AEA Newsletter: March 2020

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An Energetic Antidote: The Power of Love 

From Aimee White, AEA President 

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Hello AEA members! Welcome to spring! I am certain you are all being affected by the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus and likely have travel and conference plans altered. I wish to express my deepest sympathies to anyone who has been directly affected. I found this Scientific American opinion piece on virus preparation especially encouraging because it is levelheaded and reasonable. Also, this TEDxSMU talk worthwhile to share. While I understand, support, and encourage everyone to react properly and prepare, I want to caution folks from diving directly into fear.

In the spirit of utilizing data to inform our decisions, I want to share an oldie but goodie about what fear can do to our systems. Finally, in the spirit of our year’s conference theme—the use of light and energy—I wish to turn us to a natural energetic antidote that we all carry to illness, namely, love. With a nod to our psychology colleagues, I send you here: The Power of Love. I encourage you all to please look past the current fear and anxiety amongst us and invest in the love of your friendships, interpersonal relationships, and even work colleagues who make you laugh or smile. Please believe with me that we will all gather with one another in Portland to celebrate the power of our evaluation practice. I’m hopeful many of you have submitted proposals about how you are shining your unique light through evaluation practice for the conference!

In my continued effort to create transparency and broad member engagement in AEA leadership, I want to let all of you know that it is nearing time to think about running for an AEA leadership position! The nomination and election processes are in our near future! In case you didn’t know, you need not have served in other leadership position to run for the AEA Board. Yes, TIG leadership will likely have helped you know a bit more about the organization, but if you have a deep desire to serve, please consider nominating yourself or someone else.

As a board member-at-large, you are elected to represent all AEA members. If you feel connected to a broad membership base, regardless of your previous leadership experience, I encourage you to nominate yourself. For those of you wishing to become president, it does help to have had board level experience to ground you in how the AEA Board works. For all of you interested, I encourage you to look into the AEA Policy Governance, as we operate under this model. There will be a Town Hall on nominations and elections in April, and we will be offering some other forums for those interested in that level of service. For those of you who are new and might be interested in leadership later in your membership, look for the sessions at the Eval 2020 conference. We offer different sessions for those wanting to learn about all leadership opportunities within AEA.  Feel free to reach out to our staff or board for more information.

In closing, thank you all for your continued commitment to creating a better world through the practice of evaluation. Stay safe, focus on love, and wash your hands! Consider this for a new greeting practice in order to keep us all safe: Jazz Hands


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'Tis the Season to Revisit Our P2i Tools & Guidelines

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

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Here we are at the beginning of April. Our AEA conference proposals are submitted, being sorted to Topical Interest Group (TIG) leaders, and getting ready to be distributed to reviewers. I think about the AEA fall conference in seasons:

  • January – March: Proposal season. We work to prepare our proposals in time for the deadline.
  • April – July: Waiting season. We anxiously await our acceptance letters.
  • July – October/November: Presentation season. We furiously work to prepare our presentations in time for the conference.
  • November – January: Reflection and Implementation season. We return from the annual conference excited about new learning and consider how to put it into practice.

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On the “p2i HOME page, there’s a brief introduction to p2i, and the introduction of our three key components – Message, Design, and Delivery. Webinars for each component provide in-depth learning and reference some of the resources found on the “PRESENTATION TOOLS & GUIDELINES page.

All of our downloadable resources live on the “PRESENTATION TOOLS & GUIDELINES page. The page is organized with checklists and worksheets on top, then resources aligned to the p2i components – message, design, and delivery – followed by resources for audience engagement.

As you browse this page, you’ll find links to additional content and pages along with the tools. Just look for tool titles that are links, as in this example:

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Notice that “Slide Design Guidelines” is a link. This link will take you to another page of content on slide design. Another key feature of the site is that the authors who contributed the content are recognized and their names linked to their websites or LinkedIn profiles.

Given the amount of content we have on poster design, along with the fact that posters are the largest category of presentations at our annual conference, “POSTER PRESENTATIONS warrants its own page.


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Here, you’ll find a page with specific guidelines for designing a conference poster, along with two additional navigation buttons. One takes you to even more content on Research Poster Design, while the other points to a selection of Award Winning Posters, not only from recent AEA conferences, but also from other organizations. Each poster image is accompanied by a brief explanation of what makes it a winner.

Don’t forget to visit the “ABOUT US page to learn about the folks who have contributed to making p2i what it is!

Finally, we have a p2i Twitter hashtag: #aeap2i. Please feel free to tweet about the p2i website and resources using this tag. Maybe you’ve created something using one of the resources? Please share it with us! Follow the hashtag #aeap2i by clicking on the top button found on the p2i HOME page, and while you’re at it, why not follow the association itself (@aeaweb) as well!

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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.


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Featuring Melissa Rivera

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Name: Melissa Rivera

Affiliation: Habitat for Humanity International

Degrees: MA in Communication Research from the University of Central Florida and working toward the Certificate in Advanced Evaluation Practices through The Evaluators’ Institute.

Years in the Evaluation Field: 17 years

Joined AEA: 2009

Why do you belong to AEA?

I joined AEA for the variety of learning offerings, the quality and quantity of the learning platforms, the amazing evaluation leaders who continue to remind me of the importance of this work, the opportunity to share learnings and challenges acquired over the years, the variety of topical interest groups, and the relentless support received by many.

Why do you choose to work in the field of evaluation?

In 2005, I led an employee engagement effort where I facilitated focus groups along with questionnaires across several departments. Simultaneously, the corporation was implementing a productivity enhancement program. I recall during the focus groups, individuals inquired if their jobs were going to be outsourced. I informed them that they were not, which was based on the information that was provided to me. Following the focus group and survey analysis, I requested that the executive leaders supply the summary to the employees and learned they had, in fact, intended to outsource their functions. I remember questioning my processes and explored what could I have done differently. I shared this challenge with a peer who recommended I participate in the AEA conference. I remember my first experience attending the AEA conference. I was astounded by the amount of information provided and inspired by the amount of tools and resources I received. I recall listening to similar expressed evaluation challenges and receiving recommended approaches. Over the years, I continue to learn that the evaluation field inspires innovation and growth. I continue to hold deeply to our principles, use them to guide my work, and am deeply appreciative for the responsiveness to the evolving nature of our work.

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

The most memorable and meaningful evaluations have been related to altering systems that have historically been barriers to inclusivity. In a recent evaluation, I had the opportunity to evaluate civic engagement. I learned neighborhood systems were barriers that prevented individuals to access and provided input into programs or strategies that could positively impact their lives. Results of these efforts led to agencies altering their systems, and meeting spaces to create space for dialogue and co-creating programs or strategies based on beneficiaries input. Over time, these adjustments continue to be successful strategies that have led to innovation and successful programs that address local challenges.

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

Remain plugged into the AEA network and the variety of resources and networks that foster a continuous learning environment. Over the years, I continue to learn so much from many evaluation mentors across several disciplines. I love the spirit of camaraderie and have greatly appreciated the opportunity to call evaluators for guidance or insight on challenging methods. It is through these collaborations that I remain inspired and learn that all questions will help our field continue to grow.


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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


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AEA Board Update: Annual Agenda

From Tessie Tzavaras Catsambas, AEA Board Secretary and Immediate Past President

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Dear AEA Members,

Happy 2020! The AEA Board met in January in Washington, DC, and had a productive meeting. Together, we developed our annual agenda setting for the work of the board in 2020. We discussed how best to position the board to listen to members and increase member engagement on the strategic issues the board considers. Topics on our annual agenda include:

  • Strengthening member engagement
  • Trends in the field and business of evaluation that we need to consider as we look at our evolving membership
  • AEA’s positioning in the evaluation space—in the United States and internationally
  • Building equity and inclusion in the work of the board and the association
  • Living and promoting our board policies
  • Monitoring how AEA is doing in key areas of our organizational life
  • Planning of the budget and addressing expenses
  • Fundraising to enable us to serve members in the best way we can

Finally, the board has embarked on discussions about the AEA brand today and in the future, and hopes to engage members in conversations about this important issue.

We are also being intentional about our dialogue with members in these topics. In addition to working groups and task forces, board members are considering including questions in the member survey coming out later this year, Town Halls, and possibly adding a few sessions at our annual conference.

Another wonderful year ahead for AEA!

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

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

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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

    Call for Nominations: AEA Board of Directors 

    Show your commitment to the value of the American Evaluation Association and help to shape its future! Nominations for the AEA Board of Directors are now being accepted! You may nominate yourself or a committed yourself or a committed AEA colleague. This year, we will elect three board members-at-large and a president-elect. Nominating candidates for office is a valuable service to the association. Your thoughtful participation in this process is greatly appreciated. 
    Learn more about the AEA Board Nominations here.

    2020 AEA Awards Now Open!

    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. The deadline to submit your awards packets is May 4, 2020 at 11:59 PM ET.

    Learn more about the AEA Awards here.

    Member Suggested Events 

    In this section, we spotlight events of interest to the AEA community, 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


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    AEA Professional Development Corner 

    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. 

    Advance Your Evaluation Learning with AEA 

    While many of us are working from home the next few weeks, we wanted to remind you that AEA membership provides several exclusive resources to expand your knowledge in the comfort of your own home. Discover the online resources that are available:


    Upcoming Live E-Learning Opportunities

    March 24: Coffee Break: Pathways to AEA Leadership

    April 15: eStudy: Becoming a Trauma-Informed Evaluator

    April 21: eStudy: Social Network Analysis for Beginners

    May 4: eStudy: Introduction to Independent Consulting

    June 4: eStudy: Introduction to R

    Learn more about these events.


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    Register Now for AEA Upcoming Town Halls




    AEA Leadership: Time for Nominations

    When: 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 23, 2020

    In an effort to encourage broad engagement in AEA leadership your AEA staff and current leadership team are holding a Town Hall. We will be spotlighting the Nominations process and have representation from the Nominations Working Group to support the conversation. We are excited to launch into our 2020 nominations and elections processes and invite anyone who is interested to join us! This is the space to learn and ask questions, no previous leadership experience in AEA is necessary. Register now. 


    Using the Revised AEA Guiding Principles in Your Practice 

    When: 2 p.m. ET on Friday, May 8, 2020

    The Guiding Principles, which support our ethical decision making as evaluators, were revised and approved by the membership in 2018. The Guiding Principles Working Group is tasked with assisting members to use these Principles in their practice. Toward that end, submissions for the AEA conference will need to reference the Guiding Principles. This town hall will review the major changes to the Guiding Principles made in 2018, and engage town hall participants in discussing ways the Principles can be incorporated in the evaluation practice from planning an evaluation, carrying it out, and supporting the use of its findings. Register now.

    AEA eStudies

    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.
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    AEA 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

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    Submit a Topical Interest Group (TIG) Update

    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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