Friday, March 31, 2023
From AEA Executive Director Anisha Lewis
Who is AEA?
There comes a point in every organization’s life cycle when decisions cannot be made without being able to answer the question, “Who are we as an organization”? AEA’s identity is based on our mission and values statements, which our members perceive to be central, distinctive and enduring to the organization. However, our identity is also shaped by the perception of our external (non-member) constituents. How does the global evaluation community view AEA? Why do we exist? How do organizations become what they become?
This year, the AEA Board of Directors has set a strategic priority to better understand AEA’s identity, from who we were intended to be as an organization, to who we have become. This process will include defining and diagnosing our identity so that we can define gaps and determine if needed change actions exist.
We will also review our organization’s foundational documents (Guiding Principles, AEA Competencies, Cultural Competencies Statement, etc.) to ensure that they continue to reflect AEA’s culture, climate, identity, and external perceptions such as reputation and image. Identity is an important aspect of our organization that can help attract human, financial, and other resources critical for our success. Over time, and especially in times of organizational decline, important identity attributes can atrophy, leaving AEA misaligned with our current and future competitive demands.
The American Evaluation Association exists to serve many. Evaluators, funders, commissioners of evaluation and many others. Engagement, education, collaboration, networking and advocacy are key reasons members join AEA. Through this intended work, we will better understand the needs and wants of the members we serve, so that we can develop services, products and programs to meet your needs.
Please be sure to complete our upcoming Membership Survey, launching at the end of April. Your feedback is crucial to help inform planning to address what our members need and want.
In March, the Biden Administration released its FY 2024 President’s Budget Request, kicking off the start of the federal appropriations process. The Budget Request demonstrates many of the Administration's priorities – and includes a broad commitment to the generation and use of data and evidence to support those priorities.
Following the Administration’s return to the Analytical Perspectives chapters last fiscal year, the Budget Request again includes two chapters specific to building and using evidence in the federal government, signaling the value the Administration places on data and evidence for informed decision-making. The chapter on Building And Using Evidence To Improve Government Effectiveness is largely dedicated to program evaluation – highlighting recent accomplishments of the Evaluation Council and Evaluation Officers, including this year’s publication of agencies’ Learning Agendas and Evaluation Plans.
Pointing to this progress, the Budget Request signals the need for continued investment in evaluation functions, with an explicit focus on building agencies’ evaluation capacity. The analytical chapter on building and using evidence highlights key factors of improving capacity as well as characteristics of what a mature evaluation function looks like in practice, citing ways the Administration’s request aims to address them.
Supporting Evaluation Officer leadership and hiring highly-skilled evaluators as staff is one key area in which the Budget emphasizes a need for investment. The Budget requests funding to ensure that each CFO Act agency has at least some dedicated staff that have specialized evaluation experience to support the Evaluation Officer in planning and executing Learning Agendas and Annual Evaluation Plans. To support this effort, the Administration proposes a $1 million Cross-Governmental Program Evaluation Fellowship Program to place specialized evaluation experts at agencies to accelerate implementation of the evaluation function.
Beyond personnel, the Budget requests certain agencies maintain their evaluation set-asides – an authority where a share of total spending is allocated for evaluation activities. For example, the request for the Department of Labor continues to include a set aside of up to 0.75 percent of appropriations and the Department of Education maintains 0.5 percent of set aside funds for most Higher Education Act programs. The Budget also includes a request for an evaluation funding flexibility general provision for the Department of Labor and Health and Human Services to support strategic, long-term, and flexible evaluation planning.
Other evaluation activities of note includes funding for a new rigorous interagency evaluation of actions aimed at improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Accessibility across the federal workforce at the Department of Labor, and launching a new research portal on Evaluation.gov in support of both agency-specific and cross-cutting Learning Agenda questions.
The explicit focus on capacity-building – through both funding resources and efforts to ensure evaluation offices attract and retain skilled staff – is encouraging for the evaluation community. Prioritizing the needs of Evaluation Officers to continue to build mature evaluation functions across the federal government is critical for strengthening evidence-informed decision-making and the investments requested in the FY 2024 President’s Budget would help support such needs.
The American Evaluation Association welcomes applications for its Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program which 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 work the equivalent of approximately two days per week at an internship site, usually near their home institutions from approximately September 1, 2023 to July 1, 2024. 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 $15,000 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.
To learn more about program eligibility and components, click here. All materials must be received by AEA staff on or before Friday, April 28, 2023.
Have questions about being a GEDI intern? Join GEDI Program Leadership on Wednesday, April 12, at 1:00 pm ET as they discuss the GEDI program experience from the scholar's 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 expectations. Register here.
Questions: We recommend beginning by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. Should you have further questions about the program, email email@example.com. Go to the GEDI homepage to learn more about the program. Seize this opportunity and apply today!
AEA is looking for host sites for the GEDI Program. Host sites provide meaningful evaluation project work and mentoring to interns. GEDI Interns are among the best and brightest graduate students in the country who are learning through internships to transfer their strong inquiry skills to real-life situations in organizations, agencies, and firms.
Hosting a GEDI at your organization is a unique opportunity to help build evaluation's future by fostering the professional growth of an intern from a background under-represented in the field. A number of host sites have found the GEDI experience so positive as to invite their intern to continue in a part- or full-time capacity upon completion of the internship.
Interns work two days per week at your organization, from September 2023 through June 2024. Finalists are selected by an advisory team based on the applicant's capacity and interests as well as the needs of the site. Sites then interview the geographically matched candidates and select from the most qualified candidates in their region. Final placements of scholar candidates are determined by GEDI Program Directors based on the best match for both the site and the scholar.
Host site obligations include:
This year AEA is hosting its very own Inaugural U.S. Student Evaluation Case Competition! This competition will take place on June 3, 2023. Interested in participating? Great news! We are recruiting for both student teams and judges. Form your own team of 3-5 students or volunteer as a judge. Students will build an evaluation plan in response to a real word case of a non-profit seeking an evaluation, and submit it for judging. Judges will review the evaluation plans and provide feedback. Prizes will be available for the winning team. Make sure you do not miss out on this amazing opportunity!
See more information on the competition here.
AEA SECC Flyer
Questions? Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a reminder, AEA will not be hosting the in-person Summer Evaluation Institute in 2023. Instead, we are bringing back the Summer Series.
The Summer Series consists of in-depth virtual workshops that will be held between June and August of 2023.
This virtual format allows more of our community to participate in important workshops.
The Summer Series will feature interactive, training workshops with a focus on the diverse issues and trends unique to evaluation professionals. These workshops have a limited capacity, allowing for an intimate classroom learning experience.
Stay tuned for more information.
Registration for Evaluation 2023: The Power of Story will open this summer. In the meantime, we encourage you to mark your calendars so you can reserve your spot for this event, happening October 9-14, 2023. You can learn more about the Evaluation 2023 theme here.
Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) is an evaluation training program designed to develop a pathway for diverse leaders in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation (CREE) who will advance the field of evaluation. The Cohort 5 LEEAD Scholar application is now open here! Applications will close on April 14, 2023, at 11:59 pm ET.
For more information, review the LEEAD Scholar Overview here.
Have Questions About Applying? Please send any questions to email@example.com with ‘LEEAD Application Question’ in the subject line.
AEA members receive discounts from certain publishers. Use the special codes below during your next purchase:
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:
AEA Focus Group eLearning Course
Course Facilitator: Rhonda Williams, PhD
Have you ever been tasked with obtaining feedback from a group of stakeholders? Do you have an interest in improving your strategies for focus groups? Have you thought about improving the coordination and planning for others to share their thoughts?
Purchase the Focus Group eLearning Course to:
Introduction to Evaluation 101
Introduction to Evaluation 101 is designed to teach you fundamental evaluation skills, allowing you to maximize the use of your evaluation and drive it home for the end user.
Purchase the Introduction to Evaluation 101 eLearning Course to:
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.
AEA is a professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of evaluation in all its forms.
The association's mission is to:
Phone: 1-202-367-1166 or 1-888-232-2275 (U.S. and Canada only)