Monday, April 25, 2022
Are You an Engaged Member?
Member engagement is paramount to the success of the American Evaluation Association. As a member-owned entity, our structure is rooted in collective ownership, governance and decision making.
As a member, you are an owner of this association, which makes your engagement crucial. It is key that our members interact and share in the experiences that are created for them, as well as have a voice in creating their own experiences. Under our governance structure, the board leads and the staff facilitates. However, it is through member engagement that our leadership and staff receive feedback on content for programs and initiatives. Below are some highlighted opportunities for member engagement:
Town Hall Meetings
We changed the structure of our Town Hall meetings to allow members to have direct dialogue with AEA leaders. Members are strongly encouraged to participate in the live sessions, held via Zoom) or view the recordings that are posted on the website.
AEA members have the opportunity to submit articles to the American Journal of Evaluation and New Directions for Evaluation. These peer reviewed journals accept submissions that impact the evaluation community. For submission instructions, visit our Publications page.
AEA365 is a daily blog that provides a tip a day for evaluators. AEA365 highlights hot tips, cool tricks, rad resources and lessons learned for evaluators. Visit the AEA365 blog for submission instructions.
Don’t miss your opportunity to exercise your right to vote for the leaders who will represent you on the AEA Board! Our voter participation rate is currently under 20% of the membership, and we need your vote to determine future leaders. The candidate nominations process will launch later this summer. In the meantime, look for upcoming virtual sessions to learn more about candidates and exercise your right to vote.
Collaboration and Networking
Joining a Topical Interest Group (TIG) is one the best ways to maximize your opportunities to collaborate and network with other members who share your interests. AEA has 62 TIG’s that address many facets of the evaluation community. TIGs are instrumental in making suggestions to the leadership and staff, and play a role in representing the membership.
We also encourage members to join their local affiliate, which provides an excellent opportunity to impact the local community. Our TIG’s and local affiliates offer several opportunities to network during our annual conference! We hope that you will take advantage of this time to collaborate with your peers. Check out a list of local affiliates here.
We are always seeking volunteers to join working groups to inform content development of programs and initiatives that further our mission. Our commitment to access and inclusion is paramount, so our volunteer process is equitable in that we ask interested individuals to respond to an official “Call for Volunteers” that is sent via Eblast to all members.
All volunteers must submit an application, and selections are made based on matching criteria with willingness to serve, skills and abilities. In the spirit of sustainability, we will also leave space on working groups for those who may not meet all of the criteria but want to learn and develop skills, so that they are prepared to be future AEA leaders. For more information, visit our volunteer page.
AEA is going strong thanks to our continually expanding community who comes together to donate time, resources and talent in support of our mission. Members of our national board, staff, task forces, working groups, TIGs, local affiliates and more all contribute to our achievements, and we are thankful for their steadfast work to sustain AEA’s position as a pillar of the evaluation community. It is up to you to stay engaged to ensure that AEA remains strong and continues to flourish!
Name (as you want it listed): Emma Duer
Affiliation: Dainis & Company, Inc.
Degrees: MPH, Community and Behavioral Health
Years in the Evaluation Field: 15
Joined AEA: 2021
Why do you belong to AEA?
In my new position as VP of Program Evaluation at Dainis & Co., I needed to update and expand my network and skills as an evaluator. AEA has provided a wealth of opportunities for both and given me a place to grow professionally in ways I wasn't expecting.
Why do you choose to work in the field of evaluation?
I was lucky enough to take a course on evaluation in graduate school, and it was love at first logic model! Evaluation is at its heart about listening and letting people and communities tell us what their needs are and what is of value to them. The best part of my job is giving communities the tools to do good and do better.
What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of?
At the Virginia Department of Health, I worked with a statewide coalition to conduct a needs assessment on underserved victims of sexual and domestic violence. As part of our assessment, we conducted focus groups with a total of 42 survivors who were African-American, immigrants or older adults. Hearing firsthand from these women about the barriers they have faced getting help and staying safe during the abuse was so powerful in the way they were able to communicate the complexity and intersectionality of their experience. Findings from the needs assessment were used to develop statewide trainings and resources addressing the priority barriers identified by these survivors.
What advice would you give to those new to the field?
Don't be afraid to say "yes" to something you haven't done before. Leaving your comfort zone not only builds confidence and resilience, but your commitment to a client is perhaps the best motivation for developing a new skillset.
Anything additional you would like to share with the AEA community?
I want to thank the EvalTalk community—and in particular the Independent Consultants TIG—for their responsiveness, willingness to support and share resources with each other and endless curiosity and passion for all things evaluation!
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our colleague, Eleanor Chelimsky, on March 6, 2022.
Eleanor Chelimsky (née Fine) died March 6, 2022 at home with her son and daughter-in-law after a long illness. She was born July 9, 1926 in New York, the youngest child of Charles and Mary Fine and younger sister of Naomi. Eleanor was an accomplished concert pianist at an early age. The New York Times complimented her debut at Town Hall on November 10, 1941 at age 15. She continued her career as a pianist playing solos with orchestras around Europe. After her marriage to Oscar Chelimsky, the couple moved to Paris right after World War II, Eleanor supported by a Fulbright Scholarship and Oscar by the GI Bill. Though they had planned a one-year stay, they remained in France for 22 years where they had two children, Thomas in 1956 and Catherine in 1960. In 1962, Eleanor took a job as a secretary at the American Embassy in Paris, eventually worked for the MITRE Corporation and then became a statistical analyst at NATO. The family moved to Brussels with NATO in 1968.
They returned to the States in 1970 when Eleanor became a research manager at the MITRE Corporation. In the last segment of her career, she was director for 14 years of the Program Evaluation and Methodology Division of the General Accountability Office, which she directed as a United States Assistant Comptroller General until her retirement in 1994. She was a pioneer of North American Evaluation and served as President of the American Evaluation Association (1995) and President of the Evaluation Research Society. In 2013, the Eastern Evaluation Research Society (EERS) launched the Eleanor Chelimsky Forum on Evaluation Theory and Practice.
During her tenure, Eleanor generated over 300 evaluations of government policies and programs for congress and developed new methods for evaluation. She conducted in-depth research in many areas including evaluation theory and practice and its relationship to public policy. To this day she would say she was most proud of the work that defeated chemical warfare in the US. She received many awards for her work including the Comptroller General’s Award in 1991 for innovative approaches to evaluating government policies and the American Eagle Award from President George H.W. Bush. She loved evaluation fiercely and continued to work in the field well into her 90s. She published a consultation piece on global warming three months prior to her death.
Eleanor spent her entire life a devoted wife to Oscar Chelimsky and loving mother to Catherine Fallick (Bruce) and Thomas Chelimsky (Gisela). She is survived by her son and daughter as well as her five grandchildren, Miriam Chelimsky (Richard), Hannah Chelimsky (Matthew), Jeremy “Ozzie” Aery Fallick (Emily), Emily Fallick, and Charlotte Fallick. She instilled a love for literature, poetry, art, history, and classic movies in her grandkids, always ensuring they knew they were empowered to achieve what they set their minds on.
In lieu of flowers, the Chelimsky family asks that donations be made to the American Evaluation Association, an organization dear to Eleanor’s heart. Donations will support an initiative to honor the legacy of Eleanor Chelimsky and her contributions to the field of evaluation.
Donations can be made here.
By Katie Howell, consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force
In late March 2022, the Biden Administration published the FY 2023 President’s Budget Request. Overall, the budget suggests the Administration’s commitment to the use of evidence and evaluation to address the Administration’s priorities, which include addressing climate change, advancing equity, and improving on the mission and service delivery by government.
The President’s Budget Request describes achieving an evidence-based government as a “mission-critical function” that demands a “whole-of-government approach.” To do so, the budget revives the Analytical Perspectives chapter on evidence, includes agency set-asides for evaluation, and outlines new initiatives agencies plan to undertake in FY 2023.
Throughout the budget, there are explicit calls for evaluation capacity-building activities. In Building and Using Evidence to Improve Government Effectiveness, the Administration makes a specific call that agencies must consider how evaluation activities intersect with the commitment to advance equity––“[i]ntegrating an explicit commitment to equity in Evaluation Policies provides another channel for institutionalizing this principle in an agency’s culture of evidence.”
Investment for implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act), including funds to support evaluation offices and cross-agency program evaluation, is highlighted in the budget documents, including at the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor. There is also increased funding directed toward longstanding evaluation offices, including the Department of Education’s Institution of Education Sciences, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and of the Office Planning, Research, and Evaluation within the Administration for Children and Families at HHS.
Further, some agencies received stronger evaluation set-asides, authority where a share of total spending is allocated for evaluation activities. These evaluation set-asides received an increase in funding at the Department of Labor and the Department of Justice which plan to use up to 0.75% and 2.5%, respectively, for evaluation activities. The budget request also includes authority for the Department of Education to reserve 0.5% of funding for evaluation of Higher Education Act programs.
The Administration’s recent attention to federal evaluation extends beyond the budget request. Coinciding with the release of the budget, federal agencies published their agency-wide Learning Agendas, Annual Evaluation Plans and Evidence Capacity Assessments––required under Title I of the Evidence Act. Additionally, the White House announced its Year of Evidence for Action initiative aiming to improve the use of evidence in federal decision-making, including through supporting program evaluation. The Administration's focus on the importance of evaluation is encouraging for the evaluation community.
Hello AEA Members!
It’s hard to believe that AEA is moving into its 2nd quarter of 2022. Here is a brief update of Board activities for the 1st quarter.
It is to be emphasized that the AEA Board fully recognizes that all AEA members, who together populate 60 TIGs, 34 Local Affiliates and come from over 60 countries, give breath and vitality to AEA. Via several platforms, you have provided valuable insights regarding cross disciplinary needs and challenges and have addressed social justice issues with thoughtful consideration and understanding, all of which guides development of professional skills, knowledge, and the ethical practice of evaluation.
Kicking off 2022, Veronica Olazabal, AEA’s President, organized a collaborative effort in developing AEA’s Board agenda for 2022. Agenda setting was built around key areas, e.g., allotting more time to learn about AEA programs and services; distributing board responsibility to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion; providing more time to reflect and deliberate on major AEA member concerns and issues; and structuring the Board’s work around fiduciary responsibility, membership engagement, effective governance, operations, emerging trends, and team building.
Board in-person engagement for the year was set at three in-person two-day meetings: first was the January 22 in DC (hybrid, already held); second will be an in-person meeting scheduled for May in DC; and third will be a November meeting held during the AEA conference in New Orleans. In addition, three virtual two-hour meetings were scheduled: March (already held), July and September. A synopsis of January and March Board meeting activities, i.e., discussions and deliberations, are given below.
January 22nd Hybrid Board Meeting
President-Elect Corrie Whitmore, University of Alaska Anchorage, Members-at-Large Tom Archibald, Virginia Tech, Mònica Ruiz-Casares, McGill University & Sherpa University Institute, and Katherine Tibbetts, Lili’uokalani Trust, Hawaii were welcomed as AEA’s newly elected Board members. They had attended training sessions on policy governance and were well prepared to actively engage in and contribute to Board work.
March 17th Virtual Meeting – Board Activities
AEA Topical Interest Groups are the heart and soul of AEA with each TIG defined around a special topic or interest and creates a forum whereby the knowledge, experience, and skills of each member can become a resource that the entire community can leverage. Joining a TIG is an exclusive benefit to AEA membership and is your ticket to a community of experts who share similar backgrounds and work settings.
AEA will be phasing out TIG member communications via email by end of 2022 and transitioning fully to TIG communications shared via AEA Connect, AEA’s community platform that allows you to easily connect with your fellow TIG members. Start using the TIG online community to stay connected to other TIG members and access TIG exclusive information.
To manage your forum email preferences and frequency login here, navigate to your profile (top right corner of the screen), and manage your community notifications under ‘My Account’.
Not a member of a TIG? Simply log in and join the TIGs that best suit your interests.
Join AEA Connect Now
Registration is open for the 2022 Summer Evaluation Institute, taking place June 6–8 in Atlanta. We’re so excited to see you in-person!
Designed with detailed classroom learning in mind, the Summer Evaluation Institute allows you to take a deep dive into workshop topics. In addition, this event creates opportunities to network with fellow evaluators and speakers.
Visit the AEA website to view all available workshops. Workshops fill up quickly, so we recommend you register early to secure your spot. Register before May 5 to save $45.
EvalTalk is AEA’s member exclusive online community. Sign up for EvalTalk today to start using this free member resource.
Start a Conversation
Members of AEA receive both hardcopy and electronic subscriptions to AEA’s two journals, The American Journal of Evaluation (AJE) and New Directions for Evaluation (NDE). Members also receive electronic access to both current and published content from Evaluation Review and Evaluation and the Health Professions. Plus, AEA365 offers a daily blog full of relevant tips and topics.
Learn more about other AEA member benefits.
AEA members receive discounts from certain publishers. Use the special discount codes below during your next purchase:
New to evaluation or need a refresher? Take part in Introduction to Evaluation 101! This self-paced introductory course is for newcomers in the field of evaluations and for experienced professionals who want to brush up on the key components of evaluation.
Sign up for upcoming eStudies sessions! Spots are limited, so register now for one of the following spots:
What's new this month in the AEA Online Career Center? The following positions have been added recently:
Explore the Online Career Center
AEA would like to recognize and thank some of its most longstanding members. Click here to view individuals who are celebrating 5+, 10+, 20+, and 30+ years with the association this month!
AEA would like to welcome those who have recently joined the association. Click here to view a list of AEA's newest members.