AEA Newsletter: December 2019

Happy Holidays from AEA: Thank You!

AEA would like to take a moment to thank all of our dedicated members and wish you a happy holiday. Our community would not be the same without your continued support. Thank you for making 2019 a great year! We look forward to all that 2020 will bring!


Message from the President: Farewell 

From Tessie Catsambas, AEA President 

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Dear AEA Colleagues,

As 2019 comes to a close, we look back over a year of good, hard work by the whole AEA community. We have appreciated using the AEA’s updated Guiding Principles and our Evaluation Competencies this year. We have worked to support the implementation of the 2018 Evidence Act, and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CDC’s evaluation framework — an excellent example of a federal agency using evaluation to inform its policies and programs. We deepened our partnerships with the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA), the AEA Affiliates, the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES), and associations and societies globally. Our members have served in the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and the EvalPartners’ networks. Our two journals —the American Journal of Evaluation and the New Directions in Evaluation Journal — have been read and used by evaluators throughout the United States, and around the world. Our members have published excellent new books continuing to deepen evaluation scholarship and practice. And, as always, our annual peak moment was our wonderful conference in Minneapolis. It has been a good year.

As I step down, I am grateful to our wonderful board members who have continually strived for member engagement and the transparency of board conversations, and our talented and caring AEA staff under the leadership of AEA Executive Director Anisha Lewis. I am also in the process of transitioning responsibilities to the capable hands of 2020 President Aimee White.

It has been an honor to serve all of you — members, volunteers, and leaders of AEA.

With warm wishes for a happy holiday season for you and your families,

Tessie Catsambas
AEA President


Report from the AEA Board

From Leslie Goodyear, AEA Past President


Hello AEA! The AEA Board is back from a great meeting at the AEA Annual Conference in Minneapolis. In addition to our time together as a board, we loved the chance to talk with members in person and learn what’s important to you, our members, and your work. Again, in an effort to promote transparency and member engagement, here are some updates from our discussions and deliberations:

Join us in welcoming our new AEA Board members! Welcome Libby Smith, Karen Jackson, and Tom Kelly - President-elect Thomas Grayson, and Treasurer Felicia Bohanon! They participated in training before the meeting and jumped right in to contribute to the work of the board.

Many thanks to our outgoing board members, Rita Fierro, Veronica Olazabal, and Deborah Rugg, and to our outgoing treasurer, Susan Tucker. Their contributions to the association have been significant and appreciated!

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In our board meeting, we focused our attention on planning our board governance agenda for the coming year, honing our skills in effective governance, receiving budget and operations updates, and engaging in further training and conversations about equity and how we can move forward to develop measures for equity and inclusion for the association’s work. 

We heard from Sheila Robinson and received an update from the Awards Working Group and an overview of her work curating the AEA365 blog content. In the coming year, the board will consider how the current constellation of awards serves the association, and whether there is a need for new nomination procedures or possible new award categories. Stay tuned for ways to contribute your ideas.

Todd Franke, co-editor of New Directions for Evaluation, one of AEA’s signature journals, presented on the status of the journal and the vision he and co-editor Leslie Fierro have for its future. Updates like these help to inform the board about key AEA offerings, and how these are serving the needs of the members.

During the meeting, Eric Barela and I dropped in on the Local Affiliate Collaborative meeting to say hello and hear about the work of the affiliates. We brought an update to the board, along with feedback from my latest visit to the Indiana Evaluation Association. Board members discussed the importance of connecting with local affiliates as a way to meet more members and hear about their “evaluation lives.” Look for board members to be out and about more. Say hello when you run into them!

Last but not least, as I roll off the board and return to life post-presidency, I have a few reflections to share. Serving as the president of AEA is an honor and a privilege. It’s also a ton of work. It’s not for the faint of heart or thin skinned. AEA members are passionate, opinionated, active, and love to share recommendations for nearly everything (of course! We’re evaluators!). As food for thought, I offer two suggestions and two reflections:

Suggestions First:

  • We are an association of professional colleagues and friends. This means we may not all agree on everything (or even anything!). Diversity in opinion, political stance, methodological approach, beliefs, and perspectives helps all of us learn and grow as professionals. Ideas and issues raised in conference sessions, EvalTalk, Twitter, LinkedIn or even just in hallway conversations make for great conversation and exploration.
  • To bring something to AEA’s attention so that action can be taken, direct emails, phone calls, or conversations are best. And, as I’ve said before, please be constructive and polite; our staff are humans after all and like to be treated with respect!

Reflections Next:

  • In my three years on the board (this time), my proudest accomplishment was the hiring process that brought us our full-time executive director, Anisha Lewis. This included alignment of the process with our mission/vision/values and policies, rounds of member input on a job description, close coordination with our association management company in reviewing applications, member representation on the interview committee, and a choice of three amazing candidates who all embodied our association values. Anisha was, of course, the strongest candidate, and as she comes into her second anniversary in February, she has brought stability (financial and staffing), innovation, and a sense of humor and humility to her role. Our staff team is stronger than ever!
  • AEA has come a long way, and we’re in a great position.
    • AEA’s Board is hitting their stride with effective governance, living their responsibilities to see “up and out” to the future, with member engagement informing all they do. And they’re getting better and better at letting Anisha and the staff run the day-to-day of AEA.
    • We are financially sound – we can have important conversations about what we want to do with our funds, rather than worry about whether we have them. With a full-time executive director, we can focus on innovative approaches to raising funds to serve our members even better.
    • Over the time I’ve been a member, our membership profile has changed. We now have the opportunity to think together about who we are, what we do, what we believe, and who we can influence. We have new guiding principles to inform ethical practice. We have evaluator competencies to help us guide our professional development. Our Evaluation Policy Task Force is tapped into the federal policy landscape in a deep and influential way. TIGs and Local Affiliates are thriving and growing, and we’re poised to take a moment to consider their critical role within the association. And most importantly, you, our members are active and vocal about how AEA can support your work and your professional development.

 As we do our business, we maintain a strong commitment to you, our members. Members are “IN” the board meeting — we talk a lot about who our members are and care about member needs. We want to be good stewards of your trust.

So, what do you think? What kind of information would you like to hear from the AEA Board? We’ll be using the newsletter to communicate ideas, questions, and information on a regular basis.

And, don’t forget: your main point of contact for all things AEA is the AEA staff. When you email, one of the fabulous team members will get back to you asap.

In case you were wondering, the AEA Past President is, by policy, the AEA Board Secretary. In this role, I’ve been keeping track of board activities and sharing updates with members.

So, on behalf of the AEA Board, yours in service,

Leslie Goodyear, AEA Past President


Potent Presentations Initiative

Presentation Trends 2020

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

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Conference presenters aren’t usually interested in the hot, new graphic design trends of the day. We’re generally more interested in strategies that can help us convey clear messages and deliver them in an engaging, compelling way. Think of it this way: I’m not wearing clothes currently showing on the runways of Paris and Milan, but the styles I’ve purchased from my local department stores are undoubtedly influenced by them. In the same way, keeping up with presentation industry movers and shakers can help us know what foundational skills we might want to brush up on and some easy-to-implement strategies for making presentations shine in our own contexts. 

Look for Inspiration

I like to look for trends in graphic design — articles like this one, “Graphic Design Trends 2020: Breaking the Rules" with examples of gorgeous, sophisticated design I can’t achieve at my skill level, but that always offer a few nuggets of wisdom to inform my own presentation design. For example, this and other articles identify current trends such as choosing bold fonts and earthy or “vintage” looking colors. I can do that!

While you may or may not purchase pre-made PPT templates for your presentations, it’s great to look at a few for inspiration as well, like ones on this site: "The Best New Presentation Templates of 2020 (PowerPoint PPTs & More)." And check out the cool design trends in this infographic

Keep an Inspiration File

I have a “PPT inspiration” file with screen shots of PowerPoint slides or templates I like. I also get inspiration from product packaging, posters, flyers, magazine ads, and even movie credits! Whenever I see a design idea I like and think I may use for a future presentation, I grab a photo or screenshot and paste it on a slide in my file. I then use the notes section of each slide to document the source, and a few words about what appeals to me about it. I’m often looking at particular design elements like font choices, text placement, color choices, shapes, etc.

Keep Practicing with Timeless Style

Like t-shirts, blazers, jeans, and sneakers, some things never seem to go out of style. In presentations, that would be minimalism. You probably know this one, as it’s been the number one guideline in slide design for more than a decade and now considered less a trend and more a requirement for presentations. Slides should reflect one basic idea or thought, and contain little (if any) text. They should include visual elements such as photos, graphics, icons, illustrations, charts/graphs, or diagrams. Minimalism is de rigueur for other graphic elements as well, which means keeping color schemes and font choices simple as well.  p2i Image.jpg

With each presentation I create, I stick to this rule and continue to hone my skills creating simple slide designs, identifying color schemes and font pairings that work well, using basic animations, and sometimes even creating my own icons. Of course, these are all in service to my main goal — delivering a strong and compelling message to my audience.

I’d love to know where you find your presentation inspiration. Feel free to write and share!


We need 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.


The Face of AEA

Featuring Roberta Maldonado Franzen 

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Name: Roberta Maldonado Franzen

Degrees: Pursuing a PhD in Leadership Communication at Kansas State University, Master’s in Administration from Central Michigan University, Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution from Kansas State University, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Kansas State University.

Joined AEA: 2019

 Why do you belong to AEA?

I joined the organization to create networks with experienced professionals and gain access to resources and best practices. I appreciate the opportunity to join a topical interest group and connect with leaders in the field. The on-demand webinars have been so useful and has served as introductions to many topics, such as data visualization.

What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of?

I recently conducted a data walk with a community of practice and enjoyed their enthusiasm throughout the process. They were so appreciative to a new method of evaluating the program they co-created. They listened to the feedback and were solution-focused. It was very refreshing.

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

Attend the AEA National Conference as soon as your schedule permits. I attended the 2019 conference and learned lots of new things to add to my toolbox. I really enjoyed the sessions from the following topical interest groups: data visualization and reporting, organizational learning and evaluation capacity building, and leadership and organizational performance. I met people who were welcoming and provided great insight to the field. It was a great experience to network and learn from other leaders in practice.


The Future of Feminism Needs YOU

An Open Call for Advisory Group Members 

We are in search of volunteers to comprise an Advisory Group that will oversee the development of a New Directions for Evaluation issue proposal titled, “Intersectionality: The Future of Feminist Evaluation.”

Who We Seek:

    • Individuals with a passion for feminism!
    • Individuals with intersectional identities (race, age, class, ability, sexual orientation, education, religions, etc...)
    • Individuals with a commitment to moving past diversity, inclusion, and equity to a space where we are deconstructing systems of oppression
    • Individuals with an interest in issues of intersectionality
    • Individuals who are eager to actively engage in consensus building
    • Individuals with a willingness to be flexible, dynamic, and co-create an emergent proposal development process.
    • Individuals with skills in facilitating reflective practice for the group (this is a *BONUS*)
  • ALL are welcome to join; no interested parties will be turned away

The Thematic Approach for the Issue: Previous group discussions had identified the following thematic approach to the NDE edition (this approach is intentionally broad and will be expanded upon via Advisory Group consensus): The proposed NDE edition is dedicated to both reflections and explorations of intersectionality as a key dimension in the advancement of feminist evaluation (FE) theory, practice, and application in evaluation. It builds on the 2002 NDE's issue dedicated to FE and positions FE’s search for relevance in the complexity embedded evaluation landscape. Enabling factors and challenges are revisited and re-envisioned to address mainstreaming’s elusiveness.

Anticipated Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Availability for monthly video calls
  • Engagement in email correspondences during key, strategic junctures in proposal development 
  • Assistance selecting additional co-editorial team members
  • Monitor editorial team progress
  • Offer accountability to ensure the group’s values are upheld
  • Helping to craft a dynamic process for proposal development 
  • Uphold standards of transparency, inclusion, and equity
  • Engagement in, and facilitating of, group reflective practice activities

Anticipated Short-Term Timeline (this will be a multi-year process with fluctuating workflows)

  • Orientation call the first week of February 2020
  • Oversee the creation of an open call for proposal abstracts in late February 2020
  • Assistance reviewing proposal abstracts in March 2020
  • Assistance reviewing submitted NDE chapters in Winter 2020
  • Eventual issue publication (and associated tasks) will likely take place in mid 2021

If interested, please complete this link by Wednesday, January 22, 2020. Additionally please reach out to Libby Smith (, Jane Whynot (, or Kathleen Doll ( if you have questions, comments, or further ideas!


Submit a Proposal for the 2020 Summer Evaluation Institute 

If you bring value to your organization, have a success story to share, or would like to discuss a relevant topic that impacts your role as an evaluator, AEA wants to hear from you! We are now accepting workshop proposal submissions for the 2020 Summer Evaluation Institute, taking place June 7 – 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The Summer Evaluation Institute features interactive workshops with a focus on the diverse issues and trends unique to evaluation professionals. A small Summer Evaluation Institute working group will choose a variety of high-caliber proposals to be presented during five rotations of half-day workshops.

If you are...

  • An experienced facilitator who teaches topics of interest to evaluators, applied researchers, grantmakers, foundation program officers, nonprofit administrators, and social science students,
  • Someone who can effectively facilitate workshops for groups of 60+ attendees, or,
  • An engaging, dynamic speaker with creative ideas

...submit your proposal today! 

Share you best practices and expertise! The deadline to submit a proposal is Monday, January 6, 2020 by 11:59 PM ET.


Minority Serving Institution Fellowship

Call for Applicants

Are you a faculty member from a group traditionally under-represented in the applied social sciences, public health or education working at a Minority Serving Institution*? Are you looking for an opportunity to participate in professional development opportunities, expand your professional network, and improve your knowledge and understanding of topics related to evaluation, assessment, and applied research?

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is now seeking applications from those interested in participating in the Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) Faculty Initiative. This initiative will bring a cohort of faculty from MSIs together throughout the 2019-2020 academic year and into the fall of 2020 to participate in webinars, the AEA Summer Evaluation Workshop Series, and the AEA annual conference.

Program Purpose: The overall purpose of the initiative is to increase the participation of evaluators and academics from underrepresented groups in the profession of evaluation and in the American Evaluation Association. The MSI Faculty Initiative identifies this group of potential and practicing evaluators by drawing from faculty at MSIs. The program focuses on:

  • Broadening their understanding of evaluation as a profession; and
  • Strengthening their knowledge of evaluation theory and methods through workshops, webinars, mentoring and experiential projects.

Program Goals: The goals of the program are to help faculty at MSIs to:

1. Enhance the evaluation activities and/or curriculum in their departments or universities

2. Orient students to evaluation as a career/profession

3. Disseminate information about evaluation and AEA to colleagues

4. Expand their knowledge of evaluation; and

5. Encourage collaborative writing projects that reflect cross-disciplinary ideals


To learn more about program eligibility and components, click here. All materials must be received by Zachary Grays at the AEA offices on or before January 10, 2020. Click here to apply for this year's MSI Fellowship.

Want to learn more about the MSI Fellowship? Contact MSI Coordinator Art Hernandez via

* A minority serving institution is a federally recognized Title IV institution of higher education that serves minority populations

Submit your application now! 

Oxford's Most Recent Evaluation, Research, and Nonprofit Publications

Available with AEA's Discounted Price 

AEA wants to ensure members are aware of Oxford’s most recent evaluation, research, and nonprofit publications that are all available at the discounted price with the AEA’s code:

AEA members receive 20% off on publications from our publishing partners: Corwin Press, Jossey Bass, Lyceum, SAGE, and Wiley when ordering directly from the publisher. AEA members also receive 25% and free shipping using promotional code: AFAEA with Guilford. Please join us in thanking these publishers for their ongoing support of the association and the field, and be sure to stop by their tables at the annual conference.

Limitations: Each publisher uses a slightly different process and you must use the process specified in the link below in order to access your discount - discounts will not be applied retroactively. In all cases, the discount applies to the price of the item itself and may not be applied towards shipping or taxes or added to other discounts.

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


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. See eStudies available for purchase like the ones below. 


AEA eStudies: Something for Everyone

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. Take a look at some sessions perfect for young evaluators and students. Not a beginner? We've rounded up some of our most popular eStudies you don't want to miss! 

Student eStudies:

Popular eStudies:



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.
You can also access past Coffee Breaks though the Digital Knowledge Hub - Coffee Breaks.

Events of Interest

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 Cady Stokes, AEA newsletter editor, at

Canadian Evaluation Society Annual Conference

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The Canadian Evaluation Society cordially invites you to participate as a presenter, attendee, sponsor, or exhibitor in its 2020 annual conference. The 2020 CES conference will explore the theme of "Evaluation use: achieving our potential?" and will be hosted in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), June 13-17, 2020.



Submit a Topical Interest Group (TIG) Update

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, Cady Stokes ( to share news, updates and articles for consideration in an upcoming AEA newsletter.

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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