Newsletter: August 2012Vol 12, Issue 8

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A Time of Change

Hopson

Happy August/September colleagues!,

 

"Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again." (Bikram Choudhury).

 

Recently, a colleague in the field shared an audio book that has changed my life and it reminds me of changes afoot in the Association. In the book by Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?, the story of four characters Hem, Haw, Sniff, and Scurry is a story for every man and woman, boy and girl. The story reminds us (even with clear messages for us evaluators) to heed some very simple but profound realities of life, to name a few: i) change happens, ii) anticipate change, iii) monitor change, and iv) adapt to change quickly. Change is inevitable. Just as the seasons change from summer to fall or from winter to spring, our lives and circumstances change around and with us. Breathe.

 

With sincere appreciation for her tireless and committed work, and dedication to the mission and values of the Association, I announce that Susan Kistler (AEA's Executive Director and President of Kistcon Consulting) has decided not to renew her contract beginning July 1, 2013. It is by far the most difficult thing I have had to face as your President and it pains me to share this news with you. Breathe.

 

In a letter to the Board on Friday, July 13, 2012 co-written by Susan and me, we are committed to "a collaborative and mutual working relationship with the intent to move forward during this time in the Association's history." Our letter continues, "We continue to think that, with policy-based board governance transition underway, we are in a great position to maximize on the strengths of the Association, inclusive of strong leadership and volunteer support, financial stability, and ongoing ways to increase the role of the Association in the public sphere, both nationally and internationally." Susan has shown an esprit de corps within the Association that is both exemplary and contagious and has assisted us to realize the enormous benefits we savor now as one of the leading evaluation associations in the world. Breathe.

 

After vetted conversations with several former Presidents of the Association and current Board members for the last six weeks, I am pleased to report that a 7 member Task Force is being charged with selecting and recommending to the Board an AEA Executive Director and/or Association Management Company following research of ED/AMC models and options, consideration of important timeline decisions, and engaging membership at key points in the selection and transition process. Task Force members include:

  • Mel Mark, Co-Chair, former AEA President and Professor of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University,
  • Stewart Donaldson, Co-Chair, current AEA Board member and Dean of the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University,
  • Jody Fitzpatrick, AEA President-Elect and Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs at University of Colorado Denver;
  • Brian Yates, AEA Board Treasurer and Professor of Psychology, American University;
  • John Gargani, current AEA Board member and President of Gargani + Company; and two other non-Board members:
  • Ricardo Millett, Principal Associate, Community Science and Principal of Ricardo Millett & Associates; and
  • Robin Miller, former AJE Editor and AEA Conference Committee Chair and Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University.

Collectively, the task force members have financial, business, legal, and management acumen at executive, and/or organizational or administrative levels in their respective sectors of work, are committed and invested in the Association, are widely respected, and are proven leaders amongst other expertise expected as members of the task force.

 

Stay tuned for more information about the ED/AMC selection and transition process in subsequent newsletters and more information about the October conference, which will be featured in next month's issue. The conference is coming! The conference is coming!

 

With best wishes for a healthy, productive, and circumspect change of seasons!

 

Rodney 

Rodney Hopson  

AEA President 2012

In This Issue
Walking the Talk - Robin Lin Miller
2012 Election Results
Face of AEA - Todd Franke
eLearning - Repeat Performances
Diversity - Annual Conference Tips
Potent Presentations
EEN Unconference Update
2013 Conference - Save the Date!
New AJE Format
Book: Participatory Evaluation Up Close
New Member Referrals & Kudos
New Job Postings
Evaluation Humor
Register
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
AEA's Values - Walking the Talk with Robin Lin Miller

Are you familiar with AEA's values statement? What do these values mean to you in your service to AEA and in your own professional work? Each month, we'll be asking a member of the AEA community to contribute her or his own reflections on the association's values.  

 

AEA's Values Statement

The American Evaluation Association values excellence in evaluation practice, utilization of evaluation findings, and inclusion and diversity in the evaluation community.

 

             i.  We value high quality, ethically defensible, culturally responsive evaluation practices that lead to effective and humane organizations and ultimately to the enhancement of the public good.

             ii. We value high quality, ethically defensible, culturally responsive evaluation practices that contribute to decision-making processes, program improvement, and policy formulation.

            iii. We value a global and international evaluation community and understanding of evaluation practices.

            iv. We value the continual development of evaluation professionals and the development of evaluators from under-represented groups.

             v. We value inclusiveness and diversity, welcoming members at any point in their career, from any context, and representing a range of thought and approaches.

            vi. We value efficient, effective, responsive, transparent, and socially responsible association operations.

 

 


MillerI am Robin Lin Miller, currently Professor of Ecological-Community Psychology at Michigan State University, the United States' pioneer land-grant university. MSU is a wonderful institution for an evaluator because of its historic role as a national prototype for engaged scholarship. I came to MSU because of its engaged mission and its ability to walk its talk. I know what kind of communities I want to be part of and AEA's Value Statement tells me that when it comes to a professional home, AEA is it!

 

This year marks my 20th as a member of AEA. I have been privileged to serve AEA in a variety of roles, including Conference Chair and editor of the American Journal of Evaluation (AJE). In fulfilling these and other service roles, AEA's values statement defines what kind of professional community I should strive to create through every action, large and small. It inspires me to identify how I can contribute to fulfilling its vision of an ideal professional community. AEA's Guiding Principles challenge me to ask what I can do every day to support the vibrancy and growth of the evaluation profession and to create opportunities for all current and future AEA members to develop.

The AEA Values Statement lays out key sensitizing concepts for the evaluations that I conduct. It serves as an important reminder that when it comes to quality, technical knowledge of evaluation is simply not enough. To achieve an adequate measure of quality and impact, integrity and respect are an evaluator's sixth sense. I use the AEA Values Statement as a rubric for grading my own work process and its consequences. Quality, ethicality, and cultural responsiveness are my three-legged stool; when I am doing an evaluation, my team and I routinely reflect on whether our evaluation rests on a balanced stool and how we might adjust each leg to achieve an improved process and result.

As a professor, the statement pushes me to evaluate the opportunities I create for students who work on my evaluation projects critically. What quality of professional development experience am I providing and for which students? How well am I mentoring these junior colleagues into the profession? If communities are created by the actions of their members, and I believe this to be true, then I want to belong to a community that urges me to meet the standards set in the AEA values statement.

2012 Election Results

Please join us in welcoming and congratulating AEA's 2014 President and three new board members at large - and thank you all for taking the time to participate in this year's online election.

 

AEA's new officers will be sworn in at our annual conference in Minneapolis this fall. If you know them, take a moment to welcome them aboard. And if you don't, take time out at Evaluation 2012 to attend their official swearing-in. In a subsequent issue, we'll speak with each of them more personally. They begin their three-year terms in January.  

 Parsons

AEA President-elect-elect

  • Beverly Parsons, InSites

AEA Board Members at Large 2013-2015

  • Jean King, University of Minnesota
  • Jonathan (Jonny) Morell, Fulcrum Corporaton
  • Nicole Vicinanza, JBS International
Face of AEA - Meet Todd Franke, LPAT Member  

AEA's more than 7,000 members worldwide represent a range of backgrounds, specialties and interest areas. Join us as we profile a different member each month via a short Question and Answer exchange. This month's profile spotlights Todd Franke, an AEA member who currently sits on the Leadership Priority Area Team, which spearheads annual elections for the AEA President and Board of Directors. 
 
Franke
Name: Todd Michael Franke
Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles; Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare
Degrees: BA, MSW, PhD (Educational Psychology)
Years in the Evaluation Field: 20+
Joined AEA: 2000
AEA Leadership Includes: Co-chair Human Services Evaluation TIG (3 years), Leadership Priority Area Team, Thought Leaders Committee
 
Why do you belong to AEA?

"It provides me with exposure to the variety of ways different people and professions conceive of evaluation both intellectually and practically. In short, it is a philosophical and intellectual home." 
 

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

"Evaluation represents, for me, the intersection of research and practice. Evaluation is a place where I not only stretch my own intellectual boundaries, but have the potential to provide evidence that benefits researchers and practitioners at the same time and occasionally to the same degree. Evaluation provides me the space to examine the intersection between evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence. Most of the evaluation work I do is in the social sciences, broadly construed. One of the primary reasons I work in the field, to paraphrase a friend (Father Greg Boyle - Homeboy Industries), is because I believe that social service agencies are working to do good, but I think it's important to know whether they are doing well. Evaluation allows me to address this critical question in context. Through my work I not only offer information about if a program is doing well, but also why and how. My doctoral training in and love for applied statistics naturally positions me to address the impact questions that are such a critical part of what evaluation is and does. I began my career as practicing social worker, so I am also very clear about the value and importance of offering objective, systematic information to program stakeholders that can be used to improve their work."


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

"Partnership for Families (PFF) is a child abuse prevention program designed to address the needs of pregnant women and families with children age five years or younger who are at risk for child maltreatment in Los Angeles County. The five year $2.75 million evaluation was meaningful to me in a variety of ways and brought home for me, on several occasions, how politics can impact an evaluation in unexpected and even counter-intuitive ways. But that is what learning and experience is all about. The evaluation ultimately produced several exciting results and while I am no longer evaluating the program, the evaluation informed the adoption of a version of the program by the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services."
 

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

"Become part of AEA. Belonging to a professional organization pays dividends well beyond the obvious. The annual conference is always stimulating and perhaps more importantly, fun. Undoubtedly, I learn something new that influences my thinking or my practice or both each time I attend. It also allows me to meet up with colleagues whom I only see at AEA."

 

If you know someone who represents The Face of AEA, send recommendations to AEA's Communications Director, Gwen Newman, at [email protected].

eLearning Update - The Best Laid Plans

From Stephanie Evergreen, AEA's eLearning Initiatives Director  

Evergreen   

As I write this, we've just finished our first year of Professional Development eStudy webinars and the time is ripe for some High Fives.

15th eStudy High Five - Way to go, Kylie Hutchinson! She presented our 3rd eStudy and came back to present the 15th as well. Her workshop, Effective Reporting Techniques for Evaluators, was our most popular to date.

1st eStudy High Five - Bless your heart, Jennifer Catrambone. We were still finding our feet but she signed on anyway (and so did her audience), knowing we were going to figure some things out together. We've grown so much since then and welcome Jennifer on board to present again this month.

Did you notice a pattern here? We reschedule all successful and willing eStudy presenters every 9-15 months. If you thought you'd missed your chance, rest assured that we'll keep them coming back. Just keep your eye on the schedule.

Here's what's coming down the pike: In September, Kim Fredericks will return to talk about Social Network Analysis for Beginners and the veteran Jennifer Catrambone will be back to present on Nonparametric Statistics. Registration has closed for these two, but there's still time to sign up for our other September eStudy - Build Interactive Dashboards with Daniel Hom, from Tableau. In October, Tom Chapel is reoffering his Introduction to Evaluation eStudy; it is 8 hours of education for the 6 hour price. Details and schedule here.

Go to the eStudy Website Page

Diversity - Finding Cultural Competence at the AEA Annual Conference 

From Karen Anderson, AEA's Diversity Coordinator Intern

Anderson

Did you know that it won't take a treasure map to find out about the latest on practice, research, and trends in cultural competence in evaluation?

If you will be attending the AEA Annual Conference October 22th-27th, finding these resources should be as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Just go to the conference homepage, and click on the "Searchable Conference Program" link located on the lower right side. Then, on the searchable program page, type in cultural competence in the "Keyword in Title or Abstract" field and click "Search."

Voila! You've got a head start on what's being offered this year at the AEA Annual Conference on the topic of cultural competence in evaluation:

  • Brown Bag Idea Exchanges -new presentation format added this year!
  • Ignite Presentations - you can learn more about this format on the Potent Presentations website
  • Papers
  • Poster Presentations
  • Roundtables
  • Skill Building Workshops
  • Think Tank Sessions

This is just the beginning! Play around with different search terms and see what other wonderful resources you can find!

p.s. You can take these tips and apply them to any particular interest you have. So, happy searching for conference sessions specific to your needs! Two months and counting. See you there....

Potent Presentations Quick Tips & Checklist

Potent Presentations

We are inching ever closer to the annual conference. Is your presentation ready? You'll have less to sweat in October if you focus on these preparation steps now:

  • Practice! At least once per week, in varied locations, and at least twice in front of other people. Good presenters spend about 4 times the length of their talk just rehearsing that talk.
    • Ensure that your presentation highlights key points, your delivery is clear, and you can finish within the time allocated.
    • Do not read from a paper or even from your notes. Practice until you can give the presentation with only a glance or two at notecards to ensure you are on track.
  • Meet with co-presenters in person or online to practice together.
  • Tweak content.
  • If needed, develop a one-page handout that includes key material used during your talk (interactive rating sheets or a complex diagram, as examples). Include your name and contact information. Limit handouts to about 1 page and upload extended or related materials to AEA's eLibrary.
  • Proofread and spell-check. Spell-check and proofread. Please.
  • Send final presentation and other material (notes, slides, resources, papers) to session chair and all copresenters to encourage exchange and discussi

Download the whole preparation checklist here

 

When Kathy McKnight delivered her awesome eStudy, she used what she called a "rundown doc" to keep her on track. It notes the time each section of the talk should start, what key points she should be sure to cover, and what related materials or slides she needs at hand. And she was kind enough to share this great tool to support you in your presentation delivery. Grab her completed example and a blank template customize for yourself.

Go to the Potent Presentations website

"Un" is the New "In" - Environmental Evaluators Network Unconference
EEN sessionsMore than 160 environmental evaluators representing federal and state governments, consulting firms, academia and non-profit organizations descended on Washington, D.C. braving record heat (temps ranging between 95F-105F), humidity, and traffic on July 18-19 with one common purpose - to attend the Environmental Evaluators Network (EEN) Forum. The purpose of the EEN is to advance the field of environmental program and policy evaluation through more systematic and collective learning among evaluators and evaluation users. While the EEN is an independent organization, many of its members participate in AEA and share a common interest in environmental evaluation.

 

This year, EEN partnered with AEA to host its 7th Annual Forum: Environmental Evaluation in the Public Good. Other cosponsors included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Industrial Economics, EMI Consulting, American University and George Washington University. New this year, EEN decided to forgo the traditional conference to embrace an open space meeting Unconference format.  Unlike the traditional meeting format, the Unconference is participant-driven with the agenda being formed in real-time on the day of conference.

 

EEN openingOn July 17, attendees opted-in to register for one of three independently sponsored pre-forum workshops: Rapid Impact Evaluation, Systems Thinking and Evaluation, and Adaptive Management: Tools for Planning and Monitoring Conservation Projects. During the two day event, a total of 29 sessions occurred - some resulting from an exchange of ideas facilitated through an EEN moderated website (to gauge audience interest), while others emerged organically the day of the conference. Example sessions included: AEA's Role in Supporting Environmental Evaluators; Climate Change Evaluation; Designing Regulations with Evaluation Built-in, and Evaluators New to the Environmental Field. Some themes that emerged across the 29 sessions included: the appropriateness of particular methods, common challenges in environmental programs and their evaluation (unclear program theory, unintended consequences, different values among stakeholders - even hostility among partners in some cases, time lag, time scales, feedback loops that are not well understood), evaluator competence and environmental capacity building.

 

Shelley Metzenbaum, Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management at Office of Management and Budget (OMB), delivered the keynote address on the second day. Her remarks focused on a recently released memo - OMB M-12-14, 'Use of Evidence and Evaluation in the 2014 Budget,' an initiative to deliver 'Government that Works' by requiring agencies to report their programs' effectiveness. She challenged evaluation practitioners to find evidence, use it, and strengthen evaluation capacity. Before closing on Thursday afternoon, Forum attendees created eight teams that would continue discussions and product development for issues of critical importance to environmental evaluation (join a team!). To learn more about the Unconference agenda or to participate in individual post-session discussions, check out the 2012 US EEN/AEA Forum

2013 Conference - Save the Date!

Washington Hilton

We're excited to announce that the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association will be held October 16-19 in Washington, DC, at the Washington Hilton. We'll have pre-conference workshops on Monday-Wednesday, October 14-16, and then dive in on Wednesday afternoon with the opening plenary.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at this year's conference, October 22-27 in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Go to the 2012 Conference Website to Learn More

Exciting New American Journal of Evaluation Viewing Option

Another AEA member benefit? Starting with the September issue, the American Journal of Evaluation will be available in full-text HTML format as well as downloadable PDFs. This means you can more easily read the journal wherever you are and also print or save each edition for future reference.

"We've had success with the handful of social science titles we already have in HTML, and AJE will be in the first wave of trial social science titles," explains Leah Fargotstein, a SAGE editor who oversees social science journals. "Full-text HTML is a format of text that appears within the web browser, rather than in a PDF reader or as a downloadable file. This means as you expand and shrink your web browser, the text will automatically realign itself within the browser so you don't need to scroll or zoom. Reading articles on smaller devices such as mobile phones and iPads is much easier with full-text articles. Figures will appear as thumbnails within the text that you can expand in a separate window, or download to your device or computer. References will be interlinked within the text itself, so you'll be able to click on a reference and see it pop up over the text. In-text references to figures will also link back to the figure itself. Full-text HTML delivery should be a great benefit for AJE members." Adds Fargotstein. "Members can click from the AEA site on their mobile devices to the AJE website and easily read articles on their devices. Combined with AJE's mobile-optimized site, this should make reading AJE online even easier."

Go to the American Journal Of Evaluation Web Page

Participatory Evaluation Up Close

Cousins ChouinardAEA members J. Bradley Cousins and Jill Anne Chouinard are authors of Participatory Evaluation Up Close: An Integration of Research-Based Knowledge, a new book by Information Age Publishing.

From the Publisher's Site:

Empiricism provides the backbone of knowledge creation within social science disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology) and applied domains of study (e.g., education, administration) alike. Yet, relative to such domains of inquiry, comparatively little empirical research on evaluation has occurred, and the research knowledge base has been infrequently synthesized and integrated to influence theory and practice. The proposed book aims to fill this void with regard to participatory evaluation, a set of collaborative approaches to evaluation that is receiving considerable attention of late, including a growing body of empirical studies...

This book will be of central interest to evaluation theorists and to those who choose to conduct research on evaluation; appeal will be conceptual and methodological. It will provide excellent supplementary reading for graduate students, many of whom seek to develop empirical studies on evaluation as part of their graduate programs. Rife with examples of participatory evaluation in practice, and practical implications, the book will also benefit evaluation practitioners with an interest in evaluation capacity building and participatory and collaborative approaches to practice.

From the Authors:

"What sets this book apart is that it is among the most thorough and comprehensive reviews and integrations of research done in evaluation," notes Cousins. "As many have observed, research in our field has been somewhat limited yet there are growing bodies of research knowledge that are sufficiently mature as to offer the opportunity to take stock, conceptually and methodologically, and to provide direction for future inquiry. With this book we have made such a contribution in the domain of participatory evaluation."

He adds: "Apart from working with Jill, which is always a pleasure, what I personally found most rewarding about the project was exposure to the many and varied applications of participatory evaluation including their antecedent conditions, practices, and consequences. We rounded up 121 studies from several continents, collectively focusing on an extraordinary range of social and human services programs. It is heartening to learn about all of this good, often innovative work in the interest of social betterment."

About the Authors:

J. Bradley Cousins and Jill Anne Chouinard are both at the University of Ottawa. He is the Director of the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS), is a prolific author and the recipient of AEA's Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award in 2008.

Go to the Publisher's Site

New Member Referrals & Kudos - You Are the Heart and Soul of AEA!
As of January 1, 2012, we began asking as part of the AEA new member application how each person heard about the association. It's no surprise that the most frequently offered response is from friends or colleagues. You, our wonderful members, are the heart and soul of AEA and we can't thank you enough for spreading the word.

 

Thank you to those whose actions encouraged others to join AEA in July. The following people were listed explicitly on new member application forms:

 

Jack Bareilles * Paul Brandon * Prue Brown * David Campbell * Maureen Cochran * Hanh Cao Yu * Stacey Clettenberg * Ebony Dill * Grant Ennis * Wendy Erisman * Kristin Floress * Tina Goodwin-Segal * Allison Karpyn * Jean King * Karen Kirkhart * Barbara Klugman * Rebekah Levin * Donna Loveridge * Audrey Moore * Jane Ostrander * Lyn Paleo * Amy Pekok * Megan Popielarczyk * Karin Samii-Shore * Michael Scriven * Robert Seufert * Jesse Simmons * Debra Smith * Dan Violette * Rosemary White Shield

New Jobs & RFPs from AEA's Career Center  
What's new this month in the AEA Online Career Center? The following positions have been added recently: 
  • Evaluation Research Associate at Center for Social and Behavioral Research (University of Northern Iowa) (Cedar Falls, IA, USA) 
  • Management Research Analyst at Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ, USA) 
  • Research Associate at Shore Research Inc. (Austin, TX, USA)   
  • External Evaluation Consultant - Middle East at American Friends Service Committee (Philadelphia, PA, USA)
  • Research Associate at Prime Time Palm Beach County (Boynton Beach, FL, USA)   
  • Evaluation of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, Round 4 at UNICEF (New York, NY, USA) 
  • Design, Monitoring & Evaluation, MENA Specialist at Search for Common Ground (Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco, Lebanon, Jerusalem)
  • Evaluator at CA STD/HIV Prevention Training Center (Oakland, CA, USA)
  • Senior Associate - Community Change Research and Practice at Community Science (Washington, DC, USA) 
  • Evaluation Internship at Institute of International Education (New York, NY, 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 more than 3,800 unique visitors over the last 30 days. Job hunting? The Career Center is an outstanding resource for posting your resume or position, or for finding your next employer, contractor or employee. You can also sign up to receive notifications of new position postings via email or RSS feed.

 

Evaluation Humor - And Just What Does an Evaluator Do??
We're always on the watch for evaluation humor. And look what we found. An original that ran in the Genuine Evaluation blog. Thanks to Patricia, Jane and the anonymous creator for allowing us to share!

Humor 
If you come across an image you think fellow colleagues would enjoy, feel free to send to Gwen Newman, Newsletter Editor, at [email protected].   
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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