In this issue...
  • Impact Evaluation
  • Myrdal Winner
  • Youth-Led Evaluation
  • Independent Consulting TIG
  • EERS Conference
  • Get Involved

  • AEA Newsletter
    February 2008

    Greetings AEA Colleagues!

    My favorite news is good news. In response to a host of requests, as of December 2007 we began archiving our member mailings and now you can go to a single repository and view them all in one place. If you sign in to the members only section of the AEA website, you will have full access to all mailings including past newsletters from December forward. Without signing in, you can see all public mailings as well as the newsletter contents listings. We'll add to this each month to keep you up to date and in the know about what is happening at AEA and in the field.

    On another note, if one of your New Year's resolutions was to get more engaged with AEA, there are many possibilities this month. This is a friendly reminder regarding our many upcoming deadlines. We are accepting proposals for the annual conference, (Deadline: Friday, March 14), seeking nominations for the Board of Directors (Deadline: Friday, March 7), and identifying nominees for the seven AEA awards (Deadline: Monday, June 2). Please see the links in the "Get Involved" article at the end of the newsletter to go right to the relevant content.

    It is unseasonably cold here in Massachusetts. But I am thinking warm thoughts!


    Susan Kistler,
    AEA Executive Director

    Impact Evaluation
    Global networks unite

    The International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) now represents one of four networks that will oversee the Network of Networks Impact Evaluation (NONIE). Hosted by the World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group, the NONIE coalition is conducting a program of impact evaluation activities aimed at developing a common understanding of the meaning of impact evaluation and approaches to conducting impact evaluation in the promotion of international development effectiveness.

    NONIE was originally comprised of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Development Assistance Committee's Evaluation Network, the United Nations Evaluation Group, and the Evaluation Cooperation Group of the international development banks, with plans to name a fourth network that would represent developing countries and be drawn from the regional evaluation associations. The decision to name IOCE as the fourth network was the result of a series of meetings of the IOCE Board and NONIE, followed by a two-day World Bank impact evaluation conference held in January.

    "This decision gives IOCE a strategic advisory role within this important initiative," said Jim Rugh, AEA's representative to the IOCE. "The organizers of NONIE recognized the need to include representatives from the Global South in this effort. We convinced them that IOCE provides a structure that more systematically brings more southern evaluators to the table." IOCE is an organization for evaluation networks and societies that is committed to building a worldwide evaluation community through international collaboration. Its membership is made up of dozens of national and regional organizations worldwide, including AEA.

    Kudos to IOCE for its collaborative work as part of the NONIE coalition and to our representative Jim Rugh for sharing this important update. NONIE task force teams will be working in three key areas:

    • the preparation of impact evaluation guidelines
    • agreement on collaborative arrangements for undertaking impact evaluation, and
    • the development of a platform of resources to support impact evaluation by member organizations

    Gullickson2 Myrdal Winner
    Arlen Gullickson honored for career contributions

    The winner of AEA's 2007 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Practice Award is a lifelong educator recognized for having great influence and impact both in the field of evaluation and in classrooms around the world. Arlen R. Gullickson, a professor emeritus at Western Michigan University (WMU) and former director of its acclaimed Evaluation Center, began his career as a high school teacher of mathematics, physics and chemistry and quickly became a project manager with the National Science Foundation (NSF). In a career now spanning four decades, Gullickson has immersed himself both as a student and advocate of educational research. He is perhaps most known for his role in the development and implementation of national standards for student evaluations aimed directly at classroom instructors in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities -- directly impacting both students and teachers. The Myrdal Practice Award is presented to an evaluator who exemplifies outstanding evaluation practice and who has made substantial cumulative contributions to the field of evaluation through the practice of evaluation and whose work is consistent with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.

    Gullickson helped lead the development of The Student Evaluation Standards and coauthored, with Peter Airasian of Boston College, a widely used book aimed at helping classroom teachers improve their classroom assessment practices. He has directed seven NSF evaluation training institutes and has trained more than 100 evaluators in the fields of science, mathematics and technology education. "His numerous contributions have touched schools across the country," says Donald B. Yarbrough, Director of the University of Iowa Center for Evaluation and Assessment. "He has provided a national voice for improving teacher evaluation and making accountability systems more professional, accurate and humane."

    Gullickson has been a full professor at WMU since 1991 and served as the Evaluation Center's chief of staff until 2002 when he became the center's Director, a position from which he retired in 2007. "I'd like to see education focus on the use of evaluation to serve classroom learning much more than its current focus on evaluation for matters such as No Child Left Behind," observes Gullickson. "But, nearly 40 years later, I am happy with where my career has taken me. I just returned from Thailand where Dan Stufflebeam and I presented a two-day conference on evaluation. There were a thousand people there wanting to learn from us - it was quite an experience for me. It's nice to reach the end of my professional career and find that our work has been appreciated."

    Dr. Gullickson exemplifies the best in the field. If you know of others who you believe should be considered for recognition through the AEA Awards process, please consider making a nomination by June 2, 2008.

    Go to the Call for Awards Nominations

    youthledbookcover Youth-Led Evaluation
    New guide targets new audience

    If you've ever found yourself hard pressed to quickly and succinctly explain the process and value of evaluation, Robert Shumer has a short, new guide that's easy reading, provides an easily understandable introduction and overview -- and targets a new, young, and untapped audience.

    Shumer has been involved in service-learning and community-based programs for 37 years at the secondary and postsecondary levels, and is the recent author of Youth-Led Evaluation: A Guidebook published by Clemson University's College of Health, Education & Development on behalf of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. The 50-page book is part of its Linking Learning With Life Series.

    "The impetus for the project was to create a booklet that encouraged youth to view evaluation as a potential service activity, where they could assess the impact of their community service and service-learning programs," explains Shumer.

    From the book's introduction:
    "People do not typically think of doing an evaluation as a service activity, but in fact it can be an excellent form of service for a variety of organizations and settings. You can help your own program or that of others by arranging to perform some kind of evaluation. It's a great way to learn to do critical thinking and reflection and can provide important information to help improve programs and the quality of life in communities."

    Shumer is the founder and former director of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse and former co-director of the Center for Experiential Education and Service-Learning at the University of Minnesota. He has served as Director of Field Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and teaches courses on service-learning, national service, civic education, and research and evaluation. He currently consults with many states on evaluation, including youth-led evaluation, of education programs focusing on service learning, character, and civic education.

    Go to the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Publications Site

    Independent Consulting TIG
    Actively working and expanding membership

    The Independent Consulting (IC) Topical Interest Group (TIG) dates back to 1984 at a joint meeting, pre-AEA, of the Evaluation Network and the Evaluation Research Society. Initially created to provide a forum for independent consultants to network and problem solve around issues unique to independent consultants, the TIG has since expanded both its membership base and mission to more broadly promote independent consulting and enhance the lives of independent consultants.

    In recent years, the TIG has embarked on multiple projects including:

    • a survey of TIG members' business practices, evaluation services, and demographics
    • development of a client feedback form, and
    • an ongoing process for peer review of draft evaluation reports

    In 2006, members of the TIG edited and contributed to the "Independent Evaluation Consulting" edition of New Directions for Evaluation (Volume 111). This edition includes more details of the TIG's history, results of its 2004 survey, and information on the development and use of the client feedback form and peer review process. The client feedback form is used regularly by TIG members (and others!); and training for the peer review process is provided annually at AEA as it is becoming utilized more frequently.

    Today, the Independent Consulting TIG includes more than 900 members representing over 15% of AEA's total membership and sponsors multiple sessions at AEA conferences. Topics last year included how to start and succeed as an independent evaluator, intermediate consulting skills, proven customer service practices for independent evaluation consultants, evaluation contract considerations, as well as a focus on ethical issues unique to independent consultants. TIG membership is growing to include acamadicians, those who work for other companies, and those interested in becoming independent evaluators, whether part-time or full-time. Information is shared via a newsletter published prior to AEA's annual conference and the TIG has an active listserv.

    There are many ways to get involved with and learn more about the Independent Consulting TIG:

    *To update your member profile or access New Directions online, sign in to the AEA website at using your AEA username and password.

    • Your username is:
    • Your password is:

    EERS Conference
    31st annual meeting this April in New Jersey resort

    The Eastern Evaluation Research Society (EERS), a local affiliate of AEA serving the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic region, will hold its 31st annual conference April 13-15 at the Seaview Marriott Resort and Spa in Absecon, New Jersey. The conference theme is Evidence-Based Evaluation: Balancing Rigor, Relevance and Reality. Keynote speakers are Thomas Chapel, Senior Health Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Heather Weiss, Director of the Harvard Family Research Project; and Laura Leviton, Senior Program Officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    Special sessions will focus on:

    • Building Evaluation into Program Design and Management
    • Increasing Evaluation Use and Relevancy
    • Geographic Information Systems Methods and Technologies, and
    • Online Surveys

    EERS membership includes representatives of public and private evaluation organizations, academia, as well as independent consultants. Its conference is designed to provide a forum for sharing expertise, learning and networking in an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, facilitate cross disciplinary discussion about evaluation, and nurture new evaluators and inspire seasoned evaluators. Special rates are in effect through March 7.

    Go to the EERS website for registration and conference information

    Get Involved
    Get the most out of your membership

    A short list of the many things to do right now to participate in the life of the association. Please click through to the appropriate item below.

    We'll have more to share over the coming months.

    AEA Site Links
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  • About Us

    The American Evaluation Association is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of evaluation in all its forms.

    The American Evaluation Association's mission is to:

    • Improve evaluation practices and methods
    • Increase evaluation use
    • Promote evaluation as a profession and
    • Support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action.

    phone: 1-508-748-3326 or 1-888-232-2275