Friday, May 26, 2023
From AEA President Corrie Whitmore
AEA’s all-volunteer board just completed our second (of three) in-person board meetings for 2023. Our two-day meeting in Washington, DC, focused on ensuring all work being done is aligned with AEA’s vision and mission, reviewing and approving AEA’s annual budget, and moving new projects forward. This year, that includes launching a formal strategic planning process, completing an external evaluation of the board’s function (as required in our bylaws), and revisiting the utility and charge of each of AEA’s task forces and working groups.
As we carefully considered the task forces (which are created and managed by the board) and working groups (which focus on operationally-focused tasks and report to the Executive Director), the board realized that some updates are needed. These changes, which include creating new groups and sunsetting others whose charges have been fulfilled or whose work is misaligned with their reporting structure, will unfold over the next several months. If you’re interested in serving on a task force or working group, I encourage you to apply for the volunteer opportunities that will be posted later this year.
We’re about four months out from Evaluation 2023, which will take place in Indianapolis from October 9 – 14. Many thanks to those of you who served as conference proposal reviewers and are managing the review process: decisions on proposals should be available soon and conference registration will open in late June. The Local Affiliate Working Group, Conference Working Group, Presidential Strand Conference Committee, and AEA staff are meeting regularly and are hard at work planning a great conference around our theme – The Power of Story – and we hope to see you there!
From AEA President-Elect Felicia Bohanon and Operations Manager Zachary Grays
Vote-now conducted the Bylaws balloting on behalf of the American Evaluation Association from January 17 – February 15, 2023. A total of 624 members cast ballots during the vote. Of that number, 13 members abstained, 27 members voted to reject the bylaw changes, and 584 members voted to approve the proposed changes to the bylaws. Therefore, the proposed changes to the bylaws were approved and are effective as of February 16, 2023.
During the course of the vote, a limited number of concerns were brought to the attention of the American Evaluation Association staff. They include:
The sentence was corrected and Article VI reads: “The membership will be instructed to return the ballot to the duly-authorized Board-appointed agent, received in the AEA correspondence no later than the date specified on the ballot”
Although these substantive changes could not be addressed during the vote, the AEA Board will address these concerns and make needed changes in future revisions of the bylaws and other governance documents to ensure that the language and terms are updated.
Additional concerns related to the bylaws can be sent to Felicia R. Bohanon at PresidentElect@eval.org.
Members who are interested in working on the 2024 presidential strand program should contact President-Elect Felicia Bohanon at PresidentElect@eval.org by June 15.
From the AEA Board of Directors
The AEA Board of Directors made a decision to streamline its work and voted to sunset the following task forces:
The Financial Advisory Board (FAB) predated AEA's transition to Policy Based Governance and our relationship with Smithbucklin. When AEA did not have the support of a paid financial team and the proper checks and balances were not in place the FAB served an important role. In its current iteration, the FAB serves as an advisor to the Treasurer and responds to requests from the AEA Board. These functions are a duplication of the services AEA receives from SmithBucklin and Merrill Lynch. In an effort to make the best use of volunteer time, AEA's transition to Policy Based Governance, and the critical checks and balances which are now in place to secure AEA's financial assets the board has decided to discontinue the FAB. We want to thank our current and past FAB members and for their contributions to AEA's financial well-being over the years.
Communications Task Force:
The board has chosen to take on AEA's messaging and communications work themselves, eliminating the need for the Communications Task Force. We hope this change will allow our elected leaders to directly shape our communications and respond quickly when needed.
Commissioners of Evaluation Task Force:
The Commissioners of Evaluation Task Force was proposed in 2018; however, it has never come into being. At this point, the board has committed to removing it from the list of Task Forces, reflecting the reality that it does not fulfill a function for AEA.
Dr. Elizabeth Oyer
Affiliation: Evalsolutions, Inc. / University of Tennessee
Degrees: BA, MS, PhD
Years in the Evaluation Field: 26
Joined AEA: 2008
Why do you belong to AEA?
AEA is my professional "home" for evaluation work. Certainly, I have participated in subject-specific networks and conferences, but when it comes to thinking that is focused on the practice, AEA is an amazing and irreplaceable resource. I have learned a great deal from the generous contributions of AEA members and the critical discourse and resources around the range of technical, professional, and social justice concerns that evaluators face.
Why do you choose to work in the field of evaluation?
I love the opportunities that the field provides to apply structured methodologies to projects in different sectors. Evaluation work creates the professional space to work alongside amazing subject matter experts while supporting their work through the actionable knowledge gained from evaluation processes.
What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of?
As I think about my body of work, I am most proud of my collaboration with a crisis response team and their work during the early days of the COVID pandemic. At the time, I was the Vice President of Applied Research and Evaluation for a nonprofit. My grant writing supported the team to receive a federal Bureau of Justice Assistance grant that provided essential technologies for expanding their work as peer recovery coaches. Little did we imagine in 2018 how those technologies would provide critical support to vulnerable people with substance use and mental health needs when access was suddenly restricted in the early months of 2020. Ultimately, the data story that my evaluation team told gave voice to the brave and committed staff of the Choices Emergency Response Team and was published in a peer reviewed journal. I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to share those experiences.
What advice would you give to those new to the field?
As evaluation professionals, there is a lot to be excited about our work. From the broad adoption of the mindset of evaluation in academic, nonprofit, and private sectors, the opportunities for evaluators as critical contributors are vast. I would encourage new evaluators to continuing developing understanding of how the paradigms, methodologies, and frameworks of the field are evolving and to think flexibly about the work to grow accordingly.
Anything additional you would like to share with the AEA community?
I have spent decades working as an evaluator, sometimes as a consultant and sometimes as part of an institution. I'm very excited about the next stage of my career in my new role, beginning July 1, as the Director of the National Institute of STEM Evaluation and Research at the University of Tennessee.
The UN General Assembly recently adopted UN Resolution A/RES/77/283 on “Strengthening Voluntary National Reviews through Country-led Evaluation,” By the Resolution, the General Assembly encourages all Member States to use evidence from evaluations of the Sustainable Development Goals implementation for decision-making and reporting on their progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. Among other provisions, the Assembly also requests United Nations agencies to provide support at Member States’ request regarding their efforts to undertake evaluations of the implementation of the Goals and to facilitate the exchange of experiences and knowledge products from those evaluations. It further encourages Member States to present regular Voluntary National Reviews with a country-led evaluation component as deemed relevant and useful at the country level in partnership with relevant stakeholders.
gLOCAL Evaluation Week: The Future of M&E: Culture, Context, and Collaboration will take place from May 29 – June 2, 2023. gLOCAL supports the exchange of M&E knowledge and experiences to promote evaluation capacity development, support evidence-based decision-making, and strengthen development outcomes at a local and global level. For more information, visit the gLOCAL Events Calendar.
Navigating Change: Global Health, AIDS, CDC, and the UN, is a timely book that chronicles a female evaluator's 40-year career working for the UN, CDC, academia, foundations, and civil society in over 100 countries doing evaluations on a variety of topics including HIV/AIDS, UN Peacekeeping, and the global SDGs.
The Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF), established in 2009, has been the driving force behind AEA’s influence on evaluation-related policy at the federal level. The EPTF is now recruiting new members and invites you to apply.
The EPTF has influenced the understanding and use of evaluation within the federal government. In recent years, EPTF has consistently called for attention to and resources for building evaluation capacity within federal agencies. The group has also recommended AEA support for the Administration's position to incorporate Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge as evidence in federal policymaking and contributed to a survey of federal evaluation officials that identified challenges, resources, and opportunities for strengthening evaluation on the federal level. Of note, EPTF created AEA’s Evaluation Roadmap and informed the findings of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.
The EPTF is currently chaired by Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, who has over a decade of experience working on evaluation policy issues in the federal government. Other EPTF members continuing in 2023 include: Lisa Aponte-Soto, Nicole Bowman, Kerry Bruce (Board liaison), Katherine Dawes, Diana Epstein, Leslie Fierro, Melvin Mark, Kathryn Newcomer, Demetra Nightingale, Gregory Phillips II, and Maurice Samuels (Board liaison).
The task force meets monthly for approximately one hour. Applicants may anticipate spending at least an additional hour per month to assist with task force statements or other materials, often with a timely response needed. Per the AEA appointment policy, the Executive Committee, the chair of the EPTF, and the Executive Director will review the applications and appoint new members of the EPTF. As applicants are considered, these criteria will be used to guide the selection process and prioritize eligible candidates:
Please submit self-nominations, including the reasons why you would like to serve and a description of your relevant experience or qualifications, by June 30, 2023. Please email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, May 25, the AEA Membership and Operations team, comprised of Mike Zapata and Zachary Grays, hosted a virtual orientation to AEA that was suitable for both new and returning members. This webinar provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about the association's offerings, their AEA benefits, and how to navigate their accounts.
If you were unable to attend this session, don't worry! You can now watch the webinar recording. Access the recordings by clicking here.
Application Deadline: Wednesday, June 7
AEA is now seeking applications from those interested in participating in the Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Faculty Initiative. Through the MSI Program, faculty members from minority-serving institutions will come together to participate in orientation, webinars, and the Evaluation 2023.
Who should apply:
We are seeking faculty members from groups traditionally under-represented in the applied social sciences, public health, or education working at a Minority Serving Institution who are looking for an opportunity to participate in professional development opportunities, expand their professional network, and improve their knowledge and understanding of topics related to evaluation, assessment, and applied research.
Please carefully review the application components in the eligibility requirements prior to beginning this application form. You will be able to save and return to your application via the 'save and continue later' option at the bottom of the screen. Please answer all items on this form and attach an electronic CV by Wednesday, June 7, 2023. If you have any questions or need additional information regarding the application process, contact AEA staff via email at email@example.com. For questions regarding the program, contact MSI Director Art Hernandez via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of AEA’s members are accomplished authors, contributing to the growth and development of the evaluation profession through their insightful publications and groundbreaking research. We are excited to introduce the AEA Publishing Corner, which will spotlight work published by our members. If you have a recent publication or professional accomplishment you would like to share, please submit it here.
This month we are spotlighting David M. Fetterman, who has published a recent book, Empowerment Evaluation and Social Justice: Confronting the Culture of Silence.
Feature: David M. Fetterman
Book: Empowerment Evaluation and Social Justice: Confronting the Culture of Silence
David M. Fetterman describes how empowerment evaluation enables program planners and participants to define their mission or purpose, take stock of how well they are doing, and plan for the future to achieve self-determined goals.
If you would like to purchase this book, please click here.
If you would like to hear a few book passages from David Fetterman, click here.
Submit a proposal to an upcoming special issue of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE) on Open Science in Evaluation. Dana Linnell, Ph.D., and Travis R. Moore, Ph.D., are seeking chapter proposals that broadly discuss open science as it relates to evaluation. Articles do not have to be empirical, but authors should be prepared to share any data or materials related to their articles, exemplifying open science practices. Interested authors should submit a proposal to the guest editors by 11:59 PM ET on Sunday, August 13. Questions about abstracts and whether proposals might be a good fit can be sent to the co-editors prior to August 13. Please read the full call for proposals for more information and contact information.
AEA is excited to announce the return of the Summer Learning Series! The Summer Learning Series will feature in-depth virtual workshops offering interactive training, emphasizing the distinct challenges and trends relevant to evaluators.
Workshops will be scheduled from June – August.
The Summer Learning Series features:
We will be sharing more details about the workshop topics and registration process in the coming weeks.
Registration for Evaluation 2023: The Power of Story will open in late June. In the meantime, we encourage you to mark your calendars so you can reserve your spot for this event, happening October 9–14, 2023. Visit the Evaluation 2023 website to learn more.
EvalTalk is a member exclusive discussion forum. Use EvalTalk to engage in discussions about evaluation best practices, seek advice from your peers, and network with fellow members.
Select “Join Community” to pose questions, start a conversation, and share ideas with your global peers.
You must be logged into your AEA account to subscribe to the platform.
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; register now:
Using Word and Excel to Analyze Qualitative Data
Presenter: Seth Tucker, Evaluation Analyst, TCC Group
Dates: September 21 and 28 from 12:00-1:30 PM ET
Learn how to conduct rigorous qualitative analysis using familiar tools like Microsoft Word and Excel in this interactive eStudy. Discover the steps and definitions needed to organize and analyze qualitative data efficiently and effectively without the need for coding software.
Introduction to Focus Groups
Course Facilitator: Rhonda Williams, PhD
This course is designed to assist you in preparing for and conducting focus groups, as well as analyzing your data, summarizing your findings, and creating your final report. With real-world experiences and scenarios included throughout the course, you'll be equipped to make your next focus group session a success.
Introduction to Evaluation 101
This on-demand course has been specifically created to equip you with essential evaluation skills, enabling you to fully utilize evaluations and ensure their effective implementation for end users.
By completing Evaluation 101, you will acquire valuable tools and knowledge to apply evaluative thinking competently and immediately enhance your evaluation practice with tangible results.
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)