Newsletter: July 2014 

Vol 14, Issue 7

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Message from the President: The Question of Competencies

 

Dear AEA Colleagues, 

 

In the February newsletter, I noted that at its June meeting, the AEA Board of Directors planned to have discussions about credentialing and certification. 

We did, indeed, do this, and I'd like to invite you to get involved in our ongoing conversation. Front and center in these conversations is how to address the matter of evaluator competencies.

It is our good fortune to have two members of our board - Jean King and Donna Podems - who are especially knowledgeable about the state of discussions around the world on competencies, credentialing, and certification. They both authored articles on the topic in "The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation" this year, and the board reviewed these articles in preparation for our discussion.

Jean and Donna informed us that, although the Canadian Evaluation Society and the Japanese Evaluation Society are the only professional evaluation organizations that have established credentialing systems, a number of other evaluation organizations and associations have developed lists of evaluator competencies. Such efforts are moving the field of program evaluation forward as a profession. However, a key challenge that any evaluation association faces when deciding to move toward certification is the lack of empirical studies on the link between competencies and high-quality, useful evaluation. 

AEA has discussed the issue of certification for many years, but we have never endorsed or adopted competencies for evaluators. Is it time to do so?

To help facilitate this discussion, Donna Podems will lead a listening post at Evaluation 2014. The listening post will be an opportunity for you to weigh in on what the next steps should be for AEA in terms of establishing a set of evaluator competencies. Should AEA move in that direction? If so, what should those competencies be? Who should establish them? How? What would the purpose be? 

We hope you will join us for that conversation - it will be a significant opportunity to help shape the future of evaluation. 

In closing, I'd like to share just one of the exciting ways AEA members are helping to prepare us for Evaluation 2014. Patricia Rogers and her team at BetterEvaluation are creating a space in their "52 Weeks of BetterEvaluation" blog for discussion in August and September about the conference theme, Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future. Enrich your discussions at the conference by getting involved in this conversation prior to the conference. Also, be sure to check our conference webpage often, as more details will be announced regarding the presidential strand and plenary sessions soon. And don't forget to vote in the AEA elections, if you haven't already done so. Elections close on Wednesday, August 6. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on competencies, as well as the many areas surrounding our conference theme, at Evaluation 2014. See you in October in Denver!

Warm Regards, 





Beverly Parsons
AEA 2014 President

In This Issue
Face of AEA
Diversity
Policy Watch
p2i
Evaluation 2014
Six-Word Story
2014 AEA Ballot
Volunteer Opportunities
Nominees Sought
Student Travel Awards
CREA Conference
eLearning Update
New Job Postings
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
Join our Mailing List!
Welcome, New AEA Members!
Rachel Boren
Vanessa Carol Broadnax
Andem Effiong
Crystelle Egan
Sharon Flanagan-Hyde
Peter James Hubbard
Caroline Kirschner
Sharon Maureen Knight
David Kochalko
Kevin Koegel
Kristy Madsen
Jeremy Martinez
Michael E. Mitchell
Christopher James Peters
Susan Pfefferle
Mashal Rahman
Alicia K Ranney
Diana Reindl
Grisel M Robles-Schrader
Beth S Rous
Aurel Emerson Smith
Amber Stohr
Amanda Strickland
Chris Sullivan
Danielle Varda
Leslie Vasquez
Chenzi Wang
Face of AEA -  Meet David Rose

 

Name: David Rose 

Affiliation: The University of Melbourne, Australia 

Degrees: BA and BSW, La Trobe University; MSW, MAE, and PhD in Social Work, University of Melbourne

Years in Evaluation Field: 17

Joined AEA: 2014

  

Why do you belong to AEA? 

  

The AEA has a great range of resources, publications, and interest groups for beginning and experienced evaluators alike. As an evaluator based in Australia, I have always valued membership in the local evaluation association and see membership in AEA as building on this to provide access and linkages to an even greater number of like-minded evaluators from around the world.  

  

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

 

Early in my career as a social worker I became involved in designing and implementing new programs in the areas of mental health and criminal justice and naturally developed an interest in how programs and services could be evaluated. I gradually started to learn more about evaluation "on the job" and ultimately gained formal qualifications in evaluation. I continued to be fascinated by evaluation and its potential to improve understanding of the programs and services that could be implemented to best meet the needs of people in complex human service contexts. Now, I teach program design and evaluation to social work and other human services students. I am passionate about encouraging students to understand the role of evaluation in contributing to the evidence base for human service programs and interventions, but also evaluation's potential as a tool for social justice.   

 

What's the most memorable or meaningful evaluation that you have been a part of?
One of the first substantial evaluations I was involved in was the evaluation of a program for released prisoners who had a mental illness. The program operated in a complex interface between the criminal justice and mental health systems and between the prisons and the community sector. A key challenge of the evaluation was engaging the highly disadvantaged service users in the evaluation process and making sure their stories and experiences were not lost in the more routine data presented. As a new evaluator, the process taught me much about the need to engage multiple - and sometimes conflicting - stakeholder groups, the role evaluation can play in highlighting the needs of disadvantaged groups, and how to manage the sometimes inevitable politics that surround evaluations!

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

Most importantly, join an evaluation association such as AEA! The resources and training available are invaluable, and even as a more experienced evaluator I continually learn new gems from services such as the AEA365 Tip-a-Day. Evaluation associations are also a great way to make connections with experienced evaluators - I have always found evaluators to be very collegial and willing to share their expertise. There are also many great resources on the Web - see, for example, BetterEvaluation. Finally, consider a specialist evaluation course to further develop your knowledge and skills.

 

AEA's more than 7,800 members worldwide represent a range of backgrounds, specialties, and interest areas. Each month, we profile a different member via a short question-and-answer exchange. If you would like to be featured in a future Face of AEA profile, send an email to [email protected]
Diversity - OPENing Up About Cultural Competence

 

From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters


On June 26, 2014, AEA affiliate the Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) sponsored Cultivating Cultural Competence in Evaluation: Because Evaluations Are Not Culture-Free, a panel and roundtable discussion event focused on actively engaging issues of culture with evaluation activities and the application of the AEA Statement of Cultural Competence in practice. Created and disseminated in 2011 by the AEA Cultural Competence in Evaluation Task Force, the AEA Statement of Cultural Competence served as one of the anchoring resources for this event, contributing definitions and key concepts as guidance and reference. Local, respected panelists were invited to share their experiences with cultural competence in evaluation in their respective disciplines during the event, which was led by Kari Greene, senior research analyst at the Oregon Public Health Division and leader of the policy subgroup of the AEA Cultural Competence Working Group. Attendees were presented with the unique opportunity to interact and engage with each other to address the bevy of burning questions surrounding culturally competent evaluation. What resulted was an exuberant exchange and an escalated desire to contribute to cultural awareness in practice.


What happens when culture is not addressed in evaluations? What do culturally responsive policies look like? These were just a few of the many questions that served as the center pieces for the panel and roundtable discussions. Inspired to facilitate a local conversation with the Oregon evaluation community, Greene was hopeful that this event might serve as another foundational step for OPEN and the evaluation community to actively engage in issues of culture in practice. Greene and OPEN set out to conquer the following objectives: 


 

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of core components in the AEA Statement of Cultural Competence in Evaluation.
  • Offer participants an opportunity to reflect on the role of culture in their evaluation-related work.
  • Build capacity in the Pacific Northwest evaluation community to engage in issues around culture. 


Featured panelists haled from a variety of evaluation walks of life with differing applications of CRE and the AEA Statement of Cultural Competence. "My vision of evaluation as intervention is focused on ways in which evaluations become a tool toward the promotion of social justice. I applaud the AEA Statement on Cultural Competence; too often, the components of evaluations - theories, methods, data, analyses, findings - are viewed as objective facts," says Thuan Duong, researcher at the Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services and featured panelist. "The AEA statement effectively challenges these assumptions and, in doing so, centralizes cultures and identities, including intersectional identities, as priorities in evaluation. When evaluators pay attention to culture, our communities are better served, and we create opportunities to ameliorate some of the inequities in our society. My participation in the OPEN panel on cultural competency in evaluation was rooted in my desire to continue the work of promoting equity and justice for and among all our communities. I am thankful OPEN, spurred by the AEA statement, created space for these conversations in our field."


This year's OPEN event received rave reviews from excited attendees and represented a huge step forward in the fostering of a more diverse evaluation practice. Kari Greene expressed a great desire for OPEN to host follow-up roundtable discussions to supplement the current dialogues on culturally competent evaluation. AEA would like to thank Kari, OPEN, and the AEA Cultural Competency Working Group for their extraordinary dedication to the dissemination of the AEA Statement on Cultural Competence. This statement affirms the significance of cultural competence in evaluation and informs the public of AEA's expectations concerning cultural competence in the conduct of evaluation. It is a pleasure and honor to see the statement serve as a purposeful resource to the evaluation community at large. 


To learn more about OPEN, click here. For printable copies of the AEA Statement of Cultural Competence, click here.
 

Policy Watch - Focus on State Evaluation Policy 

Oros   

From Cheryl Oros, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF)


This year the EPTF has expanded its focus and efforts beyond the US federal level to include evaluation policy issues at the state level. To encourage better understanding, communication, and partnerships between AEA and the state public policy world, Rakesh Mohan (an EPTF member and director of the Office of Performance Evaluations, Idaho State Legislature) organized a panel for Evaluation 2014 addressing the question: What types of new partnerships should we build to promote the use of evaluation among public policymakers? The partnerships in question should help us better understand policymakers' information needs and allow AEA to do a better job informing policymakers of the value of evaluation in making informed policy and program decisions. Panel members will include the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the vice president of government performance at The Pew Charitable Trusts (see http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/pew-macarthur-results-first-initiative), and the chair of the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee for the Idaho State Legislature (see http://csgjusticecenter.org/jr/about/).


All state legislative program evaluation offices and their staff are members of the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society (NLPES), as well as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The NLPES conducts a survey of states every two years to update its report "Ensuring the Public Trust." The most recent report (2012) is available here. The report covers evaluation within the legislative branch, including the roles legislative program evaluation offices play; their products; the impact of their studies; requirements for using evaluation standards and undergoing peer reviews; oversight of the evaluation office; the organizational placement of the evaluation office within the legislative branch; the extent of independence granted to the director of evaluation office; and how evaluation projects are assigned/selected. The report also includes one-page profiles of each office and how to contact it.   

 

The report notes that most state legislatures have created specialized units (averaging 28 staff members). These units conduct research studies and evaluate state government policies and programs, generally following the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) federal "Government Auditing Standards" (or "Yellow Book"), with some also mentioning the AEA guiding principles. To meet legislative information needs, most offices issue reports that include recommendations for legislative action. To facilitate such activity, many offices' reports also identify statutory sections that would be affected by the recommendations, with some estimating fiscal impact. Most offices conduct follow-up reviews on a majority of their reports to determine whether agencies have taken action to correct problems identified in previous studies.

It will be interesting if future surveys can explore in more depth the evaluation policies used by these offices and also in offices beyond the states' legislative branch. If you work in state evaluation offices, we would like to hear from you about your work - particularly the evaluation policies in place and plans for policy development (you can reach me at [email protected]).
Potent Presentations Initiative - It's Message O'Clock
From Stephanie Evergreen, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 
 
What an exciting time it is! With session acceptance notices in hand, it's time to start crystallizing your presentation's message. The message drives the rest of your session content, so getting it right is really important. 

This year, AEA President Beverly Parsons has been challenging conference goers to explain their vision for evaluation in just six words. The six-word story is a helpful exercise - do it for your presentation, too! Getting your core message down to six words is a great way to start and end your presentation. 

Of course, you'll have more than that to say. So flesh out the rest of your content using our Messaging Model Handout. You will insert your six-word presentation story in the Bottom Line section (and expand just a bit on it there, too). The rest of the sections on the handout guide how much of your time and content you should share, and in what order. The messaging model can support the development of paper, panel, demonstration, skill-building, and expert lectures.

Presenting a poster instead? This is still the best time to start thinking about the key messages to convey on your poster. Review our guidelines for posters for inspiration!  
Register Today for AEA's Evaluation 2014, Oct. 15-18, in Denver

 


 

Registration is now open for Evaluation 2014, the 28th Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association. The conference will be held at the Colorado Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency on Oct. 13-19, 2014. 

 
What's Your Six-Word Story? 
AEA President Beverly Parsons invites you to write and share your six-word story about what
Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future means to you. That's right -- six words! Write your story about what the above conference theme means to you on a white sheet of paper using only six words. Next, take a picture or video of yourself and your story and send it to [email protected]. Learn more here and send us your six-word story today!

 

Ready to tell your story? Take a picture or video of yourself and your story and send it to [email protected]

Vote Now! 2014 AEA Ballot is Now Open!
The AEA ballot is now open! Cast your vote today for AEA's 2015 President-elect and Board Members-at-Large! Please take a moment to carefully consider each candidate, as thoughtful selection of the leadership ensures the vitality and longevity of the association. The ballot includes extensive personal statements developed by each nominee to help you make informed selections.

You may vote at any time between today and 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, August 6. You are allowed to vote one time.

Click here for more information.
AEA Needs You! Volunteer Opportunities with AEA
AEA values the active engagement of its members. So we are recruiting volunteers to work on specific projects in the next few months. Below are the current volunteer needs. If you are interested in serving in some capacity, please contact the emails listed below. AEA values diversity and seeks volunteer representatives with a variety of backgrounds, skills, perspectives, and demographics. See AEA's Values Statement to learn more.


Membership Survey Working Group: AEA periodically surveys its membership for input on the value of its programs and products. We are preparing for a membership survey to be released in early 2015. We need individuals who have a research background and are passionate about AEA as an organization. We anticipate monthly conference calls from August - January followed by a period of analysis of the data received with a final report to management by May 2015. Please contact Denise Roosendaal if you are interested in volunteering on this project.  

Nominees Sought for AEA Representative to IOCE for 2015-2017

Deadline: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

  

The International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) is an alliance of regional, national, and international evaluation organizations (associations, societies, and networks) from around the world that collaborate to:
 

  • Build evaluation leadership and capacity, especially in developing countries;
  • Foster the cross-fertilization of evaluation theory and practice around the world;
  • Address international challenges in evaluation; and
  • Assist the evaluation profession to take a more global approach to contributing to the identification and solution of world problems.

AEA's representative to the IOCE works with IOCE colleagues while representing a stance in alignment with AEA's mission, vision, and values. He or she acts independently, yet brings questions or concerns back to the AEA Board. The IOCE representative submits a written report to the Board on her or his activities and relevant international evaluation issues each fall. The representative will serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2015, and ending December 31, 2017. 


The person serving in this position is likely a senior member of the evaluation profession, dedicated to the field, and has the breadth and depth of knowledge and practice required to speak authoritatively about evaluation issues in the international context. Individuals seeking to serve need to have a demonstrated range of relevant experience in evaluation and a commitment to representing the diversity of people and the international perspectives represented in the field and in AEA's membership.


The IOCE Board conducts most of its business through email and periodic Skype conference calls, but also meets face-to-face once a year, usually in conjunction with the conference of one of its member organizations. A virtual Annual General Meeting takes place in mid-December. The AEA representative would have her or his expenses paid to attend the annual IOCE meeting and would be expected to attend this meeting and participate regularly in IOCE meetings and conversations.

To learn more about the work of the IOCE, please review the IOCE website. Our current representative, Tessie Catsambas, is completing her term and is available for inquiries if you have specific questions regarding the position.

If you are interested in being considered as AEA's representative to the IOCE, please compile the following into a single file and submit it by Tuesday, September 2, 2014:

  • A one-page statement of interest telling us why you would like to serve
  • A one-page bio reflecting your evaluation background, experiences in international contexts, and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the association
  • A one-page letter of support for your nomination from another AEA member
  • A current curriculum vita or résumé

Please send your submission as a single file via email to the AEA office at [email protected]. The selection of the next IOCE representative will be made by the AEA President and President-elect, in consultation with the AEA Board.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact AEA President Beverly Parsons at [email protected].
Evaluation 2014: Student Attendance Travel Awards 

AEA is pleased to offer three kinds of student travel awards for Evaluation 2014 to students enrolled full-time at a college or university during the fall of 2014!


Prizes for each travel award include:

Type I: A $1,000 competitively awarded student travel stipend to offset travel costs to attend Evaluation 2014 for those who must travel more than 100 miles to attend the conference.
Type II: A registration waiver, a $105+ value, for those who will travel fewer than 100 miles to attend Evaluation 2014.
Type III: A $1,000 competitively awarded student travel stipend to offset travel costs to attend 
Evaluation 2014 for students who are identifying avenues for increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of people entering the field of evaluation and/or the cultural competence of evaluators more generally.

All applications are due August 8, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Click here to apply!
Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment Conference
Join your colleagues for the upcoming 2nd annual Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) conference hosted by the University of Illinois. The 2014 CREA conference, "Forging Alliances for Action: Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment Across Fields of Practice," will feature multiple engaging sessions on a variety of topics, including Meeting the Needs of Culturally Competent Evaluators, a panel presentation on the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) with Dr. Stewart Donaldson, Dr. John Lavelle, Dr. Ashaki Jackson, and a GEDI alumnus (September 18, 2014, 10:45 am - 12:15 pm).

Early bird registration ends on August 15, 2014. To register for the conference, please click here: https://www.conftool.com/crea2014/register.php
eLearning Update - Discover eStudy Courses 

Our eStudy program is made up of in-depth virtual professional development courses. Below are August's eStudy offerings: 

 

eStudy 046: Staying Power: Intermediate Consulting Skills for Evaluators - Gail Barrington 
August 11 and August 13

2-3:30 p.m. ET

 

Are you already managing a consulting practice? Do you find that you look forward to the field work but avoid dealing with the small business demands? Join Gail Barrington in this three-hour webinar series as she explores some of these challenging consulting management issues. Evaluators and applied researchers may be well versed in academic research processes, but uncertain about how to handle the entrepreneurial and small business management skills needed to be successful independent consultants. For those aspiring to have a thriving practice, this workshop addresses common problems encountered in the day-to-day running of a small consulting business and identifies some of the key issues faced by consultants. This workshop will help participants problem solve around the ongoing challenges of a consulting practice. For those looking to fine-tune their current professional practice, a seasoned practitioner/award winner/author will share from her more than two decades of experience. 

 

Read more and register. 

 

eStudy 047: Creating Surveys To Measure Performance and Assess Needs - Michelle Kobayashi

August 19, 21, 26, and 28

2-3:30 p.m. ET

 

Surveys for program evaluation, performance measurement, or needs assessment can provide excellent information for evaluators. However, developing effective surveys requires an eye both to unbiased question design as well as to how the results of the survey will be used. Neglecting these two aspects impacts the success of the survey.


This eStudy course will use lecture and homework assignments to review guidelines for survey development. We will use two national surveys, one used for measuring the performance of local governments and the other to assess the needs of older adults, to inform the creation of our own survey instruments. 

 

Read more and register. 

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: 
  • Sr. Manager for Performance Monitoring at National Democratic Institute (Washington, DC)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Program Evaluation Director at Ohio State University Extension (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Social Science Research and Evaluation Professionals at REESSI (Virginia)
  • Planning Monitoring Evaluation and Learning Officer (Markets Based Livelihoods) at Oxfam GB (Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom)
  • Data Analyst at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC) 
  • Research Analyst at ORS Impact (Seattle) 
  • Quantitative Evaluator at SageFox Consulting Group (Atlanta and Amherst, Mass.)
  • Program Evaluation Manager at Arizona State University (Phoenix)
  • Literary Researcher at American Institutes for Research (Washington, DC)
  • Performance Auditor at Broward County Office of the County Auditor (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Register
Get Involved
About Us
AEA is an international professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of evaluation in all its forms.

 

The association's mission is to:
  • Improve evaluation practices and methods.
  • Increase evaluation use.
  • Promote evaluation as a profession.
  • Support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action.
phone: 1-202-367-1166 or 1-888-232-2275 (U.S. and Canada only) 
websire: www.eval.org
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