Newsletter: June 2009 Vol 9, Issue 6


AEA 2009 Election Underway & Nearing Close
Dear Members,
What an exciting time of the year! AEA just concluded its 9th Annual Summer Evaluation Institute in Atlanta and we are now mid-way through this year's elections. Take a moment please between now and July 17 to cast your vote for three new members of the AEA Board of Directors as well as the 2011 AEA President.
The nominees for president are Kathleen Bolland and Jennifer Greene. Nominees for Board Members-at-Large are Stewart I. Donaldson, Mansoor Kazi, Jennifer Martineau, Tristi Nichols, Patricia J. Rogers, and Nicole Vicinanza. 
To learn more about the candidates and to vote, go to the AEA website at and enter the members-only area.
Thank you all and have a wonderful summer,


Susan Kistler
AEA Executive Director
In This Issue
Policy Watch with George Grob
The Face of AEA - Meet John Gargani, Company President
TechTalk with LaMarcus Bolton
AEA Members Honored
New Jobs Postings
Book: Evaluating Climate Change and Development
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
Policy Watch - The Value of Environmental Evaluation 
From George Grob, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force
On June 8 and 9, AEA President Debra Rog, AEA Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) Members Katherine Dawes and Stephanie Shipman, and I were privileged to attend the Environmental Evaluators Network Forum. This was the fourth annual gathering of environmental evaluators, co-sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and hosted by the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.
The agenda of the conference read like a standard reference guide for bringing evaluation to bear on the many challenges confronting our planet. Major presentations and sharing events focused on evaluation polices, including: connections between evaluators, managers, and policy makers; application of evaluation throughout the life cycle of programs; use of evaluation in economic recovery and global warming initiatives; setting environmental goals and standards; the uptake and use of evaluation results by program decision makers; understanding of the scope and complexity of the environment itself; evaluation capacity building; and idea sharing through evaluator networks. Debra Rog's featured presentation blended her Presidential theme of evaluation in context and the EPTF-developed Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective Government.
Those of us who were there were quite impressed with the scale and scope of innovations and applications of evaluation in the world of environmental policy making and program administration. Those interested in evaluation policy and, more broadly, how evaluation can be used in policy making and program management, can learn much from what these environmental evaluators are doing. Fortunately, anyone wanting to learn more can consult the Environmental Evaluators Network's web site and find agendas and products from this and the previous three forums. Evaluators can also join their LinkedIn group at (just look for the "Environmental Evaluators Network" group.
For more information go to the Environmental Evaluators Networking Forum Website or contact Katherine Dawes, EPA's Director of the Evaluation Support Division, [email protected].
Those who want to learn even more about environmental evaluation may also want to read the just- released edition of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE), Volume 2009 Issue 122, Environmental Program and Policy Evaluation: "Addressing Methodological Challenges;" Issue Edited by Matthew Birnbaum, Per Mickwitz. AEA members have free online access to this and other volumes of NDE through the AEA website.
Go to the Environmental Evaluators Networking Forum Website
The Face of AEA - Meet John Gargani, Company President & TIG Chair 
AEA's 5,700 members worldwide represent a range of backgrounds, specialties and interest areas. Join us as we profile a different member each month via our Question and Answer column. This month's profile spotlights an independent consultant and TIG Chair. 
GarganiName: John Gargani  
Professional Position/Affiliation: President, Gargani + Company, Inc.
Degrees: MBA (Wharton School); MS in Statistics (New York University); working on a Ph.D. (UC-Berkley)
Years in the Evaluation Field: 18
Joined AEA: 1999
AEA Leadership Includes: Chair of the Program Theory and Theory-Driven Evaluation Topical Interest Group, Section Editor of the American Journal of Evaluation, Executive Director of San Francisco Bay Evaluators
Why do you belong to AEA?
"When I started working in the field in the early 1990s, evaluation was something of the Wild West, or at least that is how it felt to me. Practitioners were very isolated, inventing and reinventing the same things. At some point a professor encouraged me to attend the yearly AEA conference and it was a great experience. I was really surprised-and delighted-to find such a large community."

Why do you choose to work in the field of evaluation?
"I like to joke that nobody grows up dreaming of becoming an evaluator. Like most, I fell into it by accident. When I attended Wharton, most students went off to Wall Street for summer jobs.  But I wanted adventure.  This was 1991, so I figured I would do some consulting in Eastern Europe where I had already spent some time. One of my projects was figuring out what to do with state-run scientific research institutes as Czechoslovakia transitioned to a free-market economy. It was my first taste of assessing organizations in terms of their benefit to society. I found that I really liked that. It was much more interesting-and difficult-than traditional management consulting."

What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of - and why?
"Perhaps the work I did with the I Have a Dream Foundation. This was an organization where wealthy individuals 'adopted' groups of young school children who were very unlikely to graduate from high school, provided them with years of support, and then paid for their college tuition.  I spent some days in public housing projects working at a grass-roots level, and others meeting with some of the wealthiest people in America. That changes how you think.  When the program became a model for the national GEAR-UP program, I was fortunate enough to provide some input.  For someone relatively new to evaluation, it was something quite extraordinary-a career packed into just a few years."

What advice would you give to those new to the field?
1. Get top notch training.
2. Stay independent minded.
3. Evaluate your own work and never stop striving to improve.
Why did you choose to become involved in AEA at the TIG level?
"I am absolutely fascinated with how people conceptualize social change. I find it one of the most interesting things I can wrap my head around. The Program Theory and Theory-Driven TIG is a place where this is put on the table and discussed. To have a deep interest in something, and then to find others who share that interest and intensity, well, I was just drawn into it.  I jumped in with both feet and haven't looked back."
If you know someone who represents The Face of AEA, send recommendations to [email protected]
ShareThis -  A New Way to Find & Forward AEA News of Note  
From LaMarcus Bolton, AEA Technology Director
BoltonSocial bookmarking has become quite a significant buzzword on the Internet, but there is still much confusion over what it is, how it differs from traditional browser-based bookmarking, and "what's in it for me" (WIIFM).
Social bookmarking is a type of collaborative bookmarking that allows Internet users to create, store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages. Unlike their browser-based counterparts, social bookmarking is Internet-based and typically does not rely on a hierarchy of folders on your local machine. Rather, social bookmarking is typically organized around user-created "tags" (i.e., keywords). For instance, while a search engine can be used to search for news, it is limited due to the extra "noise" one has to sort through. This is because search engines explore web pages with little regard for content-relevancy, but instead relies on page popularity for a specific search term. When using tags, conversely, you may have a much greater likelihood of finding the information you need since bookmarks are usually only tagged with highly-relevant user-created keywords.
Fortunately, through the ShareThis service, AEA has begun to implement social bookmarking opportunities on some of our web pages, including those for our upcoming Evaluation 2009 Conference. Clicking on the ShareThis icon sharethis will bring up a menu that allows you to bookmark the respective page on services such as Digg or Delicious, email the page information to a colleague, or send the page link as a clickable text message. Our Executive Director, Susan Kistler, notes "I often use the ShareThis button to send a text message or email to myself - a reminder to revisit a website or to register for an event for instance." So, in essence, ShareThis and its integration with other services allows one not only to easily find and save relevant information for themselves, but also to share it with friends, colleagues, or complete strangers on the web.
Over the summer, we plan to expand our coverage of ShareThis to other pages of the AEA website. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore, share it, and have fun in the process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at [email protected].
AEA In the News 
Awards & Honors
Courtney Malloy was recognized by PDK as part of their emerging leaders program. PDK International is a global association of education professionals. Malloy is a senior researcher at Vital Research, LLC, and an assistant professor of clinical education in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. More information can be found at

Joanne Carman of the University of North Carolina at Charolotte receieved the Eastern Evaluation and Research Association Invited Authors Award for her work on Nonprofits and Evaluation (New Directions for Evaluation, Issue #119). The award was presented at the 32nd Annual EERS Conference and is a special academic honor that recognizes exceptional scholarship by recently-published authors in the field of program evaluation.
If you have a news item you'd like to contribute, please forward to [email protected].
New Jobs & RFPs from the AEA Career Center  
What's new this month in the AEA Online Career Center? The following positions and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have been added recently:
  • Senior Research Associate, Children's Mental Health Services at ICF Macro (New York, NY)
  • Program Evaluator at Centerstone Research Institute (Nashville, TN)
  • Undergraduate Education and Instructional Researcher at Penn State (University Park, PA)
  • Research Associate at Walter R McDonald & Associates, Inc. (Rockville, MD)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Team Lead at IntraHealth International (Washington, DC)
  • Evaluation Specialist/Research Associate at Maine Center for Public Health (Augusta, ME)
  • Senior Study Director at Westat (Rockville, MD)
  • Program Manager, Grants and Assessments at Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (Lansdowne, VA)
  • Evaluation Manager at Communities In Schools of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
  • Project Analyst at OMG Center for Collaborative Learning (Philadelphia, PA)
Descriptions for each of these positions, and many others, are available in the AEA Online Career Center. According to Google analytics, the Career Center received over 4000 unique visitors in the past month. It is an outstanding resource for posting your resume or position, or for finding your next employer, contractor or employee.
Job hunting? You can also sign up to receive notifications of new position postings via email or RSS feed.
Go to the AEA Online Career Center
Evaluating Climate Change and Development 
ClimateChangeAEA member Osvaldo Feinstein is co-editor of a new book being released by Transaction Publishers. Evaluating Climate Change and Development addresses a timely and complex topic of worldwide note, utilizing input from hundreds of reports and presentations gleaned from an international conference and encapsulated into 400 pages. 
From the Publisher's Website:
Climate change has become one of the most important global issues of our time, with far-reaching natural, socio- economic, and political effects. To address climate change and development issues from the perspective of evaluation, an international conference was held in Alexandria, Egypt. This book distills the essence of that timely conference, building on the experiences of more than 400 reports and studies presented. Developing countries may be particularly vulnerable to the expected onslaught of higher temperatures, rising sea levels, changing waterfall patterns, and increasing natural disasters. All societies will have to reduce their vulnerability to these changes, and this book describes how vulnerabilities may be addressed in a systematic manner so that governments and local communities may better understand what is happening. Different approaches are also discussed, including the use of human security as a criterion for evaluation as well as ways to deal with risk and uncertainty. Evaluating Climate Change and Development presents a rich variety of methods to assess adaptation through monitoring and evaluation. The volume deals with climate change, development, and evaluation; challenges and lessons learned from evaluations; mitigation of climate change; adaptation to climate change; vulnerability, risks and climate change; and presents a concluding chapter on the road ahead. Collectively the authors off era set of approaches and techniques for the monitoring and evaluation of climate change.
From the Editor:
"The book was prompted by the wish to share the knowledge generated for, and during, the international conference on evaluating climate change and development, held at the "House of Knowledge" that is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt, May 2008, with participants from all over the world. What I found most rewarding about the project is that it showed that even with a hot topic like climate change, evaluation can make a valuable contribution to nurture an evidence-based discussion of the crucial issues. This book includes a unique combination of writings by evaluation and climate change experts from different parts of the world, with a multidisciplinary approach, blending practical and theoretical knowledge. It provides a state-of-the art synthesis of the evaluation of climate change issues from a development perspective, identifying key challenges and ways to address them."
About the Editor:
Osvaldo Feinstein is a consultant with the World Bank, the UNDP and IFAD, senior adviser at the Spanish Evaluation Agency, professor at the Master in Evaluation of the Complutense University of Madrid and member of the CGIAR's Science Council Panel on Monitoring and Evaluation. He is also the series editor of Transaction's World Bank Series on Evaluation and Development.
Go to the Publisher's Website
Get Involved
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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.
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