AEA Newsletter: April 2019

Message from the Executive Director

Balancing Value, Cost and Sustainability

From Anisha Lewis, AEA Executive Director

Anisha Lewis.jpg

This is an exciting time to be a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and I thank each of you for choosing AEA to be a part of our community.

As our community, programs, initiatives and member services continue to grow in scope, we are faced with the difficult task of balancing our commitment to our values with our obligations of being good financial stewards of the association’s finances. Expenses for governance, operations, programs and events increase with growth, so there will be a nominal increase in conference registration and membership fees effective July 1. A formal announcement with the posted rates will be sent to you shortly.

Our priority is to provide our members with the most value and the best experiences possible, and to do that, we need a little more funding. Fee increases will allow us to keep up with inflation and support the overall growth of the association. We are also actively seeking external funding from grants, sponsorships, exhibitors and advertising so that our membership dues and event fees can remain low.

To show you how much we value your membership, we will be offering a Premiere Early Bird conference rate that will be exclusive to AEA members (for a limited time). This offer will be lower than the general early bird rate (which is available to non-members) so that we continue to support our members having equitable access to our conference. The e-announcement with details about the Premiere Early Bird rate will be sent in July when registration opens.

Your membership in AEA supports a variety of initiatives, such as creating a community of practice for a variety of topics that are advancing and impacting evaluation. We also offer you a voice for evaluative thinking and design in local and national government planning and representation in the global evaluation conversation. AEA offers developmental resources for effectively communicating findings and the value of evaluation, as well as daily evaluation tips and trends contributed by evaluation professionals with diverse backgrounds. 

Our goal of increased revenue will enable us to increase services to our members, including (but not limited to):

  • An enhanced AEA website
  • A librarian to archive association history
  • Governance and other training for our Board of Directors
  • Increased support for diversity initiatives
  • Increased professional development offerings
  • Training support for Topical Interest Groups (TIG’s)
  • Evaluation of programs and initiatives

Our need for members to play an increased role in advocating for AEA has never been greater! Members make the best advocates because of your choice to belong to an association that reflects your values. As we work to ensure the fiscal stability of AEA, we need our members to assist us with identifying candidates for sponsorship, advertising and exhibitor opportunities at our Eval2019 Annual Conference and Summer Institute. A warm introduction has more impact than a cold call! Please consider making an email introduction ( to connect me with those in your network (employers, organizations, publishers, university contacts, colleagues, etc.) who may be interested in supporting AEA.

Together, we can succeed at balancing our values and costs, and taking AEA to greater heights! 


The Face of AEA

Featuring Shetay Ashford-Hanserd

 Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd
Affiliation: Texas State University
Degrees: B.S. in Computer Science – University of South Florida, M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Texas State University, Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Career and Workforce Education
Years in the Evaluation Field: 7 years
Joined AEA: 2015

Why do you belong to AEA?

I was first introduced to AEA by one of my mentors, Dr. Liliana Rodríguez-Campos. As part of my doctoral studies at the University of South Florida, I enrolled in Dr. Rodríguez-Campos’ evaluation certificate program, and I’ve been a member ever since.

When I first joined, I was intrigued by the plethora of connections and resources that AEA provides, which convinced me to remain a member. I have had the opportunity to meet prominent scholars, thought leaders, and book authors in the field of evaluation. I also enjoy the numerous opportunities for networking during and after AEA conferences, and the online AEA community, which provides numerous resources for practitioners, educators, and researchers alike.

What is the most memorable or meaningful evaluation you have been a part of? 

I had the opportunity to conduct a metaevaluation at a youth technology literacy program that focused on bridging the digital divide of at-risk youth.

Since metaevaluation is an evaluation of an evaluation, I used the Program Evaluation Standards developed by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation to determine how well the standards were met (i.e., feasibility, propriety, and accuracy). I was enriched by this experience because I had the opportunity to utilize my knowledge and experiences as a certified evaluator to make a judgment, based on defensible criteria about sound and accountable contributions of an existing program evaluation. Since I have 13 years of experience in the IT industry as a training program manager and consultant, I also glean from my industry experiences to inform evaluations of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs.

What advice would you give to those new to the field?

I highly recommend that all new members take full advantage of the resources and networking opportunities that AEA offers at the annual AEA conference, AEA summer institute, and the AEA 365 blog. I also encourage new and existing members to seek mentorship opportunities as they become available.

These AEA 365 blog has a wealth of knowledge shared by evaluators. They can learn about new and current evaluation practices and gain access to resources that may be used in their everyday work.  Additionally, I have learned so much at AEA conferences and the Summer Evaluation Institute by attending pre-conference workshops and workshops presented during the AEA. Most recently, I attended the AEA Summer Evaluation Institute 2018 and pre-conference workshops during the Evaluation 2018 conference while serving as AEA Minority Serving Institution Fellow, which is a program led by Dr. Arthur Hernandez. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on culturally-responsive evaluation (CRE) facilitated by Rodney K. Hopson and Karen E. Kirkhart.

The Face of AEA features the association's members - sharing their background, why they joined and what some of their most memorable experiences have been. Know someone who should be interviewed? Email the AEA editor, Kristin Fields, at


TIG Spotlight: An Update from the LaRED Topical Interest Group 

By Asma Ali PhD, Grisel Robles-Schrader MPA, David Garcia PhD, and Art Hernandez PhD

LaRED TIG Group Photo.jpg

In 2019, the Latinx Research and Evaluation Discourse (LaRED) Topical Interest Group (TIG) celebrates its fifth year as an official AEA TIG. The mission of LaRED is to increase representation, engagement, and leadership of Latinx and other evaluators in the theory, research, and practice of culturally responsive evaluation. LaRED, which means “The Network” in Spanish, supports the involvement of the Latinx community and allies in the development and application of Latinx responsive evaluation theory and practice.

Each year LaRED engages in several educational activities toward this mission, including four AEA Coffee Breaks, an Annual AEA 365 Blog Week (during Hispanic Heritage Month), and collaborative cross-cultural discourse with other TIGs to support the advancement of Latinx evaluators and evaluation projects impacting Latinx communities. In 2018, the LaRED TIG built upon its historical ties with the Multiethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) TIG by conducting a joint Annual Business Meeting. The session featured a joint agenda with joint planning and team development before conducting individual TIG meetings and awards. We were thrilled to re-establish connections and develop new ideas together. We are looking forward to continued partnership and work with the MIE TIG.

One of our popular 2018 Spanish-language Coffee Break programs was “¡Feliz Año Nuevo! – Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Support in Community Engaged Work,” a presentation held on October 29, led by Grisel Marie Robles-Schrader and Josefina Serrato. Ms. Robles-Schrader is Director of Stakeholder Academic Resource Panels (SHaRPs) and Evaluation and Ms. Serrato is Manager of Consultation Requests at the Center for Community Health, Northwestern University. This Coffee Break shared strategies and capacity building tips for developing culturally and linguistically appropriate community engagement support. To check out the recording of this webinar, click here.

Our 2019 activities aim to support the advancement of culturally responsive engagement with Latinx programs, participants, and stakeholders. Please join us on May 21, for our sponsored Coffee Break session featuring Dr. Elizabeth DiLuzio from Good Shepard Services in New York, who will be presenting on culturally responsive intentions in collecting, analyzing, and reporting on race/ethnicity demographics. We are still accepting ideas for 2019 Coffee Break Webinars and plan to send an RFP for the LaRED TIG Week submissions this summer. 

We hope you will consider joining the TIG or contributing to these important TIG efforts. Click here to learn more the LaRED TIG or to contribute to upcoming activities, please contact one of the LaRED TIG Co-Chairs, listed below:

Grisel M. Robles-Schrader:
David Garcia:


Call for Articles from Topical Interest Groups (TIGs)

Submit an Article or Update for an Upcoming AEA Newsletter 

Do you lead or participate in one of AEA's Topical Interest Groups (TIGs)? We want to hear from you and spotlight your work. Send an email to the AEA editor, Kristin Fields ( to share news, updates and articles for consideration in an upcoming AEA newsletter.

Potent Presentations Initiative

Power Pauses?

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

Sheila Robinson.jpg

No doubt you’ve heard of Amy Cuddy’s famous and now contested work on “power poses” – those stances speakers take before taking the stage purported to provide a boost of pre-performance confidence.

Once you’re feeling confident, take a breath and consider using another technique for your presentation delivery that can add “drama, weight, and clarity to your message”—the pause.    

WHY Pause?

  • Pausing helps you keep the pace of your presentation, and helps your audience follow along.
  • Pauses give the audience the opportunity to process and reflect on what you’re saying.
  • Pausing can create “dramatic contrast” and lend interest to you presentation by giving the audience a chance to feel something in response to what you’re saying.
  • Adding pauses can help “reduce unnecessary fillers words like ‘ah’ and ‘um’.”
  • Pausing makes you look “thoughtful, confident and credible.” 

WHEN to Pause?

  • Use your first pause before you start speaking. Give yourself the chance to take a breath, calm your nerves, and let the audience know this won’t be one of those frenetically paced, hard-to-follow presentations where the speaker uses every minute rushing to get through the material.
  • Pause when you’re “transitioning from one idea to the next,” or when you want to want to add punctuation to your presentation.
  • Pause when you want to give the audience a chance to let something sink in, especially if you’ve just said something profound or surprising.
  • Pause to signal that “something important is coming.” When you pause, the audience will look at you in expectation and you’ll have their attention.
  • Pause before answering a question. This lets the audience member know you have listened and are considering their question. It also gives you a moment to gather your thoughts, and may help you give a better answer. 

Pausing Isn’t All Powerful

Don’t overuse or overextend pauses. Most pauses should last only a couple of seconds. Pausing too long or too often can actually backfire. The audience may lose attention and you may appear less credible and confident. 

Lastly, YOU may feel uncomfortable pausing, especially at first, but your audience will feel MORE comfortable listening to a speaker with an easier pace—one who gives them a chance to process what is said, take notes if they desire, and reflect on the message. 

For Your Pausing Pleasurep2i-power of the pause.jpg

Check out these articles for even more ways to incorporate pauses into your presentations:

Free Tools for the Taking!

Check out our p2i Presentation Tools and Guidelines page for resources to help you craft your presentation message. Use them to isolate talking points needed to convey your message, and strip away extraneous details your audience will not need (i.e., often these are details about the program itself) to understand that message.

p2i Needs Your Help!

  • Have you successfully used p2i tools or p2i principles in your presentations?
  • Do you have “before” and “after” slide examples you would be willing to share?
  • Do you have ideas for, or are you interested in writing a blog article on Potent Presentations?
  • Do you have an interest in sharing your tips for Potent Presentations through a brief video or webinar?

Please contact me at and let’s talk! I’m happy to help, offer guidance, or collaborate on any of these.  


Nominees Sought for AEA Representative to IOCE for 2020-2022

Applications Due Friday, June 7, 2019

The International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) is an alliance of regional, national, and international evaluation organizations (associations, societies, and networks) from around the world that collaborate to:  

  • Build evaluation leadership and capacity, especially in developing countries;
  • Foster the cross-fertilization of evaluation theory and practice around the world;
  • Address international challenges in evaluation; and
  • Assist the evaluation profession to take a more global approach to contributing to the identification and solution of world problems. 

AEA's representative to the IOCE works with IOCE colleagues while representing a stance in alignment with AEA's mission, vision, and values. He or she acts independently, yet brings questions or concerns back to the AEA Board. The IOCE representative submits a written report to the Board on her or his activities and relevant international evaluation issues each fall. AEA’s representative to the IOCE is also a member of the Management Group of the EvalPartners coalition. The representative will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2022. In the past, the rising representative has shadowed the incumbent for up to six months prior to taking their position.

The person serving in this position is likely a senior member of the evaluation profession, dedicated to the field, and has the breadth and depth of knowledge and practice required to speak authoritatively about evaluation issues in the international context. Individuals seeking to serve need to have a demonstrated range of relevant experience in evaluation and a commitment to representing the diversity of people and the international perspectives represented in the field and in AEA's membership. 

The IOCE Board conducts most of its business through email and monthly conference calls that alternate between IOCE business and EvalPartners business. They also meet face-to-face once a year, usually in conjunction with the conference of one of its member organizations. A virtual Annual General Meeting takes place in mid-December. The AEA representative would have her or his expenses paid to attend the annual IOCE meeting and would be expected to attend this meeting and participate regularly in IOCE meetings and conversations. 

The AEA representative to the IOCE reports to the AEA President, and must, at all times, represent the AEA and actively promote positions that further the AEA mission and ends policies, and upholding the AEA goals. The representative should regularly inform the AEA President and Executive Director on updates on the IOCE Board and issues that emerge, seeking their guidance and offering advice on how best to approach important issues and decisions. The representative is de facto a member of the International Working Group (IWG), will attend IWG meetings and will support the Executive Director to coordinate the AEA’s overall international engagement in the EvalPartners coalition, IOCE task forces, and any other initiatives that emerge. 

To learn more about the work of the IOCE, please review the IOCE website. Our current representative, Cindy Clapp-Wincek, is completing her term in December and is available for inquiries if you have specific questions regarding the position at

If you are interested in being considered as AEA's representative to the IOCE, please compile the following into a single file and submit it by Friday, June 7, 2019. 

  • A one-page statement of interest telling us why you would like to serve
  • A one-page bio reflecting your evaluation background, experiences in international contexts, and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the association
  • A one-page letter of support for your nomination from another AEA member
  • A current curriculum vita or résumé 

Please send your submission as a single file via email to the AEA office at The selection of the next IOCE representative will be made by the AEA President and President-elect, in consultation with the AEA Board. 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact AEA Executive Director Anisha Lewis at


AEA Elections: Get Out the Vote!

Voting Opens Wednesday, June 26

AEA Elections.pngLater this summer, AEA will hold an election to fill the incoming President-elect, Treasurer and Board member at-large positions. This is an opportunity to cast your vote and inform the future of AEA. 

Save the date: You may vote at any time between midnight Eastern Time, Wednesday, June 26 and 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, August 1. You are allowed to vote one time. Candidates will be announced in late May/early June.

For more information, check out our elections FAQs and reach out to Zachary Grays at Viewing requires member login. 


Catch Up on Town Halls

Understanding the AEA Governance System and More

TownHalls.pngLast week, AEA President Tessie Catsambas and Executive Director Anisha Lewis led a virtual Town Hall called “Understanding the AEA Governance System.” It was an opportunity to discuss the smart adaptation of policy-based governance to fit the AEA’s needs, and how it benefits members. To access this and all past Town Hall webinars, visit the AEA Town Hall page.

 Save the date – AEA’s next Town Hall will be Friday, June 21, on the role of the Evaluation Policy Task Force.


AEA Professional Development Corner 

On-Demand Resources Available

From the AEA Education Team 

The Digital Knowledge Hub is an online platform featuring professional development opportunities for evaluators, by evaluators. Check out prerecorded eStudies now available for purchase, including ones like eStudy 097: More Than Two Options: How to Collect LGBTQ Inclusive Data. 

Save the Date for These Upcoming Live eStudies

eStudy 099: Utilizing a Racial Equity Lens in Strategic Engagement and Evaluation 
 LaShaune Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Creighton University; Mindelyn Anderson, Ph.D., Program Director, American University
Dates: May 7, 12-1:30 pm ET; May 14, 12-1:30 pm ET; May 21, 12-1:30 pm ET; May 28, 12-1:30 pm ET

The field of evaluation is being challenged to move from the traditional role of evaluation, and its perceived role of objectivity, to a process that considers who is being evaluated and who is conducting the evaluation. Over four years ago, Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA), under the guidance of former PPA President Dr. Paul Elam and Consultant Willard Walker, worked to develop useful frameworks, tools, and approaches for evaluators to include in their toolkits to focus on the ways that race and culture influence an evaluation process. This practice resulted in the development of a framework for conducting evaluation using a racial equity lens. This webinar series focuses on the practical use of a racial equity lens when conducting evaluation. The framework argues that culture and race are important considerations when conducting an evaluation because there are both critical and substantive nuances that are missed, ignored, and/or misinterpreted when an evaluator is not aware of the culture of those being evaluated and does not adopt a racial equity approach to the work. Learn more here.

eStudy 100: Principles-Focused Evaluation
Presenters: Michael Quinn Patton, Founder and Director, Utilization-Focused Evaluation
Dates: May 3, 12-1:30 pm ET; May 9, 12-1:30 pm ET; May 23, 12-1:30pm ET; May 30, 12-1:30 pm ET

Principles-focused evaluation makes principles the focus of evaluation. Three questions are the focus of evaluation: (1) To what extent and in what ways are the principles meaningful to those meant to be guided by the principles? (2) If meaningful, to what extent and in what ways are the principles adhered to? (3) If adhered to, to what extent and in what ways do principles guide results? The webinar will present and explain the GUIDE approach to developing and evaluating principles. GUIDE calls for principles to be directive, useful, inspiring, adaptable to contexts, and evaluable. Examples of principles-focused evaluations will be shared. Learn more here.

Take a Coffee Break with AEA

Coffee Breaks are 20 minute presentations that provide insights into niche topics impacting evaluation practice and introduce new tools to evaluators. Coffee Breaks are offered exclusively to AEA members. If you are not a member, learn more here.

Take advantage of AEA's educational resources with the following May Coffee Break: 

Let's Talk About Race: Using Data as a Tool for Empowerment 
Presenters: Wheeler del Torro, Elizabeth DiLuzio 
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 2-2:30 pm (EST)

There are few topics in America as fraught with complexity as race. Are we as evaluators treating our processes around race data with the level of thoughtfulness and advocacy they require? Join us for this week’s Coffee Break, where we will unpack the complexities around race data and the questions we should be asking ourselves as we engage with it. 

Register here.

You can also access past Coffee Breaks though the Coffee Break Archive.

Events of Interest

Events for AEA Members, Suggested by AEA Members

In this section, we spotlight events that may be of interest to the AEA community, as suggested by fellow members. Please note these events are not sponsored by AEA. If you would like to suggest an upcoming event, email Kristin Fields, AEA newsletter editor, at

The Atlanta-area Evaluation Association (AaEA) Presents: A Fireside Chat with AEA President Tessie Catsambas 
Monday, June 10 | 6-8 p.m. | Hudson Grille, 120 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Join AaEA for a fireside chat with AEA President Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas. Tessie is associate director of business development and outreach for The Evaluators’ Institute and founder and CEO/CFO of EnCompass LLC, an organization that provides services in evaluation, learning, leadership and organizational development. She is an evaluation and organizational change expert with more than 30 years of experiences in planning, evaluation, quality improvement, and organizational development, and innovation. Ms. Catsambas has created and implemented an appreciative model for evaluating organization and program performance, and is co-author of the first text on this topic (Reframing Evaluation Through Appreciative Inquiry, Sage Publications, June 2006).

Learn more, register and submit questions for Tessie here

Thank You to Our Longstanding Members

 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!


Welcome to Our New Members

 AEA would like to welcome those who have recently joined the association. Click here to view a list of AEA's newest members.

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