AEA Newsletter: June 2017

Message from the President

AEA’s Executive Director Opportunity

From Kathy Newcomer, AEA President

This month I have some important news about our management! Our AEA Executive Director, Denise Roosendaal, has taken a full-time ED position with another organization beginning January 1, 2018. Denise has been a wonderful leader for us and we will miss her very much! Fortunately, she will remain in an oversight role for AEA within the current association management structure in our Washington, D.C. headquarters. She will lead the onboarding and transition of our new Executive Director, and be available as an ongoing resource regarding AEA institutional memory.

After thoughtful deliberations, the Board of Directors decided that in order to move us forward on our strategic plan, the time is right for us to transition the Executive Director position to a 100 percent capacity role for AEA. The timeline for the search for a new Executive Director will be as follows:

  • Job announcement released August
  • Resume review September/October
  • Interviews begin with candidates in October
  • Final selection by AEA in November
  • Start date of new Executive Director January 2018

Denise’s departure allows the Board and members to develop a job description that adds specific desired skills and background appropriate for AEA to the important skills necessary for association management. Perhaps you have ideas on what those specific skills and background should be.  Please feel free to email your thoughts to and include in the subject line AEA ED Search.

Leslie Goodyear, President-Elect, will serve in the capacity of overseeing a job specification committee made up of AEA members, as well as the final selection committee. Leslie will reach out to TIG leaders and other AEA stakeholders to get input for both of these committees.

Please think broadly of candidates who might be interested in applying for the Executive Director position. AEA will work with an external search firm, and so details on how to apply will be released in mid-August.  Please advise potential candidates to watch for the details on how to apply, and more specifics on the search process in August!

Change is never easy, and we are grateful to Denise for her leadership. She and the Board of Directors view this as a fantastic opportunity to select a new full-time ED who will lead us into the future!

Warmest regards,

GEDI Announcement

AEA Announces Host Institution and Directors for GEDI

From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters

Zachary Grays

The American Evaluation Association is pleased to announce the newly identified Host Institution and Directors for the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI), Dr. Rodney Hopson (George Mason University, Program Director) and Dr. Brandi Gilbert (Urban Institute, Co-Director). Entering its 15th year, the GEDI program has offered graduate students of color unduplicated experiences in evaluation learning grounded in internships at local institutions. With the host institution’s network and guidance, our scholars develop warm, energetic relationships with top evaluation practitioners and theorists and are ushered into evaluative thinking through conferences, online practicum, written deliverables and community service. The Program Director role is fundamental to achieving the present and future goals of AEA’s GEDI internship program and requires a deep investment in developing interns while consistently meeting specified program objectives. As Program Director, Dr. Hopson (with support from Dr. Gilbert), will be responsible for overseeing the curriculum, facilitating evaluation training, and serving as a mentor to the GEDI scholars.

Claremont Graduate University has been the home of the GEDI Program since 2011 under the directorship of Dr. Stewart Donaldson*, Dr. Ashaki Jackson*, Dr. Katrina Bledsoe, and Dr. John LaVelle. AEA and the current GEDI Directorship embarked on identifying a successor to the GEDI Host Institution Directorship in the fall of 2016, opening the call for applicants in early 2017, and convening a working group consisting of GEDI stakeholders including the originators of the program, the current Directors, AEA management, previous scholars, and host sites to review the five competitive submissions.

Dr. Hopson and Dr. Gilbert are no strangers to the GEDI Program. Dr. Hopson played a key lead role in the inception of the program from the Building Diversity Initiative and served as Program Director from 2003-2009 at Duquesne University. Dr. Brandi Gilbert is a graduate of the GEDI Program and a member of the Legacy cohort.  

Hopson.jpgDr. Hopson serves as Professor, Division of Educational Psychology, Research Methods, and Education Policy, College of Education and Human Development and Senior Research Fellow, Center for Education Policy and Evaluation, George Mason University. He received his Ph.D. from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia with major concentrations in educational evaluation, anthropology, and policy, and sociolinguistics.  Dr. Hopson served as the 2012 President of the American Evaluation Association.

Gilbert.jpgDr. Gilbert is a Research Associate in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. Her work has primarily focused on evaluations of a range of disaster preparedness and response, education, and public health initiatives. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from University of Colorado Boulder and was formerly an intern in the GEDI program in 2007. Dr. Gilbert has served as chair of the American Evaluation Association Disaster and Emergency Management Topical Interest Group from 2012 to 2014.

AEA would like to thank Dr. Stewart Donaldson and Dr. Ashaki Jackson for their service to the GEDI Program as Directors. Their dedication and unwavering leadership over the course of the last six years has been invaluable to the many young evaluators they have ushered into the profession through the program.

Please join us in welcoming and celebrating the new GEDI Directors, Dr. Rodney Hopson and Dr. Brandi Gilbert!

*Denotes those currently serving.


Congratulations to the 2016-17 GEDI Cohort!

From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters

When asked to sell the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program in a one-sentence elevator pitch, this year’s GEDI scholars offered the following responses:

pic 1.jpg"If you are a graduate student of color looking to gain legitimacy as an evaluator while receiving a wide range of training and access to a strong network that will give you the navigational capital to move within this field, join the GEDI program." -Fatimah Salahuddin

“If you're looking to add a level of badass to your graduate education, the GEDI programs provides you with critical skills to engage in the field of evaluation with a culturally competent lens.”- Yamelith Aguilar

On June 6, 2017, The GEDI Program graduated its 14th Cohort at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, GA. The 10 scholars who successfully completed the rigorous program requirements will join the more than 70 successful GEDI alumni who have completed the program over the years.

In the grand tradition of scholars naming their cohort upon completion of the program, our 2016/2017 GEDI cohort has chosen the name Ohana.pic 2.jpg

  • Glen Acheampong, Education Development Center
  • Yamelith Aguilar, Partners in School Innovation
  • Tiffinie Cobb, Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Stephanie Coker, TCC Group
  • Melanie Gwynn, SCATE Inc
  • Tenah Hunt, LEAD Center at the University of Wisconsin
  • Mike Mwirigi, Mental Health Center of Denver
  • Lucy Rogers, Southcentral Foundation
  • Fatimah Salahuddin, United Way of the Bay Area
  • Ammy Sena, Education Development Center

AEA congratulates this year’s GEDI cohort! We couldn't be more proud of their hard work and are expecting spectacular things from them in the future.

Learn more about the GEDI program and get to know this year's cohort here.

Potent Presentations Initiative

Potent Presentations Initiative: Introducing the New Guidelines for Handouts Tool!

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator

Repeat after me: Slides are not handouts! Slides are NOT handouts! I know, I know…it’s just so easy to print out your slides and give them to workshop participants, team members, or meeting attendees. The trouble is that when a presenter does this, one of two things tend to happen:

      1. The slides are loaded with text (because the presenter wants participants to go home with some key points to review later, a noble intent) and that compromises the effectiveness and success of the presentation. According to Nancy Duarte, “An audience can’t listen to your presentation and read detailed, text-heavy slides at the same time (not without missing key parts of your message, anyway).”

2. The slides are well designed with very little text and instead feature relevant graphics and images such that the slides themselves make little sense when separated from the presenter and presentation.

Condition #1 leaves participants with a set of key points that could have been distributed as a handout with no need for the presentation, while condition #2 leaves participants with a potentially great presentation experience but no easy way to review or remember key points (unless they were taking their own notes).

Creating a separate presentation handout mitigates both conditions.

Here’s one caveat before we continue: Not all presentations require a handout. In fact, not all presentations even require slides! And, it’s certainly feasible to have a “slideless” presentation that does include a handout. The point is to be intentional about whatever resources accompany a presentation. Our p2i Messaging tools can help with that aspect of presentation planning.

Without further ado…The newest tool in the p2i toolbox is our Guidelines for Handouts, now available on our Presentations Tools and Guidelines page. Use this tool to gain insight and perspective into WHY we use handouts, HOW to create effective handouts, WHAT should be included in a handout, and WHEN to distribute handouts – before, during, or after a presentation.

Guidelines for Handouts includes an example of what a presentation handout could look like, and also features loads of Insider Tips and links to additional content.

So, let’s make a deal. I promise to deliver an idea-packed handouts tool, and you agree to stop printing your slides, OK?


Do you have a great example of a presentation handout you’re willing to share? Please let us know at Tell us how you created and used it, and how it worked for your presentation.

Face of AEA

Meet Stephen Maack

Stephen Maack headshot.jpgName: Stephen Maack

Affiliation: REAP Change Consultants

Degrees: Ph.D., M.Phil. and B.A. in Sociocultural Anthropology

Years in the Evaluation Field: Over 15 – occasional evaluations before that

Joined AEA: November 2002

Why do you belong to AEA? I belong to AEA to keep up with developments in evaluation, to learn from workshops and colleagues, to have a place to share what I know about evaluation with colleagues, and because I have many friends in AEA now.

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

From June 2010 until late 2015/early 2016 I was subcontracted by SPEC Associates (Melanie Hwalek’s firm) to participate on a team doing the national evaluation of Lumina Foundation’s Higher Education Productivity work.  I was hired as an “evaluation expert” on a team of evaluators and higher education experts, but also established myself as a fourth “higher education expert” since I had been in institutional research for almost 14 years (7 as a Director of Institutional Research) and had worked in a public university systems headquarters, several four-year public university campuses, a private non-profit university, and a community college.  The evaluation was challenging and confusing for me at first since I was contracted part-way after the initiative had started and I had to “catch up” with developments to date.  Then the client significantly changed the directions of its initiative about a year after I started and we all had to change the evaluation to match new tactics and objectives of the client.

We were primarily using qualitative research methods to evaluate Lumina efforts that were deliberately intended to be disruptive of higher education.  Lumina had a “big goal” for 2025 that was quantitative, measured and measurable only once a year (and the metric didn’t change much during the evaluation).  Lumina’s approach was to change higher education policies at the state level and among systems and important higher education leaders but the changes had to occur at the university/college level in many universities and colleges for the initiative to succeed and the “big goal” be met.  Lumina did succeed in changing policies and initiatives at the state level, specifically in regards to performance-based funding of universities (one of its “four steps to finishing first”).  However, we were trying to figure out if and how new policies and initiatives were playing out across public four-year and two-year universities and university systems.

The evaluation was memorable since it challenged us to develop appropriate evaluation methodologies, to be fair and “speak truth to power” even when the Foundation’s “success” criteria seemed to be based at times more on public relations than what we were observing on the ground.  Also, the client’s efforts seemed unlikely to succeed based on what the higher education experts on the team knew about how higher education worked.  We had to keep our own minds open to possibilities of disruption and what the impacts of new ways of doing business might be.  We had to find ways to look for evidence and challenge one another about what we were seeing to keep ourselves honest, and to look for how much impact there really was in seven states over time.  I was tasked with closely following higher education developments in two of seven states given major grants by Lumina and the two states were very different from each other. 

The team was excellent on the evaluation side (e.g., Bob Williams of systems evaluation fame was on the team and Melanie Hwalek is nationally known as an independent evaluation consultant) and we would look for and try to apply cutting edge evaluation work as it was published.  The higher education experts were also strong (e.g., the team included two national leaders that I had known about for years during my institutional research work).  In addition to our state and national annual reports we did memos on special topics and I was asked to do deep thinking for some of those.

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

1.) While it can be fun and challenging to run an evaluation from start to finish yourself, you may learn more by being a team member or sub-contractor. 2.) Take advantage of the workshops at the annual AEA meetings – they are relatively inexpensive, often given by leaders in the profession, and generally well worth your team. 3.) Enjoy entering the field during this time period when evaluation is still relatively young as a profession and you can meet movers and shakers in the field face-to-face, shake their hands, and learn directly from them.

Get More From Your Membership

New Membership Opportunities

From Denise Roosendaal, AEA Executive Director

There are several changes AEA members should be aware of when renewing memberships after July 1.

  • Membership 2 in 1 Program: AEA is offering members an opportunity to lock-in two years of membership at one renewal time and to lock in the July 1, 2017 dues rate. Paying for two years in advance will guarantee the new July 1, 2017 rate for two years which guards against paying any future dues increase for the second year.
  • Contribution Options. Members have been asking for an opportunity to contribute to student initiatives or international award programs. Members can now contribute to these efforts on the dues renewal page for any amount desired. Contributors will be highlighted on the website. If selected by the contributor, these funds will go directly to benefit these programs specifically or can be contributed to general funds.

Student Initiatives would include the GEDI program, MSI program or future student programs. International Travel Initiatives would benefit the International Award Program, the Silent Auction at the Evaluation 2017 conference, and the International Partnership programs. 

  • Dues Increase for FY2018 - Effective July 1, 2017. The Board of Directors approved the FY2018 budget, effective July, 2017, which includes a 10 percent increase on all membership dues categories. This amount will be reflected in AEA Member dues renewal pages in the online system. The last dues increase was July 2015. While AEA Management keeps dues as low as possible, the costs of goods required to provide programs do increase over time. However, AEA continues to enjoy a low dues amount compared to other similar professional organizations in social science professions.

When you renew your AEA membership, you might consider updating your AEA member profile with your photo and other relevant contact information. Your member profile is a networking tool to make yourself known to your colleagues. To update your AEA profile, click here and click this zndfhndhb.jpg icon on the far left of the screen.

If you have questions about any of these or other membership topics, please contact any member of the AEA Membership & Operations team: Zachary Grays,, Denise Roosendaal,, Natalie DeHart,, or Milos Popvic,

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