Tuesday, April 27, 2021
The last year brought many feelings of fear, chaos, and injustice. However, we recently witnessed a historic moment in social justice we are not soon to forget.
Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty by a Minneapolis jury for the murder of George Floyd. Floyd, an unarmed African American man, died from asphyxiation due to Chauvin pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck with lethal force for an estimated seven minutes, even as Floyd lay on the ground in handcuffs, crying that he could not breathe.
It was in that moment of hearing the verdict that I felt an ounce of hope, because the long- ignored cries of injustice by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color were finally heard. Although it is sad that the cries of this community alone were not enough, finally, accountability would be demanded in this instance.
This is a time for associations to use our power to take a stand against injustice, and call for accountability in all instances. Although AEA is not a political organization, our values support using our leverage as an association to denounce systemic racism, white supremacy, sexism, and discrimination. This includes adding a DEI lens to our conference site selection criteria, to send a message to cities across the country that social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion matter to AEA!
AEA is just as committed to internal audits of our own way of being. Much of this work will be under the newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group. Under the leadership of AEA members Vidhya Shanker and Elizabeth Shiro-Taylor, this group’s charge is as follows:
Members can count on interactive sessions with the DEI Working Group activities, such as Town Hall sessions and conference events. You can also look forward to a social justice E-study series, developed by AEA members of the Professional Development Working Group.
As we strive to create a welcoming environment for all, let us remember the differences that we can make as individuals by being allies, speaking up against injustice, and being aware of our own unconscious biases in word and in deed.
To celebrate 35 years as an association, AEA is highlighting members that have made an impact within the association and industry. This month, AEA spoke with Melvin Hall. Read about Hall’s background, extensive involvement with AEA, and where he sees the association heading in the future.
I describe my evaluation career as the result of equal parts serendipity and personal agency. In 1973, I returned to UIUC to work on a doctorate, without any clear sense of what I wanted to do with the degree or the specific focus of my graduate work. That is where serendipity began to weave its magic. During my first semester, I enrolled in a basic statistics and research design course with no idea that it was taught by J. Thomas Hastings — one of the founding figures of modern program evaluation. Tom invited me to his office and proceeded to recruit me into the evaluation curriculum and an affiliation with the Center for Instructional Research and Curriculum Evaluation (CIRCE). He became my first mentor and advisor as I aligned myself with the component of the educational psychology department that led to a degree in measurement and evaluation. When Tom retired during my second year in the program, he handed me off to Bob Stake, who, along with Terry Denny, continued to guide my development as a student of evaluative inquiry.
Again, serendipity swooped in as I was recruited to a position as assistant dean and assistant professor at what is now called the University of Illinois at Springfield. Over the course of eight years in this position, I developed personal agency as an academic administrator who could use evaluative thinking to generate transformative change. Documented success as a change agent ultimately led to a dean’s position at Florida Atlantic University, followed by three more dean positions at University of California, Irvine, University of Maryland at College Park, and finally, Northern Arizona University. In each of these cases, throughout my four dean roles, I also developed and maintained a program evaluation consultation practice. When I left administration and returned to full-time faculty life, I was able to then build my evaluation practice further through grant-funded activities, sponsored mostly by the National Science Foundation. To this day, I continue to work directly and indirectly on NSF initiatives, teaching, and consulting on evaluation of STEM Broadening Participation Projects at historically Black colleges, universities, and elsewhere.
The two themes of serendipity and personal agency as a change agent continue to define my path, even into retirement.
I first attended AEA in the fall of 2002, which coincided with the end of my tenure as Dean of the College of Education at NAU and returned to full-time faculty life. Once again, serendipity played a role in what happened next. Years earlier, coinciding with my first appointment as a dean, I attended a meeting of the professional society for leaders in continuing education. I was immediately disappointed by the lack of diversity in the organization, even though the major theme of the conference I attended was the shifting demographics of higher education. As I explained to a colleague on the elevator, I had determined I would leave the conference early because of this imbalance. I was unaware that the members of the organization leadership were also on the elevator and overheard my comments. By that evening, I was co-chairing an organizational change initiative at the request of the leadership. My co-chair and I became lifelong friends, and the group we started with grew rapidly, impacting the diversity of the organization dramatically over a four-year period. Fast forward to 2002 when I attended my first AEA meeting, I had Deja vu of witnessing another professional organization having conversations about diversity, but with very little of it in evidence. I had agreed to substitute for an ailing colleague, which meant participating as a respondent on a panel sponsored by the MIE TIG. In another whoosh of serendipity, a past president of AEA was in the audience. Once again, I was drawn into an organizational change effort by an appointment as chair-elect of the AEA Diversity Committee. The AEA meeting in 2002 initiated seventeen years of leadership and organizational change opportunities in AEA, including three years on the AEA Board of Directors, co-chairing the task force on member engagement, diversity and leadership development, convening the AEA dialogue on race and class in America, and serving as the initial chair of the task force to create the AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation. My years of service to AEA culminated in my receiving the Robert Ingle Service Award in 2018, the first formal recognition I had received for my combined 27 years of diversity-focused organizational change work.
Of the many things I have learned in my organizational change efforts, it is that you cannot improve what you fail to acknowledge or see. But getting acknowledgement and seeing the reality of diversity is only the foundational step that then allows significant progress to occur. Over the past twenty years, AEA has developed a critical mass of membership diversity that cannot be ignored; it must be acknowledged. The membership has reached the critical mass of members of color — now, we would be missed if we all just went away. That was not the case in 2002. So, the question of where the association goes in the future is the question of what it does now; that it can see and acknowledge real diversity among the membership. Will AEA become an organization where members of color benefit from their affiliation in the ways that all other members have since the organization began? In this regard, it is not a question of extending the same services and opportunities, but of truly becoming an organization that adapts its offerings in recognition of the composition of the membership. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen consistent enough affirmative movement on the question of what AEA becomes, now that it has met the critical mass requirement to have a choice about the kind of organization it wishes to be. Whether the association can provide access to professional development and colleagueship attuned to the more diverse composition of its membership, will determine what the association becomes.
While this would seem like a relatively straight forward question, I am troubled by what I see as a lack of coherence in what “getting started in the industry” means today. On one end of the spectrum, entry-level evaluators seem to either gravitate towards – or are limited to – a rather mechanistic practice, heavily driven by methods and methodology…or what Gordon Allport once called “methodolatry.” The overreliance upon the a priori application of tools, rather than true engagement in building inquiries that speak to the knowledge needs of all stakeholders does not bode well for building evaluation into a truly public resource capable of generating knowledge that truly leads to social betterment in ways we cannot imagine in advance. Many writers now call on evaluation to avoid continuing to be complacent about institutionalized inequity that is reinforced whenever an evaluation fails to call it out, and to instead use their inquiry skills to hold up a mirror so that society has an opportunity to see and address what has been allowed to divide the citizenry into “haves” and “have nots.”
So, I would say to an aspiring evaluator, consider whether you want to enter this profession as a mechanic who tinkers with the way things are, or a designer and builder who seeks to fulfill evaluation’s promise to be a way that society learns important lessons about itself. There are more jobs for the former, but society has a real need for the latter.
I hope that AEA at 35 becomes more than a celebration and promotion. Much effort and learning has occurred in the name of AEA during those years. At this point, there is an open question of how aware AEA of 2021 is about the stony road traveled to arrive at this moment. Getting in touch with that history and struggle should not create fear or fatigue, it should be the source of a more enlightened view of what the next 35 years should bring. I fear that there is too much temptation to just keep moving in what is believed to be a forward direction, only to find that we are moving in a circular pattern without knowing it because we are so out of touch with where we have been that we do not recognize that we have been in this place before.
AEA is excited to celebrate our 35th year as an association in 2021! Since our inception in 1986, we have strived to advance evaluation as a profession and provide a space for community amongst a diverse group of evaluators.
AEA is standing tall after 35 years, even amid the second year of a global pandemic; we think that is worth commemorating.
We want you to join in the celebration! We have put together a set of 35th Anniversary graphics that you can proudly share to recognize the growth of the AEA community. These graphics include:
Other Ways to Celebrate:
We look forward to seeing you celebrate our anniversary.
This year, AEA celebrates 35 years as an association! Last month, we asked you to test your knowledge of AEA. Find out how you did below:
1. Who was AEA's president in 1988?
2. What was AEA's conerence theme in 2005?
3. How many TIG groups does AEA currently have?
Ready for more trivia fun? Take the latest AEA at 35 association trivia quiz here and check the next issue to see if you answered correctly!
Name: Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead (She/Her/Hers)
Affiliation: Associate Professor of Evaluation, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut (the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc, and Lenape Peoples)
Degrees: BA, Psychology, University of South Carolina; MA, Organizational Behavior and Evaluation, Claremont Graduate University; PhD, Evaluation and Applied Research Methods, Claremont Graduate University
Years in the Evaluation Field: 20
Joined AEA: 2001
The American Evaluation Association has always been my professional home. For me, it is a place to be inspired and to inspire, be it via the annual conferences, our journals, or our social networking initiatives (e.g., AEA365). It also provided a way to find and connect with other evaluators in my region through the local affiliates.
Quite simply, to be in service to others and for things far bigger than myself. My fundamental belief in social justice colors everything that I do, including my chosen profession.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have been on the ground floor when EvalYouth was built and launched in 2015. One of the things I most value about that experience is how we were able to combine ideas from design and evaluation (specifically youth participatory evaluation) to create a global, multi-stakeholder network that supports and promotes young, emerging evaluators (YEEs) and youth-led evaluation around the world. Today, EvalYouth is a vibrant community with a global network and several regional, national, and local chapters. I do not think this would have been possible without youth participatory evaluation principles guiding the work, and youth co-leading and leading various efforts. Being a part of EvalYouth, quite honestly, is and will always be one of the most profound professional experiences I have had.
First, put yourself out there. Do not be shy. I’ve been to a lot of conferences over my professional career, and AEA is, by far, the friendliest and most inviting. I have made a lot of great personal and professional connections by reaching out to others in the AEA community (in person or by email). Second, if you have the time, volunteer. It does not necessarily have to be a large time commitment. Volunteering to write an AEA365 blog post is a great way to connect with those interested in the same kinds of ideas within the field of evaluation. It is also not time intensive. The full list of AEA volunteer opportunities are available here. Third, check out the AEA Local Affiliates page to see if there is a local affiliate in your area. It is a great way to connect and be in community with local evaluators.
Former AEA President Aimee White resigned from the Board of Directors on March 31, 2021.
Aimee is stepping away from the position of Past President for professional reasons and decided it was time to move on.
Aimee has been a champion for improved implementation of the Policy Governance model since she was elected to the AEA Board in 2014. She built in sustainability practices that ensure new Board members are trained not only by the AEA, but by the Govern for Impact Governance experts. Aimee successfully led the AEA through the first year of the pandemic as we navigated tough organizational decisions with unknown circumstances. Under her leadership, we launched our inaugural virtual conference, which was very successful.
After a board vote and invitation, Tessie Catsambas (AEA past president in 2020) agreed to return to the board, and serve in place of Aimee White for the remainder of the 2021.
We wish Aimee the best in her new endeavors and thank her for her dedicated service to the AEA!
Thank you to all who participated in our recent Town Hall regarding AEA’s policies on Intellectual Property. After hearing concerns raised by members regarding the Eval21 Reimagined proposal contract language, we have revised that language with your input following the Town Hall and have extended the Call for Proposals to Monday, May 17.
In addition, AEA is planning a webinar to support our members' knowledge of Intellectual Property rights as evaluators to occur before the virtual conference.
View the updated language here and send any questions or concerns to email@example.com. Thank you for your feedback.
Proposal submissions have been extended for Eval21 Reimagined: A Virtual Experience! This is your chance to submit your work to present to thousands of evaluation professionals this fall. The deadline to submit is Monday, May 17, 2021.
AEA is planning to offer 120 sessions at Eval21 Reimagined. We are looking for a dynamic variety of virtual presentations to meet the diverse needs of the AEA members. We will accept the following session types:
Those who submit session proposals should feel comfortable and have experience presenting virtually.
Learn more about the Eval21 Reimagined theme, specificities on we're looking for, and how to submit your proposal.
For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page on the AEA website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. We do have a number of new titles that your members may be interested in that I’ve outlined below—please feel free to share this information however you see fit whether on the website or in the newsletter or using social media. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Clinical Assessment for Social Workers - Clinical Assessment for Social Workers provides a wide range of standardized assessment tools, derived from different perspectives, to give readers greater flexibility in information gathering and intervention planning. Incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods, the authors encourage readers to approach assessment as both an art and a science. They advocate for discovering the balance between scientific, evidence-based approaches and the development of personal practice wisdom.
Practical Implementation in Social Work Practice - Practical Implementation in Social Work Practice is a helpful guide that showcases the benefits of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP), with an emphasis on the implementation of high-quality interventions. The book expands on the EBP process from the applied and practical lenses, beginning with an overview of the process of EBP and the relationship between EBP and implementation. Within the chapters, readers will find specialized insight, practical industry tips, and adaptable implementation frameworks and tools to use on their own.
If you are a publisher and would like to participate as an AEA publishing partner, or if you are an author of an evaluation-related text from an alternate publisher that you would like to see participate, please contact the AEA office at email@example.com.
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.).
You’ll hear it from just about anyone who is a member that the AEA Topical Interest Groups are the heart and soul of AEA. Each TIG is defined around a special topic or interest and creates a forum whereby the knowledge, experience, and skills of each member can become a resource that the entire community can leverage. Joining a TIG is an exclusive benefit to AEA membership and is your ticket to a community of experts who share similar backgrounds and work settings.
NEW! AEA members may now join as many TIGs as they wish (previously capped at five per member). Although there is no longer a limit of how many TIGs you may join, we recommend you limit your membership to five in order to maintain appropriate involvement. Joining a TIG is easy and can be managed here. Simply log in and join the TIGs that best suit your interests.
TIG members will receive updates from their TIG via email directly from the community discussion forums. To manage your email preferences and frequency login here, navigate to your profile (top right corner of the screen), and manage your community notifications under ‘My Account’.
Not sure if a particular TIG is the right fit for you? While selecting from 60 TIGs sounds like a lot, there are a few great ways to get your feet wet before hitting the join button. Check out a TIG's website to learn about their mission, purpose, and upcoming activities. Many TIGs use their sites to archive their newsletters, engage in rich discussion, and keep members in the know. You may also reach out directly to the dedicated volunteer TIG leaders via email. They’re happy to share more information and answer your questions. Lastly, you may contact AEA staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance. Zachary, Damon, and Mike are more than happy to get you started in the right direction.
Through our TIGs you have access to a network of professionals for collaboration on ideas and practices and a well of invaluable knowledge on topic areas that may be of interest to you. Your participation is based on your availability, and there is no specific obligation associated with your TIG membership. Some TIGs are very active, with vibrant online discussion lists, resource websites, and special networking events, while others tend to focus their efforts around the AEA annual conference. Being active in a TIG allows you to increase your depth of knowledge in a specific area as well as pursue volunteer leadership opportunities.
The Digital Knowledge Hub is an online platform featuring professional development opportunities for evaluators, by evaluators. See eStudies available for purchase like the ones below.
In-depth eStudy courses offer a deep dive into top-of-mind evaluation themes and topics. Open to both members and nonmembers alike, eStudies provide a diverse learning experience where collaboration is encouraged.
Presenters: Dr. Sharon Attipoe-Dorcoo, Katie Boone, MA and Dr. Rita S. Fierro
Dates: May 14, 24, 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Have you ever been scared to invite certain stakeholders to an evaluation meeting because of tension management in a charged context? Have you seen a stakeholder bored while you tried to explain logic models? Participatory Leadership (PL) practices, from the Art of Hosting tradition, provide tools to help evaluators design inclusive evaluations without teaching evaluation concepts. You can involve as many as, or more than, 250 people in your design with relatively little time, allowing for community inclusion. The creative tension can be used to identify creative solutions that leverage the group’s collective power.
Attendees will experience and learn how to create a meeting environment that facilitates meaningful and deep conversations where all participants contribute and the environment isn't dominated by a handful of participants even in the presence of dissent.
Presenter: Jennifer Jewiss, EdD
Dates: May 18, 20, 25, 27, 12:00 p.m. (EST)
Evaluators who use interviews, open-ended survey questions, and other avenues for gathering qualitative data often generate lots of rich, messy, textual material. Once the qualitative dataset is assembled, the next phase of the adventure begins as we strive to make sense of the data and produce the most meaningful findings. This eStudy introduces participants to coding and thematic analysis, two foundational strategies for working with qualitative data. This eStudy will feature hands-on, skill-building opportunities and present a set of guiding questions that evaluators can use to focus analyses and consider essential ethical issues such as positionality and cultural competence.
Dates: May - June
The Summer Learning Series is back! Choose from several virtual workshops inspired by the Summer Evaluation Institute. These workshops have a limited capacity, allowing for a more intimate learning experience alongside peers.
Plus, two of these workshops are part of our new Social Justice Series, which will continue throughout the year following the Summer Series.
Topics covered include:
Looking for a crash course in evaluation? Purchase the Introduction to Eval 101 on-demand course!
Created with the assistance of Tom Chapel, Chief Evaluation Officer for the CDC, Eval 101 provides an overview of the evaluation framework. This hands-on, self-paced eLearning course uses case studies and simulations to teach the step-by-step framework for program evaluation. The tools and insights learned from Eval 101 will empower you to use evaluative thinking effectively and make an immediate and practical impact on your evaluation practice.
As an AEA member, you have free access to our library of Coffee Breaks. These short, 20 minute webinars are great for sharing lessons with your students or other colleagues, while you are apart. Learn more and register for the upcoming Coffee Break.
Using Porter Novelli Styles Survey Data at CDC
Presenters: Fred Fridinger, DrPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dates: Thursday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. (EST)
AEA is excited to present our first Coffee Break webinar of the year! These free, 20-minute presentations provide insights into niche topics impacting evaluation practice and introduce new tools to evaluators. Coffee Breaks are offered exclusively to AEA members.
Numerous programs at the CDC have been accessing Porter Novelli market research survey data for over 25 years. This Coffee Break will provide insight into the different types of surveys that the CDC programs have used, and how the data has been incorporated into communication and marketing efforts.
In this section, we spotlight events of interest to the AEA community, suggested by fellow members. Please note these events are not sponsored by AEA. If you would like to suggest an upcoming event, email Cady Stokes, AEA newsletter editor, at email@example.com.
Announcing the NVivo Virtual Conference 2021, Transcending Boundaries in Qualitative Research, scheduled for September 22-23, 2021. We’re inviting you to submit an abstract for a paper or poster on how your research is transcending boundaries across disciplines, methods, cultures and beyond. Abstracts due by June 30, 2021.
We have invited keynote speakers who are world experts in transcending boundaries with their research:
Crystal Abidin, PhD Associate Professor, Principal Research Fellow, & ARC DECRA Fellow in Internet Studies, Programme Lead of Social Media Pop Cultures at the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) at Curtin University. She was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and Pacific Standard 30 Top Thinkers Under 30. Learn more about her work at wishcrys.com.
Sally Campbell Galman, Ph.D. Professor of child and family studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of the Shane the Lone Ethnographer series of methods comics. Her arts-based research has been published in Girlhood Studies, Public Anthropologist, and Anthropology News. Learn more about her work at sallycampbellgalman.com
Call For Abstracts Is Now Open
We are interpreting transcending boundaries in its widest sense - transcending disciplines, methods, and cultures. The focus of the call for abstracts for papers and posters should be on methods not results. We welcome proposals exploring but not limited to:
How To Submit
You’ll find more information on abstract requirements and how to submit on the conference web page
DEADLINE for abstract submissions: June 30, 2021
For questions specific to the NVivo Virtual Conference 2021, please contact the organizers Silvana di Gregorio, Ph.D., QSR Research Director, and Stacy Penna, Ed.D., NVivo Community Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward to interested colleagues.
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.