Friday, March 25, 2022
“It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.” — Mary Oliver
Who’s excited for Spring?
I know I am, and not only for the longer daylight hours and the milder weather but also because it is that time of the year when we submit our AEA Conference Proposals! Did you miss the announcement? Fear not, you have until April 22 to submit a proposal.
Below are a few quick tips to consider as you start reaching out to your evaluator friends and colleagues to plan for Evaluation 2022 . Successful proposals usually:
I am also thrilled to be working closely with colleagues Ayesha Boyce, Tom Archibald, Shawna Hoffman and many others to plan the Presidential Strand activities. We have engaged a range of evaluators and are practicing a decentralized decision-making structure to deliver an inclusive and equitable Presidential Strand experience, leaning into our AEA values.
We are also very excited to be working with the Gulf Coast Evaluation Network, our New Orleans Local Affiliate, to plan for our first return to an in-person conference this year! The Local Affiliates are professional development groups dedicated to supporting evaluators in local communities. Learn more about them here.
Finally, while there are a number of announcements and resources in this month's newsletter, we should acknowledge that our evaluation colleagues and friends in the Ukraine Evaluation Association and Evaluation Russia are experiencing unprecedented disruption and violence. Please keep them in your thoughts over the next few weeks and months.
Laurie Jones Neighbors, Founder and Managing Consultant, Cities & People Advisors
Visitors to San Francisco are often perplexed by our rail transportation map, which gives the impression that our “system” is basically a half dozen heavy and light rail lines that run in parallel fashion along the same short route through downtown. Look at, say, Berlin’s subway map, with its 173 stations, and you’ve got a better sense of my route to a career as an evaluator.
A simple narrative of my career often comes off as disjointed. This is because I’m trying to squeeze the decisions I have made, the experiences I have learned from, and the values I have followed, into a pathway model that just doesn’t fit me. Nevertheless, here are the basics.
I was born in Texas to a home for unwed mothers in the mid-1960s. I was my mother’s middle child, and, while she chose to raise my older and younger brothers, the stigma associated with my presence was not something she could bear. I was adopted by a couple who could not have a second child for medical reasons. Once I was placed in her home, my adoptive mother had a difficult time attaching to me, and never quite did, but it would have been unthinkable for her to admit it soon enough to stop the adoption, and so when the year of fostering ended, she and my adoptive father made our relationship official. Like many people adopted in such circumstances (and like many people living in the margins generally), I instinctively knew that though the story I was living was a fictional one, I had no choice but to go along, and every time I tried to push back against the system (which I did with increasing frequency), the impact was strongly negative.
That’s a lot to share, I know. Especially for a professional column. But I don’t think it’s honest to tell you that I came to my relationship with the AEA principles purely from my experiences as a college instructor of composition and critical thinking; as someone with advanced degrees in Rhetoric and Sociology; or as someone who worked for a racial and economic justice nonprofit and then went back to teaching college, this time in public health; or even by all of the times I hired an evaluator, fired an evaluator or – increasingly – stepped in as the program or project evaluator.
Like the Berlin transit map, it’s complicated, but maybe not as complicated as it looks. I try to walk the talk of the AEA principles because they are, in fact, very much the same as the principles that I have developed over my lifetime – principles significantly shaped by a life lived mostly in the margin, with a narrative shaped by the forces of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism. Lucky for me, I came across a professional organization that is striving so hard to achieve the same things I want to achieve. That’s why I walk the talk. So, how do I do it? As many ways as possible, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll pick one example.
Since transitioning from being an independent consultant to a founder and managing consultant of my own small firm, Cities & People Advisors, I am constantly working to ensure that our project team members are racially diverse. And let’s be honest – doing so is no sacrifice; nor is it altruistic. By providing opportunities for early-career Black, Indigenous, and people of color researchers and evaluators to take a leadership role in our work, I am also giving myself the opportunity to grow and stretch in hard and wonderful ways. What’s more, I’m giving some of our clients the opportunity to grow and stretch as well.
For me, initiating these relationships has been the easy part. Building my capacity to be a true partner within the treacherous waters of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism and colonialism/nationalism, however, requires my constant attention. Even more challenging is maintaining a commitment to constantly checking my assumptions and practices about fair pay, emotional labor, professional access, social capital and other forms of power and transactional exchange, especially when it comes to working with people who have often been pushed to the margins to maintain white power. I draw on my own experiences frequently. While I know they are not identical, they are informative and help me make good decisions.
To me, there’s no goal more ethical than working on behalf of the public good, and there is no “public” when some hold power and some are barred from such power. How do I open the doors for others? Or better yet, how do I rip that door right off the hinges, maybe even tear out the whole wall? The wording is a little different, but that’s how I interpret what we say we are standing for as an association and where I put my effort in walking the talk.
The family and friends of Dr. George Julnes and AEA are proud to introduce the George Julnes Endowed Social Betterment Conference Award in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. George Julnes. Dr. Julnes had a distinguished career in program evaluation and contributed outstanding service to AEA, including as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Evaluation.
This award will be given to recognize one or more accepted paper proposals to be presented at the AEA annual conference, Evaluation 2022. Applications are due Friday, April 22. Submitted paper proposals and applications should be directly aligned with one or more of George’s areas of interest and with his aspirations for evaluation to support efforts to transition to a better world. Relevant areas include:
Did you miss our last town hall? Watch the recordings today to meet AEA’s new President, Veronica Olazabal, along with members of the Board of Directors and the Presidential Strand Conference Planning Team. The town hall shares the Board of Directors’ focus for this year, and Veronica’s chosen theme for Evaluation 2022 in New Orleans.
Watch the Recording
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 increased 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.
Are you interested in serving as a Co-Editor-in Chief of AEA’s New Directions for Evaluation or the American Journal of Evaluation?
We are launching a call for applications to fulfill the Editor-in-Chief positions for both the New Directions for Evaluation or the American Journal of Evaluation. These positions are vital to value and diversity of AEA publications. The Editor-in-Chief position is an exciting volunteer opportunity for an AEA member who is committed to AEA’s values and is has an interest or experience in the editorial process.
Watch our recorded webinar to learn more about these roles. You can also click on the links below to learn more about the responsibilities and criteria for each position.
We are proud to announce the interim appointments of Laura Peck and Jori Hall as Co-Editors-in-Chief of the American Journal of Evaluation. Both Jori and Laura have a long history of working with the AJE, with Jori serving as an Associate Editor and Laura as the Section Editor for Experimental Methodology. The interim appointments are for three months, until a permanent Editor-in-Chief is selected. We are thankful for their service!
Submit a proposal for the Evaluation 2022 conference, taking place November 7-12, 2022 in New Orleans, LA! We are excited to host evaluators from across the globe to share today's evaluation trends and best practices. All submissions are due Friday, April 22 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
As you submit your proposal to present at Evaluation 2022, keep in mind – we are looking for both creativity and variety in your submissions.
Mark your calendars for the 2022 Summer Evaluation Institute, happening June 6–8, 2022 in Atlanta! We're excited to present a breadth of 30 in-depth workshops, including:
Registration opens in April.
AEA is currently recruiting members for our volunteer services. We values member input and engagement and are always grateful for the work that our members put in. We are seeking volunteers for the following positions:
Every gift plays a critical role in supporting the future of AEA's Student Initiatives
The American Evaluation Association’s Giving Campaign support AEA's Student Initiatives. Funds donated will go to support student registrations for AEA's annual conference and other scholarship opportunities designed to support future evaluation professionals, including the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program and the Student Initiative Fund. Both programs provide students access to educational, professional and networking opportunities, such as workshops, paid internships and the annual conference.
Gift a Donation
EvalTalk is AEA’s member exclusive online community. Sign up for EvalTalk today to start using this free member resource.
Start a Conversation
As a member of AEA, you can access exclusive discounts to AEA events that connect you to the evaluation community. As a member, you save on registration for the Summer Evaluation Institute, Evaluation 2022 conference, and year-round eStudy workshops.
Learn more about other AEA member benefits.
To receive your 25% discount, please use the Promotional Code ZFAEA online or by phone (1-800-365-7006 or 1-212-966-6708), fax or postal mail.
To see new and recent books, visit your special page at: www.guilford.com/aea.
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off of select Oxford University Press social work and research method titles when you order through the website www.oup.com/academic using the discount code AEA20.
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off Routledge when you 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.).
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off SAGE when you use the discount code SAGE20. Check out your books here.
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off Lyceum by using discount code AEA at check-out and clicking "recalculate." The code can also be used through phone or postal mail. Order your books online here.
AEA members can receive a 20% discount off Lyceum when you use AEA13 at check-out. Order your books here.
Sign up for upcoming 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:
Evaluator (Lac du Flambeau, WI)
Associate Investigator/Evaluation (Aurora, CO)
Evaluation Director (Washington, DC)
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.