Program Evaluation Standards) for each award.
  • Set up a two-year awards cycle, with some awards being given annually and some awards being given once every two years [Not Approved].
  • Make the following changes to what is currently called the Awards Committee:
    • Rename to Awards Working Group,
    • Increase number of members from three to five [AMENDED],
    • Increase member term from one year to two years,
    • Require a minimum of five years experience as an AEA member,
    • Encourage experience in AEA leadership roles, and
    • Ensure the Awards Working Group makeup is representative of AEA membership.
  • Use a two-stage nomination process, where Stage One would serve to surface potential nominees and Stage Two would determine potential awardees.
    • Stage One would require nominators to fill out a brief form and would be used to determine who would be asked to submit a full nomination packet during Stage Two.
    • Stage Two would require the nominators of approved candidates to submit a full nomination packet and would be used to determine awardees.
  • Provide feedback to nominators at the end of both Stage One and Stage Two.
  • Suggest that the Awards Committee consider the following when determining criteria:
    • Fit with award criteria,
    • Alignment with AEA’s four main documents,
    • Compelling nature of nominee accomplishments, and
    • Continue to consider honoring one, multiple, or no nominees for each award.

Offering in 2023

Revisit for 2024

  • Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award
  • Robert Ingle Service Award
  • Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Government Award (Reverted from Evaluation Advocacy and Use Award)
  • Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award
  • Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award
  • Outstanding Evaluation Award
  • Research on Evaluation Award
  • Enhancing the Public Good Award
  • Evaluation Advocacy and Use Award

2020 Submitters: What if I submitted a nomination packet in 2020 prior to the pause of awards? If you submitted a packet in 2020 prior to the pause of the awards, you may resubmit the same materials but we ask that you revise the packet so that it is aligned with the updated criteria for the award for which you are submitting a nomination. You may find the revised award criteria and requirements here. This year only, the Award’s Working Group will extend the years considered for the Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award and Outstanding Evaluation Award from within five years to seven. This one-time only extension is to accommodate potential awardees who would have otherwise been eligible during the pause.

What should we expect next/what changes have already been made to the process? AEA is excited to reintroduce its awards program with Eric Barela and Felicia Bohanon serving as Co-Chairs. Full submission instructions can be found here. These changes are in line with the approved recommendations from the Awards Task Force by the AEA Board of Directors and to reduce the undue burden on Working Group members in reviewing submitted materials and nominators on the compilation of supporting materials. To summarize what to expect:

  • Nominators/Nominees will now submit a 500 Word Nomination Summary as the LOI prior to submitting a full packet. The Awards Working Group will review submitted nomination summaries and will invite selected nominations to submit full packets.
  • Limit letters of support to 3 letters of no more than 2 pages each.
  • Limit justification statement to 2-5 pages MAX.
  • CV, reports, and publications requirements will not change.
  • The working group will consist of 9 members as opposed to the 5 recommended by the Task Force.