January 2020 Newsletter

Message from the President: Make Your Light Shine in 2020

From Aimee White, AEA President 

Aimee White.jpg

Hello AEA members and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great time at Evaluation 2019 and arrived home safely to happy holidays. Welcome to 2020! I am thrilled and honored to be serving as your AEA President this year. I will be sharing my newsletter articles with a variety of insider information, from the board annual agenda to governing processes.

My goal for this year is to bring more and more AEA members into leadership across the organization and have every member realize that this IS YOUR ASSOCIATION. AEA is a member “owned” organization, and if you are not seeing a reflection of your desires, you need to engage and share those desires with leadership and staff! The email addresses of your AEA Board Members are on our website and we were elected to be “at-large” members, which means we represent you all. Do not feel intimidated to reach out to any of us! We are all here to serve you. My email is: president@eval.org.

In 2018, I worked with staff to develop the now embedded conference workshops on how to engage in AEA leadership. Those sessions occur twice at each conference on different days and times so as many members as possible can attend. Please be on the lookout for them in Portland. Also, if you have not already done so, please log into your AEA profile and make sure your volunteer profile is completed so AEA staff can access your information when looking to fill volunteer spots. 

Each human is born with a unique light frequency (according to HeartMath Institute Energetic Communication) and we all grow to shine that light in different ways. Some are born into circumstances that dim, and even attempt to extinguish that light, while others are born in spaces where their light is allowed to shine brightly over many. Those of us in AEA, or have chosen the profession of evaluation, have done so because we believe our professional field allows us to shine our lights for the purposes of improving conditions for others to shine theirs. It is through this lens that I wish for us all to consider our evaluation work. In service to this, for the 2020 annual AEA conference theme “How Will You Shine Your Light?”, I am asking proposal submitters to think about her/his/their expression of light through their evaluation practice. Pose your own questions around how you are shining your light in evaluation practice.

In an effort to improve the conference attendee experience, you will notice a new look to the conference proposal submission process this year. This is a pilot project that AEA staff are implementing in hopes of making the sessions easier to filter and navigate. The submission form will include self-selection for the proposal content to be either beginner, intermediate, or advanced (criteria will be provided).

Please note that this is regarding the CONTENT of the proposal, not you as the presenter. Ask yourself what the content level is for session attendees to receive. Also, you will see the need to select which Guiding Principle or Competency the presentation will address. You will be able to select multiples of these.  We encourage you to think through which Guiding Principle(s) and Competencies your proposal will address and click all that apply. Both of these new filtering options will allow conference attendees to better navigate which sessions they may be interested in attending. We appreciate all patience as we pilot this and want you to know that staff are here to help. Feel free to email any questions to alewis@eval.org.


Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Eval TIG Update: A New Book

From: David Fetterman and Liliana Rodriguez-Campos

David Fetterman and Liliana Rodríguez-Campos are co-chairs of the Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment (CPE) Evaluation TIG. Our TIG has labored to build a strong theoretical and empirical foundation of stakeholder involvement approaches in evaluation. Our efforts include identifying the essential features of collaborative, participatory, and empowerment evaluation. This involves defining and differentiating among stakeholder involvement approaches to evaluation and serves to enhance conceptual clarity. It also informs practice; helping evaluators select the most appropriate approach for the task at hand.

TIG image 1.jpgRecently, we published a book summarizing our efforts. It is titled Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation: Stakeholder Involvement Approaches by Guilford Press (Fetterman, Rodríguez-Campos, Zukoski, and contributors).

According to Lois-ellin Datta, "This valuable book both shows and tells on the hot topic of collaborative, participatory, and empowerment approaches. Each 'essentials' chapter gains impact from two chapters illustrating what the principles look like in actual evaluation practice...Far from claiming the exclusive benefits of any single approach, the book is infused with the spirit of working together. The chapter on commonalities powerfully lays out the features of stakeholder involvement at macro-, mid-, and microlevels of analysis, creating a strong theory-to-practice bridge for newcomers as well as experts. I wish I could gift-wrap this book and send it express to evaluation practitioners."

In addition, according to Thomas Archibald, "Collaborative, participatory, and empowerment evaluation are at the heart of perhaps the most significant paradigm shift in evaluation over the past 20 years...By connecting theory (the essentials) and practice (via two case examples for each approach), and by emphasizing both the similarities and differences among the three approaches, this book will no doubt become a go-to source."

Please feel free to join our CPE TIG, participate in our activities, post on our Facebook page (titled Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment Evaluation), and attend our business meetings at the annual conference.

 TIG Image 2.png


Potent Presentations Initiative

Apples and Oranges: Presentations are not Handouts and Handouts are not Presentations

From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

Sheila Robinson.jpg

Repeat After Me:

Presentations are not handouts.

Presentations are not handouts.

Presentations are not handouts.

If you’re taking your presentation slides and printing them out, especially like this…

p2i image 1.png

…please stop. Why? Here’s the thing (well, three things to be exact):

  • If your slides are designed well — highly visual with little to no text — they won’t make sense without you, the presenter.
  • If your slides are not designed well — very text heavy — they will be unreadable printed out like this.
  • Most people are taking notes in a multitude of different ways these days. Many use electronic devices, others use bound notebooks, some prefer style of paper pads, and still, others take notes on well-designed handouts if available; those hard copies that include some context from the presentation (not necessarily pictures of the slides), and ample space for hand-written notes.

The problem is that your audience often needs both a presentation (that’s the live part with you as the speaker) and a handout (that’s what they walk away with, either on paper or electronically).

Presentations vs. Handouts

There’s a great article on business reports from Geetesh Bajaj, a highly and internationally acclaimed PowerPoint, storyboarding, info-diagramming, and presenting expert (I highly recommend checking out his work on his presentations website, Indezine). Bajaj is essentially writing about handouts in this piece, not live presentations. He claims “…nearly half, or even more, of the PowerPoint presentations, and presentations created in other programs are not going to be projected onscreen and presented in a boardroom or a conference venue, or even used in a webinar.”

I agree, and add that a great many “presentations” are actually created as “handouts.” These are distributed electronically for the purpose of informing or educating individuals who are expected to read them on their own on small screens (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone) and usually, without a soundtrack. In the article, Bajaj refers to Nancy Duarte’s Slidedocs — documents purposefully designed with presentation software. Duarte offers a beautiful free customizable template to create your own Slidedocs. AEA member Nick Visscher recently shared on Twitter how he has enjoyed working with Slidedocs for his own projects.

What’s a Presenter to do When Your Audience Needs Both?

You need to create both. There are many ways to create handouts, reports, or slidedocs with presentation software. It’s a matter of knowing how the work will be consumed and whether you need one or two products. One of the easiest ways to create two products in one is to design your live presentation slides, and use the speaker notes section to add text and any other elements (e.g., additional graphs, diagrams, images) you want audience members to walk away with after the presentation. You can customize the way the speaker notes look using the Notes Master. Duarte has a good article on this as well.

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


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 p2i@eval.org and let’s talk! I’m happy to help, offer guidance, or collaborate on any of these.


The Face of AEA

Featuring Jennifer Jewiss 

Face of AEA_Jan2020_FINAL.png


Name: Jennifer Jewiss

Affiliation: University of Vermont Department of Leadership and Developmental Sciences

Degrees: EdD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Vermont


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

Way back in my undergraduate days, I had trouble deciding on a major — there were simply too many interesting and important discussions going on in buildings all over campus. I muddled through and eventually met Dr. Kenneth Fishell, who introduced me to the field of evaluation. Ken was a masterful practitioner of “humble inquiry … the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions, … of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person” (Schein, 2013). Ken mentored me throughout my master’s program and never failed to demonstrate the art of asking the right questions in the right way as a means of surfacing essential insights. I specialize in qualitative inquiry in evaluation because it allows me to indulge my curiosity and enthusiasm for a wide array of “good causes.” I’m always intrigued to hear the insights that emerge through evaluative inquiry and thrilled when those insights help advance a worthy cause. And for all practical purposes, I still haven’t had to declare a major.

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

Speaking of good questions — this one is a doozie! One of the most memorable and meaningful was an evaluation I conducted for the U.S. National Park Service. The Superintendents Leadership Roundtable is a flagship leadership development program for the individuals that lead our national parks. At the time, the program was controversial, partly because the roundtable sessions were based on a participant-driven agenda addressing their real-time leadership issues rather than the agency’s traditional training model. Shortly after I completed the data collection — more than 50 in-depth interviews — I was notified that the “powers that be” were going to decide the program’s fate in an upcoming meeting, so I needed to produce a preliminary report in very short order if the findings were to be used. Yikes! I’m pleased that despite the quick turnaround, the weight of the evidence was widely respected. This highly effective and important program was not only saved, but expanded. Of course, the evaluation wasn’t the only factor, but it was credited with playing a major role.

Why do you belong to AEA?

AEA is my “home” association and the source of so much of my professional development, particularly via the annual conference. Through AEA, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know and collaborating on presentations and/or publications with exceptional colleagues who continue to inform and inspire my work. Leslie Goodyear, Janet Usinger, Eric Barela, Michael Quinn Patton, George Grob, Rakesh Mohan, and many others. Need I say more?

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

Embrace the adventure and lifelong learning opportunities that evaluation offers. Engage in the AEA community as fully as you are able. It’s terrific that the association’s offerings continue to expand, creating a growing portfolio of learning and networking opportunities. Find your community within the evaluation community, whether that is through an AEA Topical Interest Group (TIG), a community of practice you create with kindred spirits, or a Local Affiliate, such as the newly minted Vermont Evaluation Network!


Think About the AEA Guiding Principles 

Submit Your Proposal 

New this year, we want your proposal to connect to the AEA guiding principles. The Guiding Principles reflect the core values of AEA and are intended as a guide to the professional ethical conduct of evaluators. Keep these principals in mind when developing your proposals. When submitting your proposal, you will be asked to choose principles that are related to your topic or proposal. Learn more about the AEA Guiding Principles.

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 www.oup.com/academic 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 info@eval.org.


    Register Now for AEA's Upcoming Town Hall 

    Evaluation 2020 Preview 

    Join AEA's next Town Hall meeting to hear from new President Aimee White about her Evaluation 2020 theme: "How Will You Shine Your Light?"

    We invite you to join us for this Town Hall on Wednesday, February 5 at 2:00 pm EST to:

    • Hear insights on this year's conference theme, "How Will You Shine Your Light?" and how it relates to the purpose of evaluation
    • Find out how to consider the overarching theme when submitting your proposals for Evaluation 2020
    • Learn about an AEA pilot project designed to better organize the annual conference to enhance the attendee experience

    Aimee will lead this discussion on shining your light and provide a preview of what to expect from this year's conference, taking place in Portland, Oregon from October 26 through October 31. 

    Register now! 

    *Member login required to register*


    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 cstokes@eval.org.

    Sixth International CREA Conference: Keynote Announced 

    crea save the date.jpg

    We hope that your New Year and new decade is off to a great beginning. I am once again very pleased to announce a confirmed keynote speaker for our conference. Dr. Sandy Grande has agreed to deliver the opening keynote address on September 30, 2020 at the CREA 6th International Conference 2020 in Chicago Illinois (September 30-October 2).

    Dr. Grande is a Professor of Education and the Director of the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) at Connecticut College (https://crea.education.illinois.edu/home/conferences/sixth-international-conference/keynote-speakers) . Her research and teaching interfaces Native American and Indigenous Studies, Education and critical theory, toward the development of more nuanced analyses of the colonial present. In addition to publishing numerous chapters and articles, her landmark book, Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought was recently published in a 10th anniversary edition and a Portuguese translation is anticipated to be published in Brazil in 2019.

    We look forward to Dr. Grande’s opening keynote address and for us to welcome her appropriately as the CREA community.

    Additionally, don't forget that CREA 2020 call for papers deadline is February 7, 2020. Further details regarding guidelines for submissions and link to the online proposal submission system can be found at: https://crea.education.illinois.edu/home/conferences/sixth-international-conference.

    If you have questions about the conference and/or would like to be added to the CREA list serv for updates as well as other CREA related information, do not hesitate to contact us at crea@education.illinois.edu 


    Submit a Topical Interest Group (TIG) Update

    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?  Want to study the effects 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. To become more involved, we invite you to:  join the TIG, submit a proposal for the annual conference, or consider becoming a proposal reviewer.  If you have any questions or ideas to support our revitalization efforts, then please feel free to email our Evaluation Policy TIG Co-Chair: arkinars@ucla.edu.

    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 (cstokes@eval.org) 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.

    Recent Stories
    AEA Newsletter: November 2020

    AEA Newsletter: October 2020

    AEA Newsletter: September 2020