Newsletter: March 2011Vol 11, Issue 3

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Embracing Environmental Responsibility

Greene.11Greetings AEA colleagues,

 

Troubles around the world persist - both those caused by humankind, as in the citizen uprisings in the Arabic world, and those caused by nature, as in the catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand and northeastern Japan. Following on from a winter of severe weather, it appears that Mother Earth may be angry - angry perhaps at her persistent neglect in the name of progress.

 

Again, what does evaluation have to do with these global troubles? Well, "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem" - an observation often attributed to 1960s American activist Eldridge Cleaver. In aspiring to be part of the environmental solution, AEA has initiated a number of environmentally-friendly practices, like foregoing soda cans for re-usable pitchers of water and juice at our conferences, supporting telecommuting for staff, and leading the way in moving from electronic to online journal access for associations - thanks largely to initiatives by our Executive Director, Susan Kistler. In 2007, the Board institutionalized our environmental commitments by voting that "as part of  their decision-making processes, the AEA Board, committees, and [staff] consider the environmental impact of policy, product, and service alternatives." (See the full list of AEA's green initiatives). A new Board task force, chaired by Beverly Parsons ([email protected]), is further examining the ways in which AEA as an organization can be more environmentally responsible in its activities, professional codes, and ethical responsibilities.

 

Beyond the organizational level, how is each of us environmentally responsible in our own evaluation practices? How do values of environmental consciousness, global sustainability, and compassion show up in our work? How does the profession of evaluation advance an environmental conscience and action? These are the kinds of values issues - in this case in the environmental domain - that I hope we are engaging throughout the year and in November at our annual gathering.

 

Meanwhile, thanks to all who submitted proposals for Evaluation 2011. Now, it is time for our TIGs to get busy with the proposal review process.

 

Happy Springtime!

 

Jennifer 

Jennifer Greene

AEA President, 2011

[email protected]

In This Issue
Policy Watch with George Grob
TechTalk with LaMarcus Bolton
Meet Bianca Montrosse
Book: Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth
Volunteer Opportunity
Data Den: Green Journals
New Job Postings
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
Policy Watch - Defending Evaluators' Independence
From George Grob, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force    

Grob

 

One of the most valuable assets and service offerings of evaluators is our independence. It is not just something we have, but also something we give. Our independence makes our evaluations more valuable to our clients and to the stakeholders of the programs we review. This is also true for our kindred professionals - social researchers, policy analysts, program analysts, and the like. Threats to our independence do loom from time to time, for some more commonly or seriously than others.

 

An excellent analysis of the potentially serious adverse results of such threats is found in a March 3 New York Times article by Ian Urbina, "Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas," which documents political and industry efforts to suppress the findings of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research on and recommendations regarding hazardous waste from a gas-drilling technique known as "hydrofracking." Unfortunately, as the article says, "More than a quarter-century of efforts by some lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to police the industry better have been thwarted, as EPA studies have been repeatedly narrowed in scope and important findings have been removed."

 

Your AEA leadership, including members of the Board of Directors and the Evaluation Policy Task Force were alarmed enough about this to write to the Editor of the Times. Here is the text of the letter signed by AEA President Jennifer Greene on March 7.

 

"Dear Editor,

 

The problem of political pressure on policy-oriented research and evaluation findings, such as that documented in Ian Urbina's recent article, goes far beyond environmental issues, urgent as these are. In a democratic society, policymakers and citizens alike need carefully collected evidence and even-handed evaluations about government initiatives that render their effects transparent to the public gaze. But, such evaluations cannot be credible or serve democratic interests if they are politically manipulated.

 

Political pressures on evaluators have been endemic since time immemorial, in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This is why the American Evaluation Association, in its recent policy statement on government evaluation (An Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective Government), has insisted on independence in the design, execution, report-writing, publication, and dissemination phases of their work.

 

Thank you for bringing this important matter to public attention, and especially for the article's careful reporting and documentation. 

 

Jennifer Greene, Ph.D.

President, American Evaluation Association"

 

While the letter was not published, AEA is on record in its defense of independence for evaluators and the related professionals from whose ranks most of us have sprung and with which we remain associated. We wanted you to know. 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 - Celebrating One Year of AEA's Headlines and Resources
From LaMarcus Bolton, AEA Technology Director

Bolton

Time flies. This month marks the one-year anniversary of our AEA Headlines and Resources list! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the feed, let me briefly tell you more about it! With the assistance of many contributors (that means you!), our Headlines and Resources list offers various types of information at-a-glance that may be useful to AEA members and the evaluation community as a whole.

 

The list contains four main headings. First, our "don't miss" heading refers to general AEA announcements, including information on webinars and our Thought Leader discussion series, new job postings, sponsored aea365 weeks, and other pertinent information. Second, our "AEA365 Tip-a-Day Alerts" heading covers the seven contributions from the prior week on our aea365 blog by and for evaluators (consider being a contributor!). Third, "New Funding Opportunities" highlights grants and other resources for evaluators that either our team found over the prior week, or that were sent to us by individuals within the evaluation community. Lastly, "Other Items of Note" provides a general platform to display interesting and relevant news, articles, and general information of relevance to evaluators.

 

Interested in subscribing? It's simple! The easiest, and perhaps most convenient method is directly via email. You can do so through our dedicated headlines and resources alert, or you can get notifications every Sunday through AEA's listserv, EVALTALK. Other ways of staying on top of the headlines and resources is through our Twitter account (follow us!), through our LinkedIn page, or even via our RSS feed.

 

If you are new to AEA, the headlines and resources list, or if you've seen an item of interest but simply forgot to bookmark it, worry no more! We have provided and encourage everyone to browse our archives, as there are tons of great information posted over the past year.

 

If you've read the feed, and have a suggestion for content, send us an email at [email protected] . However, if you have a question or suggestion regarding our technologies and/or processes, please do no hesitate to contact me at [email protected] . 

Face of AEA - Meet Bianca Montrosse
AEA's 6,500 members worldwide represent a range of backgrounds, specialties and interest areas. Join us as we profile a different member each month via our Questions and Answers column. This month's profile spotlights Bianca Montrosse, a member who became actively engaged as a student and young professional.

Montrosse 

Name, Affiliation: Bianca E. Montrosse, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations, Western Carolina University 

Degrees: Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Research Methods and Evaluation (Claremont Graduate University); M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Evaluation and Organizational Behavior (Claremont Graduate University); B.A. in Psychology (University of South Carolina - Columbia) 

Years in the Evaluation Field: 10 years
Joined AEA: 2002
AEA Leadership Includes: Program Chair for the Theories of Evaluation TIG; Past-President and Past-Program Chair for the Graduate Student and New Evaluators TIG; Graduate Student Representative to AEA's Membership Committee (2003-2006)

Why do you belong to AEA?

"Although my disciplinary training is rooted in Psychology, the American Evaluation Association has always been my "home."  For me, it is a place to be inspired and to inspire be it via the annual conferences, our journals, or our recently developed social networking initiatives (e.g., AEA365, Thought Leaders forum)."


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

"My fundamental belief in social justice colors everything that I do, including my chosen profession.  Early on, I recognized that evaluation was one of the many ways in which professionals were engaged in the promotion of social betterment.  For me, it was a natural fit and I have been passionate about the field of evaluation ever since."


What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of - and why?

"All of them have been memorable and meaningful in different ways, but the one I will highlight is the one I worked on for a majority of my graduate studies.  When I first began the doctoral program at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), my advisor Tina Christie asked me to join one of her evaluation projects.  This project was a formative evaluation of a federally funded Learning Communities Program housed at one of the community colleges in Southern California.  This evaluation was memorable for me because it allowed me the opportunity to augment and ground the formal training I was receiving at CGU.  The four years I spent working on this project were very influential in developing me as an evaluator."


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

"Put yourself out there.  I have made a lot of great personal and professional connections this way.  And, it does not necessarily have to be a large time commitment.  Volunteering to assist at the annual conference or writing an AEA365 blog post are both great ways to connect with those interested in the same kinds of topics within the field of evaluation while not being time intensive."


If you know someone who represents The Face of AEA, send recommendations to AEA's Communication's Director, Gwen Newman, at [email protected].
Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done 

ChangAEA member Mariko Lin Chang is author of a new book by Oxford University Press titled Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It.  

From the Publisher's Site:

"Women now receive more college degrees than men, and enter the workforce with better job opportunities than ever before. Indeed, the wage gap between men and women has never been smaller. So why does the typical woman have only 36 cents for every dollar of wealth owned by the typical man? How is it that never-married women working full-time have only 16% as much wealth as similarly situated men? And why do single mothers have only 8% of the wealth of single fathers?

The first book to focus on the differences in wealth between women and men, Shortchanged is a compelling and accessible examination of why women struggle to accumulate assets, who has what, and why it matters. Mariko Lin Chang draws on the most comprehensive national data on wealth and on in-depth interviews to show how differences in earnings, in saving and investing, and, most important, the demands of care-giving all contribute to the gender-wealth gap. She argues that the current focus on equal pay and family-friendly workplace policies, although important, will not ultimately change or eliminate wealth inequalities. What Chang calls the "wealth escalator" - comprised of fringe benefits, the tax code, and government benefits - and the "debt anchor" must be the targets of policies aimed at strengthening women's financial resources. Chang proposes a number of practical suggestions to address the unequal burdens and consequences of care-giving, so that women who work just as hard as men will not be left standing in financial quicksand."

From the Author:

"The impetus behind this book occurred when I was driving home and listening to two day-traders on a local radio station talking about the day's market activity. As a sociologist whose research focused on inequality, I surmised that information about the stock market and investing were a class-based form of knowledge that likely contributed to the divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots." When my curiosity prompted me to investigate the extent of wealth inequality in the United States, I discovered that groundbreaking work had documented the tremendous racial wealth gap, revealing economic inequalities that were hidden when examining income inequality-but that women's economic status was still being studied through the lens of income. Because wealth is a more comprehensive indicator of long-term financial stability, I knew it was important to fill this knowledge gap in order to thoroughly understand how women are faring financially."

 

About the Author:

Mariko Lin Chang is a former Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. She currently works with universities to diversify their faculty and also works as an independent consultant specializing in data analysis of wealth inequality in the US.

 

Go to the Publisher's Site 

Volunteer: Professional Development Working Group

 

Looking for ways to get involved in the life of the association? AEA's Member Involvement Initiative (MII) has the following updates related to new volunteer opportunities within AEA. 

 

Professional Development Working Group: Are you interested in exploring how AEA can expand professional development opportunities? We're convening a working group to explore next steps in this area. The group will examine existing data about the current professional development opportunities provided by AEA, conduct a needs assessment, and identify alternatives for providing professional development opportunities (e.g., workshops, speaker's bureau, regional trainings, endorsing or supporting trainings offered by other groups) and their strengths and weaknesses as well as costs and benefits. It is also possible the working group may determine that AEA should not expand professional development opportunities. The working group will generate (or not) a plan of action with concrete recommendations. The commitment for the group is approximately 1 year in length, with the goal of having a report completed by the spring of 2012. It is estimated that the group will meet monthly via conference call and conduct the rest of its business via email exchange in between meetings. Working group members will be expected to commit an average of 3 to 4 hours per month. The actual number of hours per month will vary depending on the work schedule. If you are interested in participating on this working group, send an email by Monday, April 18, to Susan in the AEA office at [email protected] noting your interest and any background in this area. 

 

Data Den - Greening AEA Journal Subscriptions

Welcome to the Data Den. Sit back, relax, and enjoy as we deliver regular servings of data deliciousness. We're hoping to increase transparency, demonstrate ways of displaying data, encourage action based on the data set, and improve access to information for our members and decision-makers.

 

AEA members receive subscriptions to the American Journal of Evaluation (AJE) and New Directions for Evaluation (NDE) as part of their member benefits. Both journals are available in hard copy and online electronic form. As of 2009, AEA members were offered the option to opt-out of receiving the hard copy of either or both journals, and thus to access the journals only online. As of March 2011, 19% of AEA members had chosen to receive their journals via electronic-only subscription.

  
  Journals by Subscription Type
  
How can I change my subscription type? At any time you can go to http://eval.org/, sign in, and from the "Members Only" pull-down on the right select "Update Member Profile." At the bottom of the profile page, you'll see the "Go Green" options where you can indicate whether you wish to receive the journals online online or online and in print. Alternatively, just send an email to Heidi in the AEA office at [email protected] and tell her your preferencess.

Can I change back? You are welcome to change your subscription options at any time during your membership. At any point that you make a change, it takes effect immediately in our database and all journal lists from that point forward will be compiled using the option you select until you change again. However, it is worth noting that there can be a lag time of up to four weeks between the time that we send a mailing list to the publisher and the time that a journal arrives on your doorstep, so there can be a delay in implementation of the change.

What prompted AEA to pursue an online-only subscription option? Offering journals via an online only option is both environmentally and fiscally responsible. Our contracts with each journal's publisher foster online subscription. Encouraging the membership to use the online-only option saves trees, saves shipping costs and reduces the environmental impact of shipping, and has been instrumental in AEA being able to avoid a dues increase for over 10 years.

How was the chart made? The chart was designed using Tableau software. In the Data Den Online, the chart may be filtered by journal or subscription type, and you can roll over any bar for more detail,  access the summary data table, or get an embed code or email link to share the graph. We're also starting a virtual Tableau users group with monthly online meetings. Join the discussion about it on AEA's LinkedIn group.
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: 
  • Senior Program Officer - GD, Monitoring Learning and Evaluation at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Seattle, WA, USA) 
  • CQI Research & Health Choices Coordinator at Community Behavioral Health (Philadelphia, PA, USA) 
  • Education Researcher - Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International (Menlo Park, CA, USA)  
  • Local Evaluator at Group Health Research Institute-Center for Community Health & Evaluation (Southern CA, USA)
  • Evaluation Analysts - Content Analysis - Short-Term Consultants at World Bank Institute (Washington, DC, USA) 
  • Consultant: Evaluation Specialist at United Nations Development Programme Evaluation Office (Home-based) 
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at Solidarity Center (Washington, DC, USA)  
  • Research Project Manager at M.A. Henry Consulting LLC (St. Louis, MO, USA)
  • M&E Systems Officer: Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning at National Democratic Institute (Washington, DC, USA)
  • Epidemiology Prevention Research Manager at Washington Dept. of Social and Health Services (Olympia, WA, 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 6,300 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
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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