AEA Newsletter: September 2020

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Eval20 Virtual Experience!

From Aimee White, AEA President 

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Hello AEA members! I hope this finds you well and safe. I know there is no such thing as “normal” anymore, but I do hope you are finding a way to “normalize” these new life patterns we are all in. I am hopeful that you have all received information regarding Eval20 the Virtual Experience, here is the link to register if you have not: Eval20 Information. The AEA staff and leadership have been working tirelessly to bring you what we hope is a rewarding virtual experience with your AEA colleagues; and hopefully many new colleagues from other fields around the world! You will have access to all 120 sessions for up to three months after the week of the experience. This means you don’t have to worry about missing any of the sessions! We are very excited about our keynote speakers and the quality of the sessions selected for presentations. View the schedule here.

I want to share a bit of reasoning behind our need to keep registration fees at a comparable rate to our in-person experience, as the board and staff have received inquiries regarding this. We are an organization that relies heavily on the income from our annual conference to cover the costs of the experience. About four years ago, it began costing inordinately more in our conference experience than we were charging for registration. A cost analysis was performed by the executive director, a former FAB chair, and former AEA Treasurer. This determined that if we were to “breakeven” with our conference registration fees, we should be charging nearly $800 per person. We are an organization that values accessibility and thus, chose to continue charging a minimal rate for conferences, even though our expenses were increasing annually. We were also actively trying to grow our fund development efforts to offset these costs.

When it became obvious that our only option for having a gathering this year would be a virtual platform, we dove into planning. It would, on the surface, seem that a virtual experience could potentially be less expensive than the in-person event. And of course, in many ways it is (no cost for travel, hotel, convention center, etc.). However, the same amount of staff time is needed to pull off a conference regardless of in-person or virtual. In fact, our staff team can check on many conference sessions in an hour during in-person gatherings, but must put in multiple hours of time for a single virtual session. This means that AEA is experiencing the same “cost” internally to pull off this conference as they would an in-person event. We have the cost of the platform, which is minimal, to consider as well. We have also experienced a great deal of loss in finding sponsors and exhibitors, as the virtual environment is unknown territory for return on investment and many organizations are tightening their own financial belts in these precarious times. If you happen to know any who may be interested in helping out, here is the prospectus for supporting the virtual experience. We are eager to receive any support we can this year and appreciate the assistance.

I know many have referenced other organizations that are not charging fees for virtual experiences or reducing the fees, but AEA is simply not built on a financial model that allows us to do this. We also understand that many have taken financial hits during this time (we on the board have experienced this as well) and know some may not be able to attend this year. We are deeply saddened by this and hope we can all be together again soon, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid. These are challenging times for us all.

One thing we have learned on the board this year is that we need to communicate better with membership not only our decisions, but the rationale behind them. I hope that his note is received with that spirit. We, your volunteer board leadership, are deeply committed to AEA and its future success. We are living the same chaotic experiences as our members and doing our very best to serve you all. We also felt strongly that the voice of evaluation be heard during this year, so canceling the conference was not desired. I hope that if you are able, you will consider registering for, and virtually attending the conference this year; take advantage of access to all the sessions, keynotes, and Presidential Strands for three months after.

Thank you for your membership and continued commitment to serve with us during these tumultuous times. I hope to “see” many of you online in October!


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The Future of Presentations in a Virtual World — A Presentation Guild Whitepaper

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

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I’ve just finished up an evaluation report for a statewide organization that offered numerous online courses of varying lengths over a period of several months. Having been steeped in the data for weeks now, I have a good handle on what people want in their online courses; these can translate to online presentations and meetings as well.

 Do you think we’ll soon see a return to in-person presentations, or is virtual the way of the future? Are there new and different ways to engage presentation audiences online? Should you try to emulate the pros with a slick, highly polished presentation, or just hang back and “be yourself?”

If you’re a real presentation nerd like me, you’ve probably heard of the Presentation Guild, a global association of presentation designers, public speakers, and others pretty much obsessed with any aspect of presentations.

A group of global presentation design experts, many of them associated with the Guild, met in Spring 2020 at the height of the pandemic to discuss and share how working from home on presentations, designing presentations specifically for online delivery, and considering the future of presentations has pushed their thinking. These industry experts assembled a concise collection of strategies for presentation designers in any field focused on virtual presenting and evolving trends in presentation design.

The group included experts on all aspects of presentations, including slide design, storytelling, webinars, tech tools, and even AI. You may have heard of some of them, including:

  • Nancy Duarte, Founder and CEO of Duarte Inc. and well known for her presentation books, Slide:ology, Resonate, and others.
  • Alberto Cairo, Professor and Knight Chair of Visual Journalism, Data Visualization and Infographics at the University of Miami, well known for his books, The Functional Art, How Charts Lie, and others.

Highlights of this whitepaper include discussions of:

  • Technology tools
  • Authenticity
  • Engaging audiences
  • Accessibility
  • Interactivity
  • Storytelling

…and more!

It’s an easy read, but loaded with important insights about the current landscape and future of presenting, with plenty of tips for creating your message, design, and delivery — the three key elements of a Potent Presentation.

One critical aspect of presentations gaining ground in the virtual age is interactivity and audience engagement. Breakout rooms, on-screen annotation and sketching, audience polling, and sticky note Untitled design - 2020-10-01T103504.586.pngcollaboration tools are becoming both familiar and expected elements of online presentations and meetings.

Download your free copy here:

 For more tips on slide design, check out all the resources available for free download on our p2i Tools and Guidelines page.


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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Ask AEA: Submit Your Questions

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? The only way to grow in your profession is by asking questions. In our new series, Ask AEA, we want to provide our members with that opportunity by providing as many resources and guidance as possible. Answers come from our member community. Submit your questions here

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.

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Topical Interest Groups Virtual Business Meetings

AEA’s Topical Interest Groups (TIG) invite you to attend a virtual TIG Business Meeting. Each Topical Interest Group (TIG) will hold a virtual Business Meeting at Eval20: Reimagined and all are welcome to join these meetings to learn more about the year-long initiatives of each TIG.
After registering for Eval20: Reimagined, you can access TIG Business Meetings by searching the TIG track in the virtual experience platform, Pathable, and registering with the link provided. View the schedule for TIG Business Meetings here. The links to TIG Business Meetings will be available in Mid-October.
Registration is required for most TIG Facilitated Business Meetings and for all AEA Facilitated Business Meetings. If you are experiencing registration issues with a TIG Facilitated Business Meeting, please reach out directly to the TIG Leader here. For an AEA Facilitated Business Meeting, reach out to Zachary Grays at

These meetings offer an informal opportunity to meet and network with TIG members and partake in top-of-mind discussions. TIG Business Meetings are an excellent community and discovery experience for AEA members, new and seasoned. View the schedule for TIG Business Meetings below. Registration is required for most TIG Facilitated Business Meetings and for all AEA Facilitated Business Meetings.

AEA Annual Business Meeting: October 22, 2020 at 2:00 PM EDT

Join AEA President Aimee White and members of the Board of Directors to hear first-hand about AEA’s 2020 accomplishments and projects for 2021. During this meeting, we will also review the financial health of the organization and our strategic direction for future years. The Annual Business Meeting is open to all members and is your opportunity to ask questions, understand initiatives for the upcoming year, and learn how to become more involved with AEA. Register today for this free event.

Do you lead or participate in one of AEA's Topical Interest Groups (TIGs)? We want to hear from you and spotlight your work and actions you're taking amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Send an email to the AEA editor, Cady Stokes ( to share news, updates and articles for consideration in an upcoming AEA newsletter.

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AEA Election: Voting Begins Today

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AEA Members, the annual AEA election is NOW OPEN! You will be able to vote for a slate of director and officer candidates between October 2 and November 2.

Did you miss the meet-the-candidates forums? View the video recordings and learn more about this year’s election here.

New Oxford University Press Titles for AEA Members

Available with AEA's Discounted Price 

Don't forget — 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 Offers COVID-19 Support and Resources

    AEA's top priority at this time is the health and well-being of its members and the evaluation community as a whole. We understand this is a strenuous and difficult time, and are dedicated to providing you with support and resources to help you navigate the evolving effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    We want to remind you of a few of our resources to help you through this time.

    • AEA's daily blog, AEA365, is rolling out a series of Saturday posts offering reflection and information for evaluation practice during this global pandemic.

    Topics covered include Reflecting on the Role of Evaluator During this Global PandemicTips + Resources for Virtual Gatherings, and Self-Care in the Age of Coronavirus.

    Click here to subscribe to AEA365. We will continue to share resources and experiences of our community. 

    • AEA encourages you to turn to your community of peer evaluators through EvalTalk. This discussion forum provides a safe space to trade insights and concerns, talk through specific challenges that are arising, and overall, to lean on each other for support. Now is the time to maintain strong connections with colleagues worldwide as we navigate today's climate together.
    • You can also stay connected to your community through TIGs. Topical Interest Groups are defined around a certain topic or interest and create a forum enabling its members to become a resource that the entire community can leverage. This organized community and combined experience is needed now more than ever. As an AEA member, you are allowed to join up to five of the 60 Topical Interest Groups.
    • AEA continually monitors its social media channels, looking to bring forward engaging and relevant content to our community. We continue to share resources circulated by the broad evaluation community. Follow us on Twitter @aeaweb or "like" our Facebook page for timely updates and content relating to the pandemic and beyond.
    • While you are looking to stay connected to your teams, we recommend browsing the AEA Coffee Break library on the Digital Knowledge Hub. These 20 minute webinars are free to all members.

    If you have resources you think would be valuable to the evaluation community, share them with us by contacting AEA 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 and learn more about upcoming events.

    AEA eStudies

    The Digital Knowledge Hub contains live and recorded eStudies. eStudies offer in-depth lessons on trending evaluation topics, skills, and tools. Expert speakers share their experiences and offer time to answer your individual questions.

    Upcoming Live Courses:

    Student eStudies:

    Take a Coffee Break with AEA:

    As an AEA member, you have free access to our library of Coffee Breaks. These short, 20 minute webinars are great for sharing lessons with your students or other colleagues, while you are apart.
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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

    Higher Education Summit 1:00 - 4:00 pm on October 21, 2020

    This pre-conference session is designed for college and university leaders in academic, student support, financial and operational roles. Featuring current and past Baldrige and state quality award recipients from two-year colleges, public and private universities, the Summit will include insights from senior leaders as well as facilitated discussion sessions on key topics such as strategic planning in an uncertain future, engaging students and employees in remote learning environments and addressing issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. There will be a closing session on developing personal resilience during changing times as well as time for networking with other participants.

    Learn more.

    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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