AEA Newsletter: February 2020

Message from the Executive Director: Who is AEA?

From Anisha Lewis, AEA Executive Director

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There comes a point in every organization’s life cycle when decisions cannot be made without being able to answer the question: “Who are we as an organization?” AEA’s identity is based on our mission and values, which our members perceive to be central, distinctive, and enduring to the organization. However, our identity is also shaped by the perception of our external (non-member) constituents. How does the global evaluation community view AEA? Why do we exist? How do organizations become what they become?

This year, the AEA Board of Directors has set a strategic priority to better understand AEA’s identity from who we were intended to be as an organization, to who we have become. This process will include defining and diagnosing our identity so that we can define gaps and determine if needed change actions exist.

We will review our organization’s values and individual, member-based aspects, including AEA’s culture, climate, and identity, as well as external perceptions such as reputation and image. Identity is an important aspect of our organization that can help attract human, financial, and other resources critical for our success. Over time, and especially in times of organizational decline, important identity attributes can atrophy, leaving AEA misaligned with our current and future competitive demands.

The American Evaluation Association exists to serve many — evaluators, funders, commissioners of evaluation, and many others. Engagement, education, collaboration, networking, and advocacy are some of the key reasons that members join AEA. Through this intended work, we will have a better understanding of the needs and wants of the members we serve, so that we can develop services, products, and programs to meet their needs.

Do not miss your opportunity to share your voice by participating in AEA’s Bi-Annual Membership Survey (Spring 2020)!


Evaluation Policy TIG Update

Do you have an interest in learning more about policies that affect the field of evaluation? Are you currently serving in a role that relies or depends on evaluation policy? Are you currently working on, or thinking about, crafting an evaluation policy for your organization? Curious about the impact of evaluation policies? If so, you’ll love the Evaluation Policy TIG! This year, we are working hard to revitalize the TIG and are seeking active participation from interested AEA members. The Evaluation Policy TIG was created in 2011 and has approximately 200 members.

Think evaluation policy is only for the government sector? Well, you might be surprised! Though evaluation policy has gained significant traction in the federal government as a result of The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, recent research (from our very own Co-Chair Alana Kinarsky!) demonstrates that evaluation policies are also used within other sectors -- namely the philanthropic sector. So, come join us, irrespective of your sector! Evaluation policy offers a unique opportunity to create a clear vision for why evaluation is important within organizations, to build evaluation capacity, and to foster a culture of evaluation. What we learn from each other has the potential to make significant positive changes for how evaluation is practiced across organizations. As a result, we have a strong desire to bring together researchers, evaluators, policy writers, and organizational leaders for meaningful dialogue around the need for and impact of evaluation policies. 

Join the conversation! 

  • Become a TIG member.
  • Submit a proposal for the annual conference, due March 18, 2020
  • Help us review 2020 AEA conference proposals.
  • Become the TIG’s first Communication chair. Currently, the TIG does not have any established social media presence or ongoing email communication with TIG members. The ideal candidate would be excited about and skilled in developing a communications plan that would help us effectively communicate with members and the broader AEA community. If you are interested in becoming more involved, email Alana, the Evaluation Policy TIG Co-Chair:

Last but not least, take our TIG survey and help us understand how the Evaluation Policy TIG can best serve you. We hope you become more involved with our TIG!

Evaluation Policy TIG Leadership,

Leslie A. Fierro, Chair
Alana R. Kinarsky, Co-chair
Rhonda Williams, Program Chair
Esther Nolton, Program Co-chair


Potent Presentations Initiative

Design Inspiration for Evaluation Reports 

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

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We’re fast approaching AEA conference proposal time, so lots of us may not be not thinking much about presentation design. Let’s take a break from what we might think of as “traditional” presentations and talk a bit about reports (which, if you think about it, are also a form of presentation). As evaluators, these can be the bane of our existence, right?

The good news is that we can use a lot of the same advice we look to for slide design, data visualization, presentation handouts, and infographics for evaluation reports, too!

Look for Design Inspiration

I’ve been collecting some really interesting and well-designed examples of reports I can use for inspiration. Of course, some of these may have been created by professionally trained graphic designers, but don’t let that stop you from looking to them for ideas!

Take a close look at what attracts your attention and think about its most basic elements.

Notice how the design uses:
• Color
• Size
• Shape
• White space
• Alignment
• Orientation (direction)
• Imagery / icons
• Unity
• Balance
• Hierarchy

Great Reporting Examples

One great source of report inspiration from our own field is the Idaho Legislature Office of Performance Evaluations, headed up by AEA member Rakesh Mohan. Their reports are highly visual, well-organized, and all publicly available.

Here are some other recent report examples I’ve collected:

• Northern Ontario Health Equity Strategy
• National Home Visiting Resource Center: Data Supplement 2017 Home Visiting Yearbook
• Meyer Memorial Trust: Affordable Housing Initiative: Manufactured Home Repair Program: 2017-2019
• 2019 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being

Thanks to Stephanie Evergreen for sharing this wonderful example of a fascinating research report presented in the visual style of a magazine: Normalizing Injustice: The Dangerous Misrepresentations That Define Television’s Scripted Crime Genre.

Finally, think about applying principles of good design to other report formats as well. For inspiration on report formats, check out AEA member Kylie Hutchinson’s book, A Short Primer on Innovative Evaluation Reporting.

Resources for Reports and Handouts

Last month’s article was about (live) presentation slides vs. handouts. Some of the same resources can be used to build reports. Check out Nancy Duarte’s Slidedocs® – documents purposefully designed with presentation software. Duarte offers a beautiful free, customizable template to create your own Slidedocs.

Don’t forget to check out my Guidelines for Handouts tool free to download from our P2i site.

What else is out there? Please send me any great reports you’re aware of!

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.


Ask AEA: Submit Your Questions Today!

We Want to Hear from YOU 

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Are you new to evaluation? Do you have questions, curiosities, or concerns about the industry? Are you debating career opportunities, upcoming goals, solutions to current issues, or are just seeking some friendly advice? AEA welcomes you to participate in our new series: Ask AEA.

The only way to grow in your profession is by asking questions. And we want to provide our members with as many resources as possible. Submit your questions for the chance to be featured in AEA's monthly newsletter. Make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest issues to receive answers to your questions from professionals in the field.

 Submit your questions here


Call for Proposals for 2020 AEA International Travel Awards

The American Evaluation Association (AEA) and the International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation (ICCE) TIG are pleased to invite professional evaluators living and practicing in under resourced countries to submit applications for International Travel Awards to attend and present at the 2020 AEA Annual Conference. The conference is scheduled for October 26 – October 31, 2020 in Portland, Oregon, USA.

This year we anticipate awarding seven International Travel Awards of up to $2,000 USD each. In addition to the funds, awardees also receive waived conference registration, pre/post conference workshops, and AEA membership. The awards may be used to cover travel costs (flights, visas, etc.), food, and shared accommodations.

Please note: awards are paid out up to 15 days post-conference as a reimbursement of completed, documented expenses, and are paid only to those who are selected, attend and make the anticipated presentation.

Eligibility and How to Apply

In order to qualify for an AEA International Travel Award, all applicants must meet all criteria below:

• Have not previously participated in AEA conferences;

• Demonstrate good fluency in English, being able to make a professional presentation and sustain a discussion in English (applicants may be interviewed by one of the International and Cross-Cultural TIG Co-Chairs as part of the selection process);

• Submit a complete INDIVIDUAL application (group applications will not be accepted), including cover letter, budget, curriculum vitae or resume, and two letters of reference. No applications will be considered without all of these elements;

• Be a citizen of, and both reside and practice evaluation in, an under resourced country for at least two years (US citizens or those with dual citizenship between the US and a second country are not eligible. For a list of countries considered to be under resourced, click here);

• Propose to present at the Evaluation 2020 conference and have at least one proposal accepted. Applicants must submit one of the following approved presentation types: Panel, Paper, Multi-paper, Roundtable, or Think Tank. Submissions that do not follow the approved formats will not be considered for these awards. If a proposal is submitted in an approved session format, but is accepted to present as a format outside of the approved list, then the submitter is not eligible for these awards.

Funds for the International Travel Awards are raised through generous donations to the annual AEA Silent Auction and the contributions of workshop speakers who donate their honoraria.

Visit AEA online for more information about the International Travel Awards and submit your application material today!

Questions? Need help preparing your application materials? Please contact Lisa Frantzen for more information.


Evaluation 2020: Submit Your Proposal, Shine Your Light

Through this year’s theme, "How Will You Shine Your Light," we are asking proposal submitters to think about her/his/their expression of light through their evaluation practice. 

Ask yourself, “How am I shining my light?” in my work. Is it through making sure all stakeholder voices are included, particularly those who are often in the dark? Is it through shining light on the historical imperative associated with certain evaluation methods/practices? Is it through illuminating new levels of rigor that can be associated with many evaluation methods/practices? Is it by shining the light on the pathway to evaluation for new professionals? Is it by creating new evaluation theories, methods, or practices? Pose your own questions around how you are shining your light in evaluation practice. Learn more about the Evaluation 2020 theme from President Aimee White.  

What We Are Looking For 

We are looking for a dynamic variety of presentations to meet the diverse needs of the AEA members. Presentation types include panel discussions, expert lectures, roundtables, skill building workshops, ignite sessions, birds of a feather gatherings, and more.

We encourage you to think creatively about your presentations, their design, and format to provide attendees with the best experience. Please choose the presentation type that best fits your material and utilizes your content in the greatest way. Skill-building workshops, panel discussions, demonstrations, and expert lectures continue to be the most popular session types at the annual conference. 

AEA's Guiding Principles reflect the core values of AEA and are intended as a guide to the professional ethical conduct of evaluators. Keep these principles in mind when developing your proposals. When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to choose principles that are related to your topic. Learn more about the AEA Guiding Principles.

DEADLINE: Proposal submissions must be received by 11:59 PM ET March 18, 2020.

Submitters must log in to the AEA website to submit a proposal. Each submitter must either log in to or create a guest account to submit a proposal.


2020 AEA Awards Coming Soon

AEA offers awards in eight distinct areas to recognize truly exemplary performance, outstanding contributions to evaluation theory, methodology and practice, and dedication to furthering the disciplines of evaluation and the association. AEA will begin accepting awards packets on March 18, 2020 with packets due on May 4, 2020 at 11:59 PM ET. Learn more about the AEA Awards here.

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

Available with AEA's Discounted Price 

Measures for Clinical Practice and Research edited by Joel Fischer, Kevin Corcornam and David W. Springer is the definitive reference volume on assessment measures for both practice and research in clinical mental health. This new edition includes hundreds of standardized measures, including new instrucuments for measuring children’s clinical conditions, new measures for couples and families and target searches for instruments in health care  conditions, persionality disorders and addictions.  

Volume 1: Couples, Families, and Children (9780190655792): $89.95

Volume 2: Adults (9780190655808): $99.95

Two volume set (9780190655815) $160.00

Just as a reminder—and this is of course something you should feel free to promote with your members—all AEA members can receive a 20% discount when they order through the website using the discount code AEA20.

    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. See upcoming sessions below: 


    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


    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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