Tuesday, July 31, 2018
AEA has been busy this summer! Whether hosting a successful Summer Institute, celebrating another amazing group of GEDI fellows, voting for leadership and the Guiding Principles, finalizing the conference program and opening registration, discussing hot issues on EvalTalk, or hosting and attending Town Hall Forums, the AEA team, leaders and members are engaged and active.
Before I say anything else: Did you vote? Don’t forget that the ballot for AEA president and board candidates, as well as the vote on the updated Guiding Principles, is open until Aug. 6. Look through your email for a message from firstname.lastname@example.org – it has the link to your ballot. Don’t forget and don’t put it off – do it now!
Did you know the Evaluation 2018 conference program is live and online and registration is open? Check it out here for an amazing array of sessions, workshops, posters, networking opportunities and more. Thanks to all who submitted session and workshop proposals, reviewed session proposals, led the review process (that’s you, TIGs and the PD working group!) and brought your skills and talents to the development of what will be a great conference program.
I’m really excited about the Evaluation 2018 Plenary Sessions, which will highlight important issues, leverage creative formats, bring new voices to the fore and challenge us to think about our role as evaluators in “speaking truth to power.”
In addition, thanks to the Program Committee and its work in reviewing submissions from the TIGs. We also have a great lineup of Presidential Strand Sessions, which will be live-streamed as part of the Virtual Conference available online.
And, as always, we have a strand of sessions focused on the initiatives of AEA (found in the AEA Sponsored Sessions Track). These include:
Between now and the conference, we’ll have monthly Town Hall Forums to share what’s going on in AEA and we’ll announce the results of the elections and the vote on the Guiding Principles. As always, share your ideas and insights through the AEA Ideas and Issues portal, tell us how you’d like to be involved by filling out your volunteer profile online, and feel free to send an email to me or to staff about what’s on your evaluation mind.
Enjoy the rest of summer!
The Face of AEA spotlights our members and their backstories - what got them involved in the profession, what drives them and what are some of the most memorable lessons they've learned along the way. This month, we hear from Kylie Hutchinson. Know someone who should be featured? Email the AEA editor, Kristin Fields, at email@example.com.
Affiliation: Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation
Degree: BSc in Health Sciences
Years in the Evaluation Field: 30
Joined AEA: 2004
When I first joined AEA, it was primarily to go to the conference and get some relevant training. I was too shy to network so it was all about professional development. As years have gone by, I have made some excellent friendships through AEA. Nowadays, my primary reason for attending the annual conference is to hang out with my eval peeps and make new ones. And I don’t find networking quite as daunting as I used to; I’ve never met an evaluator I didn’t like or didn’t learn something new from.
This question makes me laugh. The evaluations I most remember are those where I totally messed up. Some of these happened years ago, and one was just last week. Although painful at the time, the learning from these failures has been some of my best professional development ever.
Volunteer with your local chapter to get to know the evaluators in your area plus get known yourself. Many evaluation careers have launched via partnering on a team of more experienced evaluators.
Get that AEA conference feeling everyday via the #eval and #evaluation communities on Twitter. Even if you think you have nothing to tweet, get an account and lurk. Your tribe is waiting for you!
Traditional expectations for a one-size-fits-all final evaluation report are changing. Formats that would have once been considered as unconventional are now becoming standard as evaluators everywhere challenge the status quo of the lengthy final report. Don’t get left behind.
Evaluation has expanded to possibly one of the most diverse professions ever. An evaluator’s toolbox can be filled with everything from knowing R for statistics and facilitation/consensus-building, to graphic design and systems thinking. Remember you don’t have to be perfect at everything; get help or subcontract when necessary.
From Cindy Clapp-Wincek and Shawna Hoffman
Within the international evaluation community, a powerful movement is underway – one seeking to elevate the substantial but often underutilized knowledge, theories and capacities of the Global South. South 2 South Evaluation (S2SE) is an initiative of five regional evaluation associations from Africa, South Asia, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America, working to address the power asymmetries in evaluation in the Global South.
S2SE partners have observed that the majority of development investments and the evaluations of those investments are rooted in the values, philosophies and biases of powerful institutions, primarily from the Global North. Decisions about what, how and for whom to evaluate are often made in Northern development institutions, whether donor governments, multilateral development banks, philanthropies or others. S2SE is working to draw attention to — and correct — this power imbalance. By shifting awareness and incentives for engaging southern evaluators in decision making, elevating the visibility and influence of Global South research and evidence, and creating the space for southern evaluators to tap into global conversations, S2SE aims to address and reverse global asymmetries in the evaluation ecosystem.
If you want to learn more about or support the important work of S2SE, visit www.afrea.org/s2se.
From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator
Happy Summer AEA members! Congratulations to those whose proposals were accepted for Evaluation 2018. Now it’s time to start thinking about how to rock your presentations.
The Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) is founded on three main elements: Message, Design, and Delivery. While these are distinct areas, each also has a degree of overlap with the other. Add in Audience Engagement, which could be thought of as a subset of Delivery that also overlaps with the others, and you have something like this model:
You can read and learn about each of the individual p2i elements on our website, and download free tools to support your work, but looking at a model like this inspires us to think more deeply about the interplay among elements and ask some interesting questions such as, “What happens at the intersections of these elements?”
As you prepare your presentation materials for Evaluation 2018 (or any other event), consider these questions:
The sweet spot* is where Message, Design, Delivery and Audience Engagement strategies are intentionally built into a presentation and work in concert to align with and support one another. Hitting the sweet spot should make for an effective, powerful, Potent Presentation!
What other questions might be inspired by focusing on the intersections among the p2i elements and how can thinking about the answers to them support your presentation work?
*The “sweet spot” is the thickest part of baseball bat, where the ball can be hit with the most force.
Have you successfully used p2i tools or p2i principles in your presentations?
Do you have “before” and “after” slide examples you would be willing to share?
Do you have ideas for, or are you interested in writing a blog article on Potent Presentations?
Do you have an interest in sharing your tips for Potent Presentations through a brief video or webinar?
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk! I’m happy to help, offer guidance, or collaborate on any of these.
From the AEA Board of Directors
The AEA Board of Directors would like the opportunity to engage more with AEA members and discuss a variety of strategic and visionary topics with the membership. The virtual Town Hall approach allows a regular opportunity to pose strategic questions and topics to the membership for input.
The Board will use the GoTo Meeting platform with a Q&A feature for receiving and addressing questions. President Leslie Goodyear will host 30-60 minute sessions. The following session topics and guest facilitators have been confirmed.
In this AEA Town Hall, join AEA President Leslie Goodyear and members of the Evaluation 2018 Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG), based in Cleveland, OH, to discuss the culture, sights and attractions in Cleveland, as well as what attendees can look forward to during this year's program. The discussion will be held on Friday, August 17, at 2 p.m. ET. Register here.
At its meeting in May, the AEA Board voted to approve the AEA Program Evaluator Competencies, a set of basic competencies developed by the Competencies Task Force over a three-year period (2015-2018). This session will describe the development process, present the competencies, and discuss potential next steps in AEA’s continuing professionalization. Register here.
From the AEA Education Team
Have you taken advantage of the AEA Digital Knowledge Hub? You can now access previously recorded educational content — as well as live eStudies — at your fingertips. It's never been easier to immerse yourself in peer-driven content and rich, in-depth presentations.
Check out these previously recorded eStudy courses:
Nonparametric Statistics: Learn how to run the non-parametric statistics in SPSS.
Developing Quality Survey Questions: Develop an understanding of the cognitive aspects of survey response and question design.
Save the date for these upcoming live eStudy courses:
Presented by Susan M. Wolfe, Community Consultant, Susan Wolfe and Associates; Ann Webb, President, Price Community Evaluation Solutions
Gain insight needed to effectively engage in community-based organizations, including government, education, health care, faith-based, and nonprofits.
eStudy 093: Introduction to Usability/UX Testing for Evaluators | September 18 and 20, 12-1:30 p.m. ET
Presented by Kay Corry Aubrey, Usabiility Consultant, Usability Resources Inc.
Gain an understanding of what usability testing is, when to use it, the language of usability/User Experience and techniques for blending it with other qualitative methods. Learn best practices for planning, moderating, analyzing and reporting on a usability study, as well.
Looking for a short break to boost your learning? Take advantage of the Coffee Break session AEA is offering in August. Details below, with more information and links to register available on the AEA Coffee Break page.
Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) Framework & A Nonprofit's Story | Tuesday, August 7, 2-2:20 p.m. ET
Presented by Beverly Peters
This coffee break will discuss how motivation and collaboration influence evaluation capacity building, as well as how nonprofit organization In4All (formerly BEC) increased their capacity to do program evaluation using this ECB framework.