Newsletter: January 2013
|Vol 13, Issue 1|
|A Year of Transition |
Yes, it's 2013! A belated Happy New Year to you all! I'm looking forward to my year as President of AEA. It's been a home to me for more than 25 years and it is a privilege to serve as President. I hope my work as President will honor the Association, the profession, and you as members!
We end 2012 in fantastic shape - our membership continues to grow, our finances are in good shape, and we continue to expand our roles in evaluation policy and with evaluation associations in other countries.
But, 2013 is an important year for AEA. Susan Kistler and her company have managed our organization for 15 wonderful years, during which time our Association has grown from 3,000 to 8,000 members and expanded into many new arenas. But, in 2012, Susan realized she wanted to pursue new professional and personal goals. Since, we have studied options for association management and - like many associations - are hiring an Association Management Company (AMC) to manage us and meet your needs. Our transition task force, chaired by Mel Mark and Stewart Donaldson, has worked very hard all fall to recruit AMCs and, ultimately, narrow our search to four very well-qualified organizations. In February, the Board will choose one of these, and in March the transition will begin. Susan will continue through May/June to help them learn the ropes.
Overseeing this transition will be my major priority, and that of the Board, in 2013. Our goals are to help the new AMC learn about our values and methods of governance, experience our wonderful volunteer community, extraordinary conference, and dedication to member participation and involvement while also permitting us to learn and grow from their vast experience with other associations. We will keep you updated on choices and changes as the year progresses.
I welcome your input on these topics and others. What are your thoughts on what's important in AEA management? What new things should we explore? I'd love to hear your ideas and views.
AEA President 2013
|AEA's Values - Walking the Talk with Kathy Newcomer|
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.
My name is Kathy Newcomer. I am a professor and the director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, home of The Evaluator's Institute (TEI), at The George Washington University. I serve on the AEA Board, and have previously served as President of the Washington Evaluators.
For over 30 years I have taught the art and the science of program evaluation to Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Policy and PhD in Public Policy and Administration students, as well as staff in the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office, the federal Offices of Inspector General and in many other federal agencies. And I have been fortunate to be able to provide program evaluation training to public servants in other countries including Egypt, Taiwan, Colombia, Nicaragua and Canada. In addition to teaching, I have been evaluating public and non-public programs in the Washington, D.C. area for well over 20 years.
The values of our Association, succinctly expressed in the AEA's Values Statement, permeate my evaluation teaching and practice. I place heavy emphasis in my teaching and mentoring on facilitating development of ethical practices, cultural competence and capacity to evaluate programs in order to serve the public welfare. I press my students to reflect on the role of values and ethical issues in evaluation practice through requiring them to design evaluations for real clients (and sometimes implement them as well), and to role play in difficult scenarios drawn from real life evaluation situations. My students are asked to make systematic assessments of the consequences of the decisions they make when faced with ethically ambiguous situations to help them sharpen their ethical sensibilities. Through intentionally deliberating on how different courses of action reflect the important values we honor, my students and I contemplate the impact of our values on our work and on our ability to serve the public good in our work.
Most of my students will not be professional evaluators, but they will lead and manage in public and nonprofit organizations. Thus, they need evaluative thinking skills, as well as an understanding of how to build and use evaluation capacity to improve programs and public services. Values, more than technical tools, will shape the decisions my students make as they strive to design, implement and improve public policies and programs. Understanding of and appreciation for the fundamental values that AEA has so eloquently elaborated will be the longer lasting gifts I strive to bestow on them and those whom they serve in their public service careers.
|AEA's 2012 Evaluation Practice Award |
The American Evaluation Association honored four individuals and one group at its 2012 Awards Luncheon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Honored this year were recipients in five categories involved with cutting-edge evaluation/research initiatives that have impacted citizens around the world. We'll spotlight each award in upcoming issues, and today extend our congratulations to Marco Segone.
- Marco Segone, Senior Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF
2012 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award
A New York City-based evaluator with international ties and influence, Segone is recognized for his pioneering role in the creation of professional associations around the world - including Africa, Latin American and Eastern Europe - as well as the integration of technology to more universally share knowledge, provide critical resources and build capacity.
"It is hard to find any professional evaluator who has had a greater influence on more individuals, institutions and associations than Marco has had," says Thomaz Chianca, an international evaluation specialist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"Marco has taken on the initiative of connecting the world of evaluators, ensuring that through webinars everyone could exchange, debate, share ideas. He has stimulated our thoughts and has acted as a facilitator and a convener for the global M&E community. This is invaluable," states Michael Bamberger.
Segone - who has been affiliated with UNICEF since 1996 - has helped deliver technical assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean; co-founded and chaired the Nigerian Monitoring & Evaluation Network with representatives of the Government of Niger, the United Nations, and the academic community; and co-founded the Brazilian Evaluation Network. Segone also served as vice president of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) from 2003-2005; has been elected three times as co-chair of the United Nations Evaluation Group's Task Force on National Evaluation Capacity Development; is co-chair of EvalPartners and forged a strategic partnership with evaluation associations including IOCE and the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS), as well as UN agencies and foundations, to create a website (www.mymande.org) that offers free access to live webinar series with internationally renowned keynote speakers, wikievaluation, videos, webchats and hundreds of resource materials. Since its launch in May 2010, more than 110,000 visitors from 160 countries downloaded more than 400,000 pages.
"Most of us engage in evaluation capacity building one person at a time, one team at a time, or at best, and most often, one organization at a time. Marco Segone, however, has a bold and ambitious goal of building the world's evaluation capacity, especially in developing countries," adds Hallie Preskill, 2007 President of AEA.
Go to AEA's Awards Page
|Face of AEA - Meet Saumitra SenGupta|
AEA's more than 7,800 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 Saumitra SenGupta, a former AEA Board member and an active TIG and local affiliates member.
Name: Saumitra SenGupta
Affiliation: California External Quality Review Organization for Mental Health
Degrees: Ph.D. in Program Evaluation and Planning (Cornell)
Years in the Evaluation Field: 23 years
Joined AEA: 1991
AEA Leadership Includes: Former AEA Board Member, Membership Committee Chair (twice), Visioning Committee Chair, LGBT TIG Program Chair, San Francisco Bay Area Evaluators Founding Chair. Currently, American Journal of Evaluation (AJE) Board Member.
Why do you belong to AEA?
"This is almost like answering the question, "Why do you belong to your family?
"In 1991, I attended my first AEA conference in Chicago as a graduate student. It was an amazing experience. I got to hear from great minds like Don Campbell, Bob Stake and Michael Scriven. I even managed to shake hands with Michael Patton, which was a big moment for me. And my advisor Bill Trochim invited me over for a late night drink with Mel Mark and Will Shadish. I found my evaluation heaven and haven at the same place. I was hooked. I belong to AEA because these and many other outstanding individuals and friends belong as well. I have been very proud to call AEA my professional home for over 20 years.
"AEA has gotten much larger and I hope that the organization will continue to provide such personal experiences to newcomers in the field."
Why do you choose to work in the field of evaluation?
"In the early 1980's, I was doing community outreach work with children with developmental disabilities in semi-rural areas around Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. The work was funded by UNICEF and we followed a model developed by the World Health Organization. I used to be mystified by the evaluation reporting requirements and occasional site visits by the evaluation experts from the West. That is how my interest in evaluation started and I decided that this is a field I would like to explore as a career."
What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of, and why?
"The most meaningful evaluation that I have been a part of was the evaluation of a mental health rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. This expanded into a more generalized study of what factors predicted the community tenure for individuals released from long-term facilities. The reason it stands out as meaningful for me is that the results of this study led to a new treatment intervention model with a population-specific and culturally-appropriate philosophy."
What advice would you give to those new to the field?
"Evaluation provides valuable information. There are many ways of acquiring knowledge. Depending on the context, evaluation relies on different paths to obtaining, analyzing and reporting information. Keep your minds open to these different paths. Pay attention to how your work informs the stakeholders and how it gets utilized."
If you know someone who represents The Face of AEA, send recommendations to AEA's Communications Director, Gwen Newman, at email@example.com.
|eLearning Update - Professional Development Opportunities - FREE!|
From Stephanie Evergreen, AEA's eLearning Initiatives Director
Last year, AEA offered more than 40 opportunities for quick, free professional development opportunities through our Coffee Break Demonstration webinar series. And you have access to the recordings in the AEA Webinars eLibrary. To view the recordings, you'll need your AEA username and password (click here to have them sent to you via email). At the same location you can also typically find handouts or slides to supplement the recording. Thanks to our 2012 presenters for an outstanding year, and for spreading the knowledge of our field!
Check out the titles:
|Diversity - $50 SAGE Publications Gift Card for Cultural Competence Plans|
From Karen Anderson, AEA's Diversity Coordinator Intern
Have you made your New Year's resolution list and checked it twice?
Well, haven't you heard? It's not too late to submit your New Year's resolutions for your plans to be more culturally competent in your evaluation practice.
There's an opportunity to win a $50 Sage Publications gift card by submitting your comments to the January 1 aea365 post!
Some of the Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group's activities in review for 2012 are noted in the post and include:
- Photo booth pictures from the AEA 2012 Annual Conference related to culture in evaluation
- Links to their two aea365 weeks that elaborate more on the Statement, its meaning, and applications
- Links to the Cultural Competence Statement resources
Please check out the other comments, and feel free to add your own. The contest ends on February 1 so get your responses in soon!
And feel free to share any comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Potent Presentations - Resolve in 2013 to Share p2i with Colleagues|
From Stephanie Evergreen, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator
It isn't too late - why not add a 2013 resolution to teach at least one coworker about the Potent Presentations Initiative? We've made this resolution super easy for you to achieve. In addition to handouts and related materials on our p2i Tools page, we have also recently added the original, editable training slides that we used at our Evaluation 2012 conference in Minneapolis.
Via these links, you can download the PowerPoint files, complete with suggested scripts, for roughly 90 minutes of training content on each of the three main areas that make a presentation potent:
The p2i Messaging Model
10 Differences that Make the Difference (on slide design)
With these files, you can also add your own work examples, adjust the content for the training time you have available, and launch discussions with your colleagues about increasing the potency of your work.
The presentations also contain places to pause and reflect or engage in an activity, so do read all the way through and snag any supplementary handouts you may need from the site.
Then, let us know how it goes! Show us how the presentations at your organization have evolved. Send an email to email@example.com.
|Learn "How To" from AEA - An Opportunity to Cast Your Vote|
From Susan Kistler, AEA's Executive Director
Over the past year, we've had quite a few requests to share the behind-the-scenes of AEA's projects as they have application outside of the Association. We're hoping to develop a 'how to' series, drawing on lessons learned from AEA's own programs. But, where should we start? Which of the topics would you like to see covered in 2013?
Here are the four options, and details of each. Go to this post on aea365 to cast your vote.
- How to create video slideshows
- How to set up/leverage/share a Twitter Feed
- How to prepare/record/distribute webinars
- How to set up/distribute/promote a blog
- We created video slideshows from the pictures from AEA's photobooth at Evaluation 2012. Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syzazSkBhRI. These are great for engaging stakeholders or as part of a reporting plan for evaluations using photovoice for data collection and reflection. We can share the free tool, how to create shows from your own photos, and tips for incorporating text and non-photo images.
- The innovative evaluation team was all over the 2012 AEA conference, encouraging people to use Twitter and share lessons learned with the hashtag #evalAHA during #eval12. Twitter is great for connecting with certain stakeholders, and getting the word out about a project or product. We can show you how to set up a Twitter account, how to find and subscribe to twitter-based content, and how to share a stream of Twitter reflections with the world like we did on the Evaluation 2012 homepage at http://www.eval.org/eval2012/default.asp.
- AEA delivered over 40 Coffee Break Webinars in 2012. Three of our most popular are the International Series that is publically available at http://comm.eval.org/coffee_break_webinars/CoffeeBreak/InternationalSeries. Webinars are great for providing training, distance-based reporting and meetings, and promoting your consultancy's services. We can share the tech tools we use, how to prepare, deliver, record, and share, and how to avoid the many pitfalls we've encountered.
- aea365, AEA's free Tip-a-Day blog by and for evaluators may be found at http://www.aea365.org/blog/. We can share how to set up a blog for your consultancy or evaluation project, how to make it easy for readers to subscribe, how to monitor key indicators, and tips we've learned along the way.
|What's Ahead for New Directions for Evaluation in 2013|
From Paul Brandon, Editor-in-Chief, New Directions for Evaluation
As of January 1, I took over as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of New Directions for Evaluation (NDE). I am honored to have been selected to fill this role and humbled to serve in the company of my 11 distinguished predecessors.
In light of the stellar leadership of past-EIC Sandra Mathison and her predecessors, I have big editorial shoes to fill. Fortunately, I have recruited an editorial board of distinguished members who will help me maintain the journal's quality of scholarship. Lois-ellin Datta and J. Bradley Cousins have agreed to assist me (in largely consultative roles) as associate editors. In addition to reviewing proposals and issues, I am reviewing and, when necessary, revising the online documents about the journal and have inaugurated the use of an online submission site.
Over the years, NDE has served well its purposes to provide a compendium of evaluation sourcebooks and to serve as a venue for consolidating the results of scholarship about new or emerging evaluation topics. Issues that are in the pipeline for 2013 will address performance management and measurement, data visualization, and mixed methods. The issues will represent the breadth of topics that is typical for NDE and will profile the work of evaluators both within and outside of the United States. As the guest editors will say in their introductory notes in the Spring 2013 issue on performance measurement and management, the contributing authors will "analyze different ways in which evaluation and performance measurement relate to one another in a wide range of contexts where performance management is being used within different nations, cultures and organizations-all with differing rationales and orientations." The data visualization issue will discuss the role and practice of data visualization, provide in-depth looks at both qualitative and quantitative data visualization (including multiple examples), and discuss future directions. The mixed methods issue will deal with long-standing methodological and philosophical topics, with a focus on the credibility of evidence in evaluation. The fourth issue for the year has yet to be determined.
Currently, I am somewhat concerned about the number of proposals and issues in the pipeline and about the pace of proposal development. I intend to actively recruit NDE volumes on topics that have not been covered recently or at all. Several possible topics for future issues were suggested in a Thought Leaders session that I led late last summer, and several guest editors have come forward with new ideas. I am particularly interested in hearing from non-American evaluators and will be happy to work with them to develop proposals.
NDE issues, in essence, are small edited books. Admittedly, preparing them is not a small endeavor. However, distribution to all AEA members is assured, and the ensuing breadth of readership is likely to be as great or greater than when publishing a standalone book. I urge AEA members to contact me with additional ideas for journal issues!
Go to the New Directions for Evaluation Web Page
|In Memoriam - Carol Weiss |
The evaluation world mourns the recent loss of Carol Weiss, an award-winning graduate of Cornell University and Columbia University who espoused a scientific approach to evaluation, conducted groundbreaking studies that explored the use of social research in public policy, and who was critical in the emergence of the field of research utilization. Weiss died on Jan. 8 at the age of 86 and news of her death spread quickly and drew an intense reaction from the evaluation community. Multiple memorials were posted on EVALTALK; former AEA President Leslie Cooksy's opening remarks launching the January Thought Leaders discussion forum paid tribute to her; and the upcoming September issue of the American Journal of Evaluation will honor her as well.
Weiss was the 1980 recipient of AEA's Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Science Award and she was also recognized widely for influencing the use of evaluation more broadly both within U.S. government as well as globally. She retired in 2006 and had served as a docent at the Boston Museum of Science.
"Evaluation lost one of its great pioneers when Carol Weiss passed away," noted Michael Quinn Patton in the EVALTALK listserv discussion board. "She provided my first publishing opportunity when, after hearing of a conference presentation I did, she invited me to write a chapter for her edited Knowledge Use book in the late 1970's. She put the issue of evaluation use at the center of evaluation practice and theory. Her theoretical and empirical contributions to the field endure. Dialogues, discussions and, yes, debates, with Carol Weiss over the years have had an enormous impact on the field in general and my own work in particular. We became not only colleagues, but allies in supporting use and opposing misuse."
Bill Fear recalled meeting Weiss at a conference. "I think she brought something to the table that many of us find uncomfortable," he shared on EVALTALK. "This quality was the willingness to advocate the questioning of our own, and others', inherent assumptions and to surface and test these assumptions rigorously."
Former AEA President Debra Rog said this: "One of the warmest memories I have of Carol is having her as a guest speaker at a conference of a small group (no longer operating), called the Knowledge Utilization Society. I will never forget her eloquence and scholarship, as well as the way she could inspire us to be better. One of the parts of her talk that I will always remember (and repeat often!) is when she spoke about an individual who made the most of his life - someone who was a physician, founded a medical school, and was a scientist (among other things). During his retirement, he worked on a book that was first published at age 73 and which he worked on until his death at 91. This person was Peter Roget, creator of Roget's Thesaurus. It was a great reminder that we can accomplish great things throughout our lives. It was a beautiful tribute to him, and I look forward to our doing the same for Carol over the course of this session and others to come."
|Using Complexity Theory for Research and Program Evaluation |
AEA member Michael Wolf-Branigin is author of Using Complexity Theory for Research and Program Evaluation, a new book published by Oxford University Press.
From the Publisher's Site:
Complexity as a paradigm has been underutilized by social work, but this cutting-edge pocket guide makes a convincing argument for its use. Every agency worker has been faced with a deluge of records, making it difficult to grasp onto structures and trends undergirding behavior. Complexity theory studies the interactions of competitive and cooperative tendencies of agents such as individuals, families, groups, or communities, making the case that there is a hidden order in things that are seemingly chaotic. Exploring their interactions involves identifying a set of simple rules that the agents follow, revealing patterns that emerge without a predetermined template.
Readers will learn how to frame their research using the components found in complex systems by using their existing knowledge of research methods and applying basic mathematical concepts. Concepts such as bordering between chaos and equilibrium, diverse perspectives, diverse heuristics, robustness, and wisdom of crowds are considered and applied to social work research studies. Basic introductions on game theory, graph theory, Boolean logic, decision theory, and network science provide the necessary mathematical background for understanding interconnectedness and networking.
- Lucidly introduces a long-used physical and social science research technique to social workers
- Demonstrates agent-based modeling as a research method
From the Author:
"Social work as a discipline relies heavily on ecosystems theory and the person-in-environment perspective as an undergirding framework; however, most of the currently used evaluation methods to measure program effectiveness have limited application. Before completing my Ph.D., I worked in substance abuse administration and evaluation for two decades. What I realized was that the experimental and quasi-experimental designs learned in graduate school were useful for testing new interventions, but did not sufficiently address several evaluation concerns I had. Greater attention needed to be given to social supports, location using spatial analysis, and simulation modeling."
About the Author:
Wolf-Branigin is an associate professor of social work at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he teaches classes in research, technology, and social policy. His primary research areas include addictions, disabilities, and human trafficking. He and his wife Karen live in Washington, DC.
Go to the Publisher's Site
Evaluation Humor/Art - A Graphic Farewell and Best Wishes
Every issue, we spotlight the work of a talented member. Below is an illustration by Chris Lysy, a research analyst at Westat and a regular contributor. He captured this likeness while on site at Evaluation 2012 in Minnesota. It's our way of saying thanks to a phenomenal and fearless leader and we wish her all the best on her new endeavors.
If you have an illustration or graphic you'd like to share, feel free to forward it to Newsletter Editor Gwen Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|New Member Referrals & Kudos - You Are the Heart and Soul of AEA!|
|Last January, we began asking as a 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 December. The following people were listed explicitly on new member application forms:
Australiasian Evaluation Society * Gillian Barclay * Fabrice Beretta * Richard Blue * Carleton University, IPDET * Emory University * EvalPartners * Barbara Estrada * Oscar Garcia * Tara Gregory * Wayne Harding * John Hitchcock * Idaho Department of Health and Welfare * Jonathan Jones * Suzanne Le Menestrel * Chris Lovata * Theresa Murphrey * Teresa Nesman * Tehout Selameab * Dawn Hanson Smart * Susan Staggs * Stellenbosch University * Nancy Stutts * Jennifer Sulewski * Dawn Terkla * USAID * Visitor Studies Association Listserv * Clif Watts * Berwood Yost
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:
- Research Associate at Walter R. McDonald & Associates Inc. (Rockville, MD, USA)
- Manager, WorkKeys Development at ACT (Iowa City, IA, USA)
- Public Health Statistician at St. David's Foundation (Austin, TX, USA)
- Director of Outcomes Assessment at University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (San Marcos, CA, USA)
- Program Evaluator at Association of American Medical Colleges (Washington, DC, USA)
- Associate Professor/Professor: Director of Urban Education Institute at University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA, USA)
- Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at NYC Leadership Academy (Long Island City, NY, USA)
- Senior Manager: Youth Development Evaluation Strategies at YMCA of the USA (Chicago, IL, USA)
- Research Analyst I at Los Angeles Universal Preschool (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
- PBRRTC Senior Researcher: ID# 13057 at Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (Honolulu, HI, 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 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.
|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