Newsletter: February 2011Vol 11, Issue 2


Making a Difference - Through Evaluation

Greene.11Greetings AEA colleagues,


Our world continues to be a troubled one - troubled by terrible violence (the Mexican drug wars), by natural disasters (floods in Pakistan and Australia, earthquakes in New Zealand), and by compelling political upheaval (in Tunisia, Egypt, and South Sudan).


What does evaluation have to do with these momentous world events? Actually, a lot in my view. I believe that most evaluators are committed to making our world a better place. With quiet insistence, we work for the critical role of data and reason in decision making. With steady persistence, we search for quality and meaning in the policies and programs we assess. And with these shared values, we strive for a presence at the decision table.


The call for proposals for AEA 2011 is now out, and the theme is Values and Valuing in Evaluation! Please do submit a proposal and join me in continuing conversations about our values, both shared and distinct, in Anaheim this fall. As suggested by this theme, I believe that values permeate the practical work of evaluators, and they do so in at least three major ways. First, the contexts in which we work - in particular, the socio-political, economic, and cultural diversity of stakeholder interests and perspectives - are rich in varied value commitments. These varied values get incorporated into our work through such evaluation components as the purpose and audience for the evaluation, the key questions to be addressed, and especially the criteria to be used to make judgments of program quality. Second, our technical evaluation designs and methodologies themselves carry along particular values, as do different evaluation approaches - for example, contrast the values advanced in a utilization-focused evaluation and an accountability-oriented evaluation. Third, the role of evaluation in society, and the evaluator's responsibilities for that role, offer further opportunities and challenges related to values and valuing in our work. These dimensions of values in evaluation practice are all transmitted, of course, through each of our own value systems and evaluation commitments. Self-reflection and respectful dialogue with others are key means by which we gain insight and purpose into our own thinking. (See, for example, the engaging conversations of February's Thought Leader Melvin Hall.)


The major values shaping our conversations in Anaheim will be civility and respect. So, send in your proposals by March 18th (almost springtime)!


With appreciation,


Jennifer Greene

AEA President, 2011

In This Issue
Policy Watch with George Grob
TechTalk with LaMarcus Bolton
AEA's Service Award
New - Question of the Quarter
Faster Forward Fund
Book: Applied Positive Psychology
Important Deadlines
Webinar Series
New Job Postings
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
Policy Watch - Evaluation in the President's 2012 Budget
From George Grob, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force

GrobOn January 14, President Obama released his 2012 budget proposals. What does the Obama budget say about evaluation? Winning the Future: President Obama's Budget repeatedly asserts the importance of evaluation in helping to determine what works and promotes evidence-based decision making. The budget narrative calls for "appropriately rigorous" evaluations employing "strong study designs" that "address important actionable questions." It proposes to fund a selection of strong evaluations in the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Treasury; and at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States Agency for International Development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management. Other efforts to reinvigorate evaluation activities across the Federal Government include an evaluation-focused inter-agency working group to promote information sharing.


Want to learn more? Try these resources:

  • The Analytical Perspectives chapter offers a section titled Performance and Management that gives an overview of the Administration's FY2012 Evaluation Initiative. It also contains a truly fascinating picture of where OMB stands, not only on evaluation, but on social indicators, cost-benefit analysis, etc.
  • The Terminations, Reductions and Savings chapter recommends programs for either termination or education. You will see the significance that program evaluation plays in the budget narrative. The administration often cites "lack of evidence" that a program is working as a reason for recommending a program be cut or redirecting funding to other initiatives with a stronger focus on evidence-based practices. 
  • The White House budget website contains the full-text budget as well as tools for exploring the details. 
  • AEA's 2-page compilation of evaluation-related references in the federal budget. 
  • On February 17, each Federal agency was to post to their website a more detailed explanation of the President's budget proposal for that agency. These are known as the Agency's "Congressional Justifications" where you can find more about an agency's funding for program evaluation studies and evaluation capacity.

As always, it will be helpful for us to hear from you about your comments and concerns.


Go to the EPTF Website and Join the EPTF Discussion List

TechTalk - Top 10 Evaluation 2010 Conference Downloads
From LaMarcus Bolton, AEA Technology Director


Many of you are probably already familiar with AEA's eLibrary. For those who are not, the eLibrary is essentially a knowledge-sharing system for information related to evaluation. Members can upload and share various types of files including Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, audio recordings, and document sets.


One cool aspect of the eLibrary is that it automatically tracks usage statistics, such as the most viewed entries. Although presenters can still submit materials, I wanted to acknowledge the most popular eLibrary entries from Evaluation 2010; these conference presenters contributed materials that often hundreds of individuals found valuable! The Top 10 list includes: 


Training Evaluation Checklist by M Scriven


Taking Control of Your Evaluation Career by G Grob


Waawiyeyaa (Circular) Evaluation Tool by A Johnston


Strategies for Developing Evaluation Capacity in Educational Partnerships by E McLain


Equity and Quality in Evaluation: Ideas and Illustrations from the Field by JC Greene


Developing Evaluation Reports That Are Useful, User-friendly, and Used by TM Walser 


Using Screen Recording and Think Aloud for Evaluation by S Henderson 


Ten Tips for Making the Most of the Annual Conference by S Kistler


Communities of Practice (CoP) as a Foundation Strategy by T Jarosewich


Needs Chain Model by F Shafloot


If you have materials from Evaluation 2010, you can still upload them, and doing so is simple! To add content, click on "Add Document(s)." You will then be asked to fill out the fields such as the title, description, and category of the material. Don't forget to save! You will then simply upload the files to the eLibrary, add keywords for ease of searching, and add any additional tags such as the sponsoring TIG.


In closing, I wanted to thank all of our members for contributing their Evaluation 2010-specific and non-conference-specific materials. Your contributions to the eLibrary and through other media truly are paramount in helping to expand the field and improve our practice. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding AEA's eLibrary, please feel free to email me at

AEA Honors Scholar & Visionary Rodney Hopson with Service Award

Join us as we congratulate the recipients of AEA's 2010 Awards. Recognized were four awardees who've helped heighten international evaluation efforts, spearheaded a groundbreaking new journal, influenced a health initiative that impacted the lives of children and families in five urban communities, and influenced a new generation of evaluators. Thank you all for your generous contributions to AEA, to the field, and to our greater communities.


HopsonAEA's President-Elect was honored as the recipient of AEA's 2010 Robert Ingle Service Award. A professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rodney K. Hopson founded and served as director of the Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program (GEDI) from 2003-2009. The program has graduated 6 cohorts and is currently in its seventh year.


"Through his leadership, Dr. Hopson has helped to train and mentor future evaluators, and through his service encouraged individuals to pursue careers in evaluation," says AEA's 2010 Awards Committee Chair Tarek Azzam. A graduate of the University of Virginia and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hopson joined AEA as a student almost two decades ago and has since chaired a topical interest group, helped co-found a local affiliate, served on its Board of Directors, and taken a lead role in addressing issues of cultural diversity. His influence has been profound within AEA, within the field, and on the global landscape. He is a gifted teacher, writer, mentor and scholar who completed post-doctoral/sabbatical studies through the University of Namibia, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University.

"His sphere of influence, service and giving extends beyond the borders of the U.S. and so has his AEA ambassadorship and scholarship," adds Ricardo Millett, a veteran philanthropist, evaluator, and principal of Millett & Associates. "He has been a positive influence on emerging evaluation professionals in Southern Africa and in the Caribbean. He brings a level of character, integrity and international status and reach deserving of this AEA Award."

Hopson, the Hillman Distinguished Professor at Duquesne's School of Education, is also the recipient of AEA's 2000 Promising New Evaluator Award. He was recently elected AEA's 2012 President and is an active scholar and practitioner in evaluation. Hopson - who has a bachelor's degree in English literature, a master's in educational evaluation, a master's in linguistics and a Ph.D. in educational evaluation - is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the American Educational Research Association and the Comparative and International Education Society and serves (or has served recently) on the editorial boards of Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Educational Foundations, Evaluation and Society, the Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Education and Ethnography and the Western Michigan University Evaluation Center. He currently serves as an associate member of the Joint Committee for Educational Evaluation Standards, and is a co-author of the 3rd edition of Program Evaluation Standards.

"The Ingle Service Award is truly a high honor and one I will definitely cherish for years to come," says Hopson, "but it's not the type of award that can be done without incredible support from family, colleagues, and networks of loved ones. My work in the profession and association is not for want of award or recognition but for want for a certain type of profession and association that has been a home for me over the years."

We invite you to think about AEA's 2011 Awards and to consider nominating colleagues for this distinction. You'll find an overview at the link below, as well as specific nominating instructions.


Go to AEA's Awards Page

New - Question of the Quarter - Your Input Needed!

As part of its responsibility to seek out opportunities to engage with members and gather member input to inform policy decisions, the AEA Board is trying out a strategy of posing a "Question of the Quarter" to generate discussion with and among members. This quarter's question is: 


What are the pros and cons of AEA instituting a certification and/or credentialing program?


Share your ideas on this important topic via the comments online at aea365. Just scroll to the bottom of the page, add your thoughts in the box, and click submit! We value your input and look forward to your responses.

The Faster Forward Fund - A Novel New Approach 

Do you sometimes come up with ideas that are off the beaten path? Do you envision the potential of new ways of looking at or doing things? Would you care to weigh in with ideas for new ways of evaluating that could help change the world and improve the field?

The Faster Forward Fund (3F) is a new endeavor founded by Michael Scriven, with the intent of accelerating both the theory and practice of evaluation by fostering innovative research, establishing new funding mechanisms and even, yes, out-of-the-box ways of thinking.  The impetus behind the initiative is to provide an alternative to the current funding structure, which requires more rigid structure and less long-term flexibility, in an effort to more rapidly accelerate the pace of progress.

"This focus," Scriven explains, "is an attempt to take seriously the implications of the common remark by Nobel laureates that the main flaw they see in standard scientific funding is the natural reluctance of the system to back revolutionary but long-shot proposals when doing so would deprive deserving and less risky proposals of support."

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to find ways to strengthen and improve evaluation tools, enhance understanding and usability, as well as to nurture newcomers to the field, challenge everyday views and simultaneously improve the world around us. Special support and weighting will be given to initiatives that show significant signs of benefitting those with serious unmet needs. So, if you have ideas that you've been slow to voice or share due to their more novel or less mainstream approach, perhaps you might consider submitting your ideas to 3F. To help get your creative juices flowing, visit the site where a few suggestions are offered. Let nothing limit the possibilities, the potential partnerships, and the prose that might spur real change and true progress both in the field, among our peers and within our global community.

For more information, visit the Faster Forward Fund website. 

Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools

DonaldsonAEA member Stewart I. Donaldson is editor of two new books that will explore the intersection of evaluation and psychology. Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work and Society is published by Routledge.

From the Publisher's Site:

"Positive psychology has experienced extraordinary growth over the past decade. Emerging research in this area is suggesting new strategies for improving everyday life, healthcare, education systems, organizations and work life, and societies across the globe. This book will be of interest to all applied psychologists, applied researchers, social and organizational psychologists, and anyone interested in applying the science of positive psychology to improvement of the human condition."


From the Author:

"Positive psychology is becoming known as the science of thriving and flourishing. The theory and research coming out of this area is in high demand as evidenced by an explosion of new funding, peer review publications, university courses and programs, and best-selling books. However, this is the first book to specifically focus on how to apply these findings to everyday life and how theory-driven evaluation might be used to improve the development of this new field."

"Working closely with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on this book, and on building evaluation into the positive psychology movement, has been truly an intellectual high for me. My colleagues and I invited the most prolific thought leaders in this new area to share with us their research and wisdom and many of the theories and empirical research studies on optimal human functioning seemed to have direct application to program design and evaluation."

Social Psychology and Evaluation, edited with AEA members Melvin M. Mark and Bernadette Campbell, will be released later this year. Stay tuned for details.

About the Author:

Stewart I. Donaldson is Professor and Chair of Psychology, Director of the Institute of Organizational and Program Evaluation Research, and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University, which offers one of the most extensive and rigorous graduate programs specializing in evaluation. He is serving a three-year elected term on the Board of AEA and is on the Editorial Boards of the American Journal of Evaluation, New Directions for Evaluation, Evaluation and Program Planning, Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, and the SAGE Research Methods Online. Donaldson has authored or co-authored more than 200 evaluation reports, scientific journal articles, and book chapters. Recent books and volumes with colleagues include: Social Psychology and Evaluation (2011); Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society (2011); NDE's Advancing Validity in Outcome Evaluation: Theory and Practice (2011); What Counts as Credible Evidence in Applied Research and Evaluation Practice? (2008); Program Theory-Driven Evaluation Science: Strategies and Applications (2007); Applied Psychology: New Frontiers and Rewarding Careers (2006); and Evaluating Social Programs and Problems: Visions for the New Millennium (2003).


Go to the Publisher's Site

Nominations Due for Board Members, Conference Proposals & AEA Awards

Each year, AEA invites its members to thoughtfully consider its next generation of leaders, to lend to the professional development of others via AEA's annual conference and to nominate colleagues who've already made a difference in the field. 


Three important deadlines are upcoming:

Thank you for your contributions to the life of the association!

Three-Part Series on Collaborative, Participatory & Empowerment Evaluation

The Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment TIG is sponsoring a three-part webinar series. For three weeks in March, we'll offer one webinar each on Collaborative, Participatory, and Empowerment evaluation. Each webinar will define one of the three types of CPE evaluation, differentiate it from other types of evaluation, explain the underlying theory and how it translates into practice, include resources for learning more, and include time for questions at the end. The short series should be an excellent primer or refresher on CPE evaluation.


Empowerment Evaluation with David Fetterman and Abraham Wandersman

Register: Free for AEA members 

March 3, 2011, 2:00 - 2:20 PM EST

Participatory Evaluation with Ann Zukoski and Mia Luluquisen

Register: Free for AEA members 

March 10, 2011, 2:00 - 2:20 PM EST


Collaborative Evaluation with Rita O'Sullivan and Liliana Rodriguez-Campos

Register: Free for AEA members 

March 31, 2011, 2:00 - 2:20 PM EST

Seeking Proposal Reviewers

Volunteer Opportunity: AEA will receive over 1000 proposals for our annual conference, Evaluation 2011, to be held in Anaheim this coming November. Each proposal is reviewed by at least two reviewers and the review process is overseen by AEA's 40+ Topical Interest Groups. Proposal review is done during the month of April and involves reading and rating a set of proposals within a particular topical area.


The reviewers perform a vital function in helping the association to pick quality content for our premiere event. Thank you in advance for considering serving in this capacity.


If you would like to be considered to be a reviewer, there are two ways to sign up:


1. If you are submitting a conference proposal, sign up to be added to the potential reviewer list right on the proposal submission form.


2. If you are not submitting a proposal, please review the list of TIGs at and then complete the very short online form at  to be added to our reviewer database  


Please note that each TIG selects its own reviewing team. By signing up to indicate your interest in reviewing, your name will be forwarded on to the TIG program chair but you may or may not be chosen as a reviewer. You will be contacted by the TIG leaders directly with further information and details about reviewing for that TIG if they wish to seek your assistance.

New Jobs & RFPs from AEA's 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: 
  • RFP - Consultant; Final Evaluation of Malaria Prevention Project at American Red Cross (Haiti) 
  • Director of Program Evaluation at Jack Kent Cooke Founcation (Lansdowne, VA, USA) 
  • Managing Director at Randi Korn & Associates Inc. (San Francisco, CA, USA)  
  • Lead Evaluator at The Evaluation Group (Charlotte, NC, USA)
  • Grant Writer/Grant Specialist at Research Associates (Atlanta, GA, USA) 
  • LT Senior M&E Officer at IBTCI (Sana'a, YEMEN) 
  • Call for Expressions of Interest from Evaluation Consultants at International Labour Office (Geneva, SWITZERLAND)
  • Senior Research Associate at Synergy Enterprises Inc. (Silver Spring, MD, USA)
  • Child Outcomes Study, Invitation to Negotiate at Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County (Boynton Beach, FL, USA)
  • Assistant/Associate Professor of Public Health, Tobacco, and Other Drugs at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN, USA)

Descriptions for each of these positions, and many others, are available in AEA's Online Career Center. According to Google analytics, the Career Center received approximately 6,500 unique page views 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
Get Involved
Get the most from your membership by taking advantage of the many things that you can do right now to participate in the life of the association, share your input, and promote your business.    
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