Wednesday, April 4, 2018
From Anisha Lewis, AEA Executive Director
“Nothing great in this world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
— George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
I am truly honored to serve as the next Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. I come to you with an educational background in Organizational Development, and over 20 years of association management leadership experience, most recently as the Executive Director of The Association of Black Psychologists (where many of the members belong to AEA).
My work is driven by passion, which fuels me to go the extra mile to do “whatever needs to be done,” no matter how great or small the task. Although I am not an evaluator, I understand and appreciate the importance of evaluation in our society, and the crucial role it plays on social impact and improving the effectiveness of policies, health care, education, non-profit organizations, human services and other industries.
As the new Executive Director, I stand on the shoulders of giants and salute the excellent leadership of AEA’s former Executive Director, Denise Roosendaal, and the outstanding AEA staff who continue to make significant contributions to the organization’s structures, programs and activities.
As the baton of operational leadership is passed, I assure you that the transition will be smooth. My immediate focus is immersing myself in AEA’s culture and core values, followed by narrow-focused priorities that will support the strategic plan, the ends statements and engagement opportunities for AEA’s diverse membership.
These priorities include, but are not limited to:
I love the passion that drives AEA members who work tirelessly to advocate for a voice to ensure that evaluation is at the foundation of our society’s decision making processes. The dedication of AEA’s members to advance the practice of evaluation is at the core of the organization’s success, and I eagerly anticipate working with the leadership, Topical Interest Groups (TIGs), Working Groups, Local Affiliate Collaborative groups (LACs), members, staff and other groups to support the important role of evaluation in this world with the same level of enthusiasm.
I am excited to work with you and look forward to seeing you in Cleveland at Evaluation 2018 this fall!
Name: Lisa Aponte-Soto
Affiliation: University of Illinois at Chicago, Office of Community Based Practice
Degrees: PhD in community health sciences, MHA in health policy and administration, BS in biology and psychology, and BA in Spanish language, literature, and translation
Years in the Evaluation Field: 9 years
Joined AEA: 2009
I first joined AEA when I became an intern of the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program in 2009. Although I had previously conducted summative program evaluation, I had no formal evaluation training. Participating in the GEDI program allowed me to acquire theoretical, technical, and applied evaluation skills with a culturally responsive lens. Since completing my internship, I continue to be engaged in AEA for: 1) networking, 2) accountability, 3) ongoing skill development and 4) advancing best practices.
First, AEA membership provides me access to an invaluable network of colleagues and scholars that challenge me and nurture my professional development. Being part of AEA keeps me accountable to the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of evaluation, through the use of the AEA Guiding Principles, as well as the Statement of Cultural Competence. It also allows me to learn from evaluation experts and colleagues about new approaches, tools, trends and practices in the field. Finally, I value the opportunity to contribute to the field by working with the AEA community to advance evaluation knowledge and thought leadership.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” As a service-oriented leader and evaluator, I consider myself an advocate and liaison to the communities I serve. Thus, one of the most meaningful evaluations I have been a part of was when I served as a volunteer to evaluate a health education program for a diverse community. The program was offered by a free community health clinic that was sustained by volunteered staff. This was an enriching and positive learning experience as I was able to apply collaborative evaluation approaches and adapt culturally and linguistically appropriate instruments to ensure that the voices of the participants were included across the evaluation process. It served as a good model for conducting culturally responsive evaluation.
AEA is a nurturing community of learning. I encourage anyone new to the field to get involved. AEA offers various opportunities for service. Volunteerism opens many doors and helps build your network.
Gain additional evaluation skills by take advantage of the resources offered by AEA through the conference programming, as well as the pre- and post-conference workshops. AEA’s Tip-a-Day blog, AEA365, AEA Coffee Breaks, eStudy Courses and journal also offer useful tips to keep you current on the latest trends in the field.
Build your network by joining a Topical Interest Group (TIG); attending the annual conference, Evaluation 2018, Speaking Truth to Power; or volunteering in other AEA service opportunities.
Be inclusive in your practice of evaluation and think about whose voices need to be represented.
Finally, as you advance in your career, remember to give back and mentor other emerging evaluators.
From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters
The American Evaluation Association (AEA) welcomes applications for its Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program that provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year. The GEDI program works to engage and support students from groups traditionally under-represented in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to:
Interns may come from a variety of disciplines, including public health, education, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, social work, and the natural sciences. Their commonality is a strong background in research skills, an interest in extending their capacities to the field of evaluation, and a commitment to thinking deeply about culturally responsive evaluation practice.
Have additional questions about being a GEDI intern? Join GEDI Program Directors Dr. Rodney Hopson and Dr. Brandi Gilbert as they discuss the GEDI program experience from the scholar perspective and answer your questions. This is an excellent opportunity to get an inside perspective on what it is like to be a scholar and the program’s expectations. Register below:
Register here | Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 3:00 PM ET
Before applying for this program, please review the eligibility requirements and expectations:
The Internship: Building on the training content described below, the interns work the equivalent of approximately two days per week at an internship site near their home institutions from approximately Sept. 1 to July 1. The interns may work on a single evaluation project or multiple projects at the site, but all internship work is focused on building skills and confidence in real-world evaluation practices. Interns receive a stipend of $10,000 in recognition of their internship work based on completion of the internship and satisfactory finalization of program requirements, including any deliverables due to the host agency, progress reports, and reflections on the internship experience.
Training and Networking Components: It is assumed that students come to the program with basic qualitative and quantitative research skills. The GEDI Program then works to extend those skills to evaluation through multiple activities:
Student Benefits: Interns receive support from advisors and mentors, quality training focused on evaluation, real-world work experience, registration waivers and guidance at two professional evaluation conferences, and multiple opportunities for professional networking. In recognition of the time involved in the program (approximately two days per week), each intern also receives a stipend and is reimbursed for major travel expenses related to the program (airfare and shared hotel specifically), but is responsible for travel incidentals (to and from home/airport, to/from hotels, meals not taken together, etc.).
Eligibility: We seek students who are not already enrolled in an evaluation program/specialization or pursuing an evaluation degree who:
Criteria for Selection: The interns will be selected based on their completed applications, materials provided, and subsequent finalist interviews focusing on:
To apply: Download the GEDI Application and return all requested materials via email as described on that document on or before Thursday, May 24, 2018. Please note that it may take a few weeks to compile the requested information and thus we recommend that you begin as soon as possible before the deadline.
From Nick Hart, Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) Chair
AEA’s Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) has been closely monitoring key pieces of federal legislation with implications on evaluation practice. Several major policy reforms encouraging evaluation practices in federal government programs have been enacted into law in 2018, and more changes may be likely in the near future.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, referred to in Washington, D.C., as the 2018 budget deal, included four key evaluation policies that relate to specific programs and activities in the federal government.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which became law on February 9, 2018, provides funding for government through March 23, 2018, and also includes several provisions that encourage evaluation in targeted policy areas:
These major changes to law that affect federal evaluation policy have already been enacted, and will alter the government’s efforts to both support the generation of evaluation and the eventual use by intended audiences. The EPTF will continue to monitor and provide assistance for efforts to implement these provisions in coming months and years.
From AEA Headquarters
The EPTF has selected the following members to fill three open seats on the task force:
AEA has been soliciting self-nominations for the three open seats on the EPTF since December 2017. The solicitation was included in the December 2017 and January 2018 newsletters and the published deadline was February 5, 2018. AEA received 21 nominations.
Per the procedures document for the appointment process, the names were reviewed by the Denise Roosendaal, Executive Director at the time of review, and Nick Hart, chair of the EPTF, as well as President Leslie Goodyear. The selection was based on the following criteria with special emphasis on numbers five and six:
We appreciate the time and willingness to serve from those AEA members who applied.
The 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.
Join President Leslie Goodyear, Past President Kathy Newcomer and AEA Member Melvin Hall to discuss the Race & Class Dialogues project outcomes and future steps. Register here.
Join AEA President Leslie Goodyear and Board member Tessie Catsambas as they discuss the AEA Ends Goals statement and highlight the work the Board is currently performing on Policy Governance (PG). Register here.
AEA President Leslie Goodyear will be joined by AEA Member Beverly Parsons to discuss the AEA Guiding Principles. Register here.
AEA is committed to enriching the professional development of future generations of evaluators. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in evaluation might desire greater knowledge about the profession and to connect with the larger evaluation community as a whole. This can be achieved through professional resources and development offerings, networking and access to a community of respected evaluators. In order to provide these tools and professional resources, AEA has spearheaded a Student and University Outreach Program as a key Professional Development initiative. This program allows students and professors interested in evaluation to hone in their evaluation practices and methods together in the classroom.
The AEA encourages university faculty members, administrators, or AEA members to become AEA University Coordinators. University Coordinators receive complimentary membership for one year if they recruit and maintain 10 students interested in evaluation to join AEA. This way, Coordinators can enrich their own professional development while bolstering that of future evaluators.
More specifically, some of the benefits University Coordinators receive with membership are:
In exchange for these benefits, the University Coordinator must agree to the following:
Ultimately, students benefit from the University Outreach Program with opportunities to learn about the evaluation profession, networking and access to a community of respected evaluators. Through Student Membership, students receive:
The Student and University Outreach Program is a vehicle to further enhance a university’s leadership role for professionalism in evaluation. To become a University Coordinator, please contact Zachary Grays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.367.1166.
On Friday, May 1, 2018, the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and AEA will host the Performance Improvement Officer/Chief Financial Officer Summit (PIO/CFO Summit) in Washington, D.C. Join us for an insightful dialogue on the emerging policies that impact and call for greater collaboration between the federal financial management community, evaluators, and the broader evidence community. This educational event is free for individuals who work for government. Private-sector participation is available via sponsorship.
More information and registration details can be found here. You can also contact organizer Susan Fritzlen at SFritzlen@agacgfm.org.
From Cindy Clapp-Wincek, Shawna Hoffman and Veronica Olazabal
During the week of March 19, roughly 200 evaluators, tech providers, data scientists, and development practitioners from around the world convened in the UK for MERLTech London to explore the intersection of these fields. Since 2014, MERLTech has grown into a global community that meets annually in London, Washington, D.C. and, this year for the first time, Johannesburg, to discuss and share cutting-edge practices.
Over two days, participants explored the application of new tech tools such as big data, artificial intelligence, biometrics, and satellite imaging to support monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of programs, projects and policies. The potential of these tools to enable, for example, remote monitoring of crop yields, tracking of migration patterns, and the collection of large amounts of data from rural and remote areas has generated great excitement. To follow the active conversation around technology and its applications to M&E of international development, please visit merltech.org.
The deadline to submit applications for AEA’s International Travel Awards was March 19th. This year, we received over 70 applications from evaluators, students and academics living and working all across the globe. The winners of the awards will be announced in the coming months. Stay tuned!
From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator
In February’s article, I shared results from a Potent Presentations Survey called “You, the Presenter: What Would Help You Up Your Game?” I shared who respondents were, what types of presentations they most often give, and the types of presentations they anticipate giving in the future.
This month, I’ll share what respondents identified as priority areas for improving their presentation practice. The survey included three questions designed to elicit this.
Audience engagement came out soundly on top for first priority, followed by Design, Messaging, and Delivery. Messaging inched out as the top second priority area, followed by Audience Engagement, Design and Delivery.
The open-ended question allowed respondents to describe their needs in their own words, offering insight into the specific aspects of these areas – Audience Engagement, Messaging, Design and Delivery – that they would like to improve.
For Audience Engagement, respondents described these needs:
For Messaging, they described these needs:
Stay tuned! In future articles you’ll learn what respondents had to say about Design and Delivery, what formats they prefer for learning about presentations, and who their favorite presenters are.
p2i Needs Your Help!
Please contact me at email@example.com and let’s talk! I’m happy to help, offer guidance, or collaborate on any of these.
AEA will offer several Coffee Break sessions and eStudy courses in April and May. More information is shared below. For registration and further details, visit the Coffee Break page or eStudy page.
Applying Complexity to Make Practical Decisions About Evaluation: A Three-session Series
Thursday, April 12, 19, and 26 | 2:00 PM - 2:20 PM EDT
Presented by Jonathan A. Morell, PhD, this three-part coffee break series will show evaluators how to draw on complexity to make practical decisions about doing evaluation. The key is to shift attention from “complex systems” to particular themes and behaviors of complex systems. “Systems” is too ambiguous to guide operational decisions about program theory, data collection, data interpretation, or stakeholder engagement. Specific complex behaviors can provide insight about those decisions. Each presentation will discuss one specific complex behavior that could be useful to evaluators, and each session will stand on its own. The collective impact will familiarize evaluators with the field of complexity, and instill a sense that the field of complexity can make a contribution to evaluation practice.
Join Jennifer Catrambone, Director of Quality Improvement & Evaluation, RMR CORE Center, for a two-part session "Non-Parametric Statistics: What to Do When Your Data Breaks the Rules," taking place on Tuesday, April 10 and Thursday, April 12. This eStudy will provide a brief overview of parametric statistics in order to contrast them with non-parametric statistics. Data situations requiring non-parametric statistics will be reviewed and appropriate techniques will be demonstrated using screenshots of SPSS analysis software. The instructor will demonstrate how to run the non-parametric statistics in SPSS.
In May, join Kylie Hutchinson, Principal, Community Solutions Planning & Evaluation, for "The Seven Habits of Highly Utilized Evaluations." In this interactive webinar, participants will examine known barriers to the utilization of results, as well as concrete ideas on how to facilitate greater utilization. Participants will leave with practical techniques and tips for engaging stakeholders, writing better recommendations, reporting more effectively, and developing action plans. The course takes place in two sessions, on Tuesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 17.