Wednesday, January 26, 2022
I am thrilled to serve as our association’s 36th President and humbled to follow in the steps of an amazing cadre of evaluation leaders, particularly as your first woman of color in this role!
Recognizing that members are at the heart of our association, we must begin this year with appreciating the service of our outgoing Board members Lisa Aponte-Soto, Hanife Cakici, Wanda Casillas and Tessie Catsambas. Thank you for volunteering your time to govern AEA during such turbulent times! We are all better off because of your service.
Following in past-President Tom Grayson’s footsteps, and with AEA Executive Director, Anisha Lewis, at the helm of AEA, my goals this year are centered on three main areas:
This stated, I am excited, and want to get you excited, about this year’s conference theme (re) Shaping Evaluation Together. For this conference, we seek to create a space to explore three contemporary shifts that are disrupting evaluation and are poised to influence evaluation theory and practice.
These three areas are often approached and addressed with siloed thinking, limiting the opportunity to identify comprehensive, holistic and systematic solutions. Evaluation 2022 invites you to move beyond these barriers and to reimagine a new future together. As you begin to design your conference proposal sessions, we invite you to consider the following questions:
You will see these themes throughout the year whether through AEA365, Town Halls or special webinars to create a drum beat to Evaluation 2022. For more detail on the theme, please see here or reach out with any thoughts, comments or feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here’s to a fantastic 2022!
Truth and transformation. Honesty and help. Dedication and diversity. These are a few words that come to mind as I think about how AEA’s values align with my own values. They help to guide and impact my work. Of course, I would add empowering as you might have already guessed. Many of these words are aspirational and inspirational. They help us visualize what is possible and what we should strive for in our lives. In reality, we only approximate these ideas at best, but that should not discourage us or divert us from striving for these lofty ideals. I submit a brief glimpse into the early years of empowerment evaluation’s development to demonstrate how AEA’s values (with some soul searching, missteps and detours) ultimately triumph, compelling us to “walk our talk”.
AEA Values: How Tolerant is the Establishment of Dissent
Where else but in this extended family can you expect both an attack and an embrace in the same breath? AEA is a place where we can be vulnerable, open ourselves up for critique and learn from the experience. I introduced empowerment evaluation in my presidential address to AEA (with the help of Albert Einstein as some of you may recall). It was met with excitement, applause, hope, distain and fear. It made many of us have to rethink what evaluation was and what it meant to be an evaluator. Basically, it put AEA to the test. Were we giving evaluation away or building evaluation capacity to help people conduct their own evaluations? What was our role? Were we the external expert or coach and critical friend? As Wild wrote when empowerment evaluation was first introduced, “This is a significant addition to the library of evaluation, and the writers should be congratulated for bringing together such a solid collection. Fetterman et al. have nailed their theses to the door of the cathedral. Now the question is, how tolerant is the establishment of dissent?”
AEA: Taking a Stand Against Ad Hominem Remarks
Some of the arguments in the journal, in response to our “declaration”, were quite pointed and personal. One of the editors, Blaine Worthen, took a stand against ad hominem remarks. Holding the high ground was and continues to be an important AEA standard, recently applied to moderating EVALTALK. The more common critiques were sincere and designed to understand, seeking greater clarity.
AEA: Critical Dialogue for Us to Grow, Evolve and Transform
The classic debates Abraham Wandersman and I had with Michael Scriven and Michael Patton, to mention only a few, exemplify this honest and simultaneously critical dialogue required for us to grow, evolve and transform. Our recent (pre-COVID) standing room only “21st birthday party” panel at AEA represented the culmination of decades of dialogue. The evaluation family celebration included Stewart Donaldson. He commented that empowerment evaluation was: “An approach that has literally altered the landscape of evaluation”. Michael Patton explained how it was “exemplary is its openness to dialogue, reflective practice and process use”. Michael Scriven stated, “There is much to admire about empowerment evaluation.” Their earlier critiques (often razor sharp) helped us enhance our conceptual clarity and methodological specificity. As Edmund Burke said, “He or she that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”
AEA: Empowerment Evaluation Institutionalized
Today, five books later, empowerment evaluation is practiced in over 17 countries, ranging from the elimination of tuberculosis in India initiatives to tobacco prevention in communities of color in the United States. We are currently using it with Feeding America to enhance food security. It has been used at Google and Hewlett-Packard, as well as Native American reservations and townships in South Africa. It is institutionalized within AEA. Liliana Rodríguez-Campos and I co-chair the Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment Evaluation TIG. It is a part of the intellectual landscape in evaluation, because AEA was able to rise to the occasion and (with some detours, bumps and bruises) apply core values to our efforts to improve the human condition.
Thank you for taking the time to vote for your incoming 2022-2024 AEA Board leadership. The race was close and we're certain the choice between all of the talented candidates was not an easy decision to make. It is with great pleasure that we share with you the outcome of the 2021 election for the American Evaluation Association Board of Directors.
Corrie Whitmore, University of Alaska Anchorage
Thomas Archibald, Virginia Tech
AEA Board Member-at-Large
Mónica Ruiz-Casares, McGill University & Institut Universitaire SHERPA
Katherine Tibbetts, Liliʻuokalani Trust
The election was open from November 15 through December 8 and received 1001 votes (18.9% response rate). For comparison, recent historical voting rates are noted below.
504 Corrie Whitmore
454 Kathryn A. Sielbeck-Mathes
640 Mónica Ruiz-Casares Yebenes
595 Tom Archibald
509 Katherine Tibbetts
421 Lori Wingate
323 Susan Wolfe
277 Mansoor Kazi
Recent Historical Voting Percentages:
2020 - 21.9% of eligible members; 1253 votes cast
2019 - 16% of eligible members; 1076 votes cast
2018 - 15% of eligible members, 1073 votes cast
2017 - 14.1% of eligible members, 1048 votes cast
2016 - 15.2% of eligible members, 1131 votes cast
2015 - 18.9% of eligible members, 1327 votes cast
2014 - 16.4% of eligible members, 1173 votes cast
Congratulations to our newest AEA Board Directors and thank you to those who took the time to vote!
As a member of AEA, your year-round support is invaluable to our association. We strive to bring you the education, networking, and community benefits that help you grow your career and strengthen your evaluation practice.
To ensure that we can continue to provide value to our members and bring resources to the evaluation community, AEA membership dues are increasing on March 1, 2022 across all professional membership types by $50 and all student membership types by $15. For example, the regular standard membership cost will increase by $50 USD, from $134 to $184. Student standard membership will increase by $15 USD, from $69 to $84.
We understand that increasing the cost of fees is never ideal. However, this is an important step in ensuring financial stability for the association long-term. This increase is a necessary measure in order to maintain the same standard of excellence we strive for as an association.
For more context regarding AEA's financial standing, we encourage you to view this recording of our October Town Hall discussing the fiscal health of the association.
Before our dues increase, you can renew your membership at our current member prices before March 1. In addition, use the code Members22 to save 20% on your AEA membership. AEA members can renew their membership at any point throughout the year, so this deal can be applied to all members. View details of this promotion below, and contact email@example.com with any questions.
Please also be sure to update your AEA profile with your most up-to-date information. This ensures that our records are accurate so that we may best continue delivering your membership benefits. You can update your profile at eval.org under ‘My Account.’
Please visit the AEA Website for FAQs providing additional details on the membership promotion.
In December 2021, the Data Foundation and the American Evaluation Association published the results of a new survey of federal evaluation officials. The survey assesses the evaluation capacity of federal agencies implementing the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act).
The report highlights early successes and challenges facing agencies as well as provides recommendations to bolster federal evaluation efforts to support evidence-informed policymaking. The survey revealed six key findings:
The survey suggests that while evaluation officials have seen improvement in evaluation efforts, targeted investment and capacity growth are crucial for a sustainable evaluation function going forward. The report also identifies eight opportunities to improve agencies’ capacity to fully implement the evaluation components of the Evidence Act:
As the Evidence Act approaches its three-year anniversary, the survey shows increased momentum behind federal engagement of evaluation practices and optimism among the evaluation community. The early successes present opportunities for addressing the barriers to evaluation identified in the survey. Agency leaders, policymakers, and the evaluation community must lend their support, encouragement, and enthusiasm to ensure evaluation continues to be expected and engrained throughout the federal government.
Join us virtually on February 15th from 12-1pm EST, as we support the celebration of the launch of the regional EvalYouth North America Chapter! Register now.
The event will include speeches from long-time supporters of young and emerging evaluators (YEEs) in the region and VOPE (Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation) representatives. The EvalYouth North America team will introduce the chapter and release an interactive map of evaluation services in North America.
It is envisioned the chapter would carry forward global initiatives like EvalYouth and Eval4Action here in North America, along with other functions in supporting and connecting interest groups across national VOPEs and practitioners not yet tuned in to those efforts. With that in mind, the chapter's first contribution to the field is an interactive map of professional development services in the region to serve as a compass for Young, Emerging Evaluators (YEE’s), including AEA, its affiliates, and relevant TIGs. The team will present this map during this event.
This chapter was formed to bridge efforts of young and emerging evaluators including youth in evaluation practice in North America, and has received overwhelming support for this initiative in the Eval4Action North America Consultation.
AEA congratulates longtime member, Dr. David Fetterman, who was recently selected as the Top Anthropologist of the Decade and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from IAOTP. The prestigious award was announced on the Reuters building in Times Square with his family present. It was followed by a formal black-tie award ceremony in the Plaza in New York City. Awardees are selected based on their standing in their respective fields and their contribution beyond their specific discipline with a focus on social justice.
Dr. Fetterman is a past-president of the AEA, current co-chair of the Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation TIG (with Liliana Rodriguez-Campos). He is the recipient of both the Lazarsfeld Award for Outstanding Contributions to Evaluation Theory and the Myrdal Award for Cumulative Contributions to Evaluation Practice. He also received AEA's Evaluation Advocacy and Use Award. In addition, Fetterman received the American Educational Research Association Research on Evaluation Distinguished Scholar Award and the Mensa Award for Research Excellence. He has 25 years of experience at Stanford University in the School of Education, School of Medicine, and administration.
Dr. Fetterman is the founder of empowerment evaluation, which is a self-help and stakeholder involvement evaluation approach that has been used in over 16 countries. He is currently serving as a facilitator and critical friend to help eliminate tuberculosis in India (USAID funded) and increase food security throughout the United States (Feeding America). The approach has been used in a wide variety of settings ranging from Google to townships in South Africa. He is the author/editor of 17 books in the field of evaluation and ethnography including: Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation: Stakeholder Involvement Approaches (with Liliana Rodriguez-Campos, Ann Zukoski, and contributors), Empowerment Evaluation: Knowledge and Tools for Self-assessment, Evaluation Capacity Building and Accountability (with Shakeh Kaftarian and Abraham Wandersman), and Ethnography: Step by Step.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Fetterman on this honor.
Donating to the Giving Campaign can help up-and-coming evaluators reach new heights.
With a new year comes the opportunity to re-invigorate your dedication to your goals, including personal and professional development. We encourage you to help others, including AEA students, reach their own professional goals by donating to the AEA Giving Campaign.
The AEA Giving Campaign supports our most needed programs that advance underrepresented evaluators and emerging evaluators within our community. You can donate to specific programs, including the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program, Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship and the International Travel Awards and Student Awards; or to a general donation pool.
Your donations can make a difference for present and future evaluators.
Make a donation today.
EvalTalk has returned! We invite all AEA members to subscribe to the online, members-only discussion forum. EvalTalk offers a space for connection, idea-sharing, and discussion on the AEA website. To join the community, log into your AEA account and visit this page. We look forward to new discussions with our community, to be moderated by Dr. Vidhya Shanker.
Members are currently discussing:
Join the conversation.
After a two-year hiatus in the wake of COVID-19, AEA is looking forward to once again hosting an intimate in-person learning event, happening June 6–8, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. We are now accepting workshop proposal submissions through Thursday, February 17.
Your AEA membership includes participation in AEA’s 60+ Topical Interest Groups (TIGs). Each TIG offers a professional community of colleagues who share similar interests and professional focus. If you don’t currently belong to a TIG, we encourage you to explore our full list of groups to find the TIG that best aligns with your interest. Members can join as many TIGs as desired, but AEA recommends joining five or less to ensure valued participation with each group. Click here for the AEA TIG Listing. You can join a TIG by updating your AEA membership profile.
Learn more about other AEA member benefits.
Guilford Press is happy to offer AEA members a 25% discount off the list price of all Guilford titles—plus free shipping (U.S. & Canada) to enhance their work, teaching, training, and research.
To see new and recent books, visit your special page at: www.guilford.com/aea and use the code: ZFAEA
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off of select Oxford University Press social work and research method titles when they order through the website www.oup.com/academic using the discount code AEA20.
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off Routledge when they order through the website using the discount code AEA20. Of particular interest to AEA members may be the books in the Comparative Policy Evaluation series (Ray C. Rist, Ed.), most recent title: Changing Bureaucracies: Adapting to Uncertainty, and How Evaluation Can Help – Burt Perrin and Tony Tyrrell Eds.).
Kick off the new year by signing up for sessions in our Digital Knowledge Hub! Explore the upcoming sessions below. 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:
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.