Newsletter: November 2014 

Vol 14, Issue 11

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Message from the President - It's Time to Put Our Vision Into Action 

 

Dear AEA Colleagues, 

 

It is hard to believe that Evaluation 2014 has already come and gone. Even though the conference is over, those who are interested still have a lot of work to do to carry forth the conference theme: Visionary Evaluation for a Sustainable, Equitable Future.

 

We've had a lot of excellent conversations around this topic. The next step is to move from conversation to action, individually and collectively. Here are four areas where I think evaluators can apply systems thinking and build relationships to help develop a sustainable, equitable future. What are yours?

 

In This Issue
Face of AEA
Diversity
p2i
Policy Watch
New IOCE Representative
New IOCE Representative
2014 Award Winner
New Job Postings
Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
Face of AEA - Meet Chari Smith 


Name: Chari Smith
Degrees: B.S., Psychology; M.S., Marketing 
Years in Evaluation Field: 13
Joined AEA: 2010
Affiliation: CRSmith Consulting, Evaluation into Action 

   

Why do you belong to AEA? I believe evaluation should be accessible, practical, and, above all else, usable. As a sole proprietor, I don't have anyone down the hall to run a question by, or discuss methods. AEA, and the local chapter OPEN, is my connection to the evaluation community. I appreciate learning about evaluation trends, new tools, and approaches so I can continually improve my own practice. 

 

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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 -  Meet the New MSI Fellows 


 
From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters

 

Among the many exciting highlights of Evaluation 2014 was the graduation of the 13th Minority Serving Institution (MSI) fellowship cohort. This cohort had an incredible year, introducing a brand new FAQ based on their rigorous experience in the program to orient future fellows. Congratulations to Tamara Bertrand, Edilberto Raynes, Andrea Guajardo, Denise Gaither-Hardy, and Ana Pinilla! AEA commends your tremendous work and contributions to the MSI program. 

 

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Potent Presentations Initiative - What to Do Now that the Conference is Over
From Stephanie Evergreen, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 
 

I'm sure that at Evaluation 2014 you learned heaps of information to improve your practice and your operating theories. No doubt your evaluation expertise has improved. I'm betting you also learned a lot about how to give a presentation. Whether it was through the Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) training materials or just by watching other evaluators present, you likely picked up tips and tricks that can make a presentation really shine. Don't wait until Evaluation 2015 to try those ideas!

 

Policy Watch - Evaluation Policy and Capacity Development 
From Cheryl Oros, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF)
 

Oros
 

Thank you to all who attended sessions on evaluation policy at the recent AEA conference in Denver and to those who provided input on policy options and future directions. The EPTF has been collecting and studying the evaluation policies and plans of agencies and other countries while also interviewing evaluation office directors to better understand how to influence the development of evaluation policy. We also are very interested in the consequences of such policies. If you have or know of evaluation policies and plans that you would like to share, please let me know. Your input will be quite valuable. The EPTF plans to make a set of policies and plans available on its website. These can serve as examples for other agencies and countries to use in developing or updating their own statements.


 

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Welcome Mike Hendricks as AEA's New IOCE Representative 

Join us in welcoming Mike Hendricks as AEA's official representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE). IOCE serves as a hub or support mechanism for evaluation associations, societies, and networks around the world in order to promote the strengthening of the worldwide community of evaluation professionals. Its mission is to increase public awareness and globally validate evaluation and support Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) in contributing to good governance, effective decision making, and strengthening the role of civil society. Hendricks' term as the IOCE representative is 2015-2017.

 

Hendricks is an independent evaluation consultant and brings 35 years of experience in planning, evaluation, and management of international programs and activities. He has conducted evaluation work in a multitude of countries, including Mexico, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mozambique, Peru, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Thailand. From 1990 to 1993 he lived in New Delhi, India, working on evaluations for USAID, CARE, and the World Bank, and from 2001 to 2004 he lived in Venezuela.

 

Hendricks also has a rich history within AEA. In 1985, he was awarded the Robert Ingle Service Award for his efforts in helping to create AEA from the merger of Evaluation Network and the Evaluation Research Society. In 1995, he and Ross Conner collaborated on a chapter in New Directors for Program Evaluation entitled "International Perspectives on the Guiding Principles." He served on the AEA Board of Directors from 2008 to 2010. During that time, he also served as the board liaison to the International Committee.

 

"I have tried to actively promote evaluation at the global level for most of my career," said Hendricks. "Having admired the birth and steady growth of the IOCE, I am tremendously excited at the opportunity to contribute whatever skills I have to help further this work. The fact that 2015 will be the International Year of Evaluation is obviously exciting, but the efforts already underway to develop a global evaluation agenda for the year 2016 - 2020 are equally important."

 

Hendricks follows Tessie Catsambas, president of EnCompass LLC, who served in this role for three years. "Tessie represented AEA incredibly well and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role," said Beverly Parsons, 2014 AEA President. "We are so appreciative of her time and talent on behalf of AEA. I'm also grateful that she will continue her AEA service as Evaluation 2015 program chair, a means by which she will further shape AEA's emphasis on living in a multicultural world. Mike and Tessie have been working closely together over the past couple of months to ensure a smooth transition. I'm very excited to have Mike as our new IOCE rep and excited that he and Tessie will both be actively involved in providing leadership within AEA during the 2015 International Year of Evaluation."

  

Click here to visit the IOCE website
Meet Corrie Whitmore: Incoming Board Member-at-Large


C
orrie Whitmore lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is the founding president of the Alaska Evaluation Network and an internal evaluator for Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native owned and operated healthcare organization serving approximately 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people each year. In her current role, Whitmore evaluates everything from space utilization to nursing home visiting programs and provides results to internal operations staff and external funders. 


 

She completed her Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Virginia Tech in 2009 before returning to her home state for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alaska Anchorage's Center for Behavioral Health, Research, and Services. Since her early graduate school days, Whitmore has worked as an evaluator and educator in diverse communities, including elementary and higher education, tribal environments, and healthcare. Whitmore focuses on capacity building across domains, teaching at her workplace's Employee Development Center and the University of Alaska Anchorage Honors College. In addition, she serves as the chair of the Alaska Evaluation Network's Conference Planning Committee and remains an active member of AEA's Internal Evaluation and Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation TIGs.


In her ballot statement, Whitmore stated:


"If elected, I will bring both a fresh viewpoint and organizational experience to the AEA Board. As an early career Alaskan evaluator, I will contribute to the diversity of voices on the board. This is an exciting time for evaluation and I look forward to helping AEA build relationships with policymakers and organizations as a socially responsible organization dedicated to supporting 'effective and humane organizations and ultimately to the enhancement of the public good' (AEA's Mission, Vision, Values and AEA Policies)."
 

Announcing the 2014 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award Winner

Veronica M. Olazabal, Director of Monitoring & Evaluation, Nuru International

2014 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award


Olazabal, currently director of monitoring and evaluation at Nuru International, an organization seeking to end extreme poverty in remote, rural areas, is an evaluation professional with more than 15 years of program and research management experience. She is strategic and results-driven, but also practical and realistic, striving to balance her experience using both quantitative and qualitative data with the constraints and complexities of the world. Her professional portfolio spans four continents and includes working with the MasterCard and Rockefeller Foundations' international programs on topics ranging from youth learning and financial inclusion to climate change and global health. She has also led the evaluation and research efforts of humanitarian relief and non-profit organizations such as UMCOR (the United Methodists Committee on Relief) and the Food Bank for New York City. A strong believer in the systematic role evaluation can play in addressing global poverty, she has co-chaired the Working Group for Evaluation and Program Effectiveness for InterAction - the largest U.S. network of international NGOs - and has represented civil society as the North American Representative for the ACT Alliance at the United Nations Fourth High Level Forum on Development Effectiveness. 

With graduate study on both sides of the mixed methods world, she holds a master's in urban policy and planning, with an applied economics focus, from Rutgers University; is acquiring her M.A. in anthropology from Columbia University; and holds a B.A. in communications, with a focus on international agricultural and environmental studies. Olazabal says she is excited and humbled to receive the award.  


 

"Being recognized for my beliefs that evaluation can be a force for pro-poor systematic change is very exciting," said Olazabal. "Yet, more than excited, I am overwhelmingly humbled knowing that my efforts as an evaluation practitioner have been shaped by the teachings of all my colleagues and mentors throughout the developed and developing world. This award not only speaks to me, but also speaks to the result of their hard work and efforts - for that, I am very grateful."

eLearning Update - Discover eStudy Courses

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


Fundamentals of Good Evaluation Reporting - Anne Markiewicz
December 4
2:00 - 2:20 p.m. ET


The production of credible and defensible evaluation reports is essential to inform and support organizational decision making and learning. While evaluation reports are routinely produced, the use of these reports as a source of credible evidence for decision making and resource allocation, and as a means to inform organizational reflection and learning, could be much improved. This webinar will present the 10 key elements that make for good evaluation reporting. 

Evaluation Made Easy: Creating Meaningful Toolkits (A Farm to School Example) - Dr. Lyn Kathlene
December 18
2:00 - 2:20 p.m. ET


Spark Policy Institute is rolling out a year of Toolkits for Social Innovators, including the FTS Evaluation Toolkit, which provides simple, straightforward information about how to design and implement evaluations of school gardens and other farm to school activities. In a succinct 10 pages, the FTS Evaluation Toolkit Guide walks users through each step of the evaluation process, including how to prepare for an evaluation, identify outcomes, select and adapt measurement tools, complete an evaluation plan, implement an evaluation plan, and use evaluation results. This AEA Coffee Break session will not only introduce participants to the toolkit, but will also provide professional evaluators with tips for creating meaningful toolkits, regardless of the content area.
 

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: 
  • Project External Evaluator at Mountwest Community & Technical College (Huntington, West Virginia)
  • Practice Leader of Behavioral Health at Abt Associates (Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Translating Research into Policy at Winrock International (Chittagong and Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  • Assistant Manager of Evaluation at Juma Ventures (San Francisco, California)
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Associate at Democracy Fund (Washington, DC)
  • Evaluation Officer at Episcopal Health Foundation (Houston, Texas)
  • UNDAP Tanzania Evaluation at UN Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
  • Senior Community Health Evaluation Specialist at Kaiser Permanente (Rockville, Maryland)
  • Program Evaluator at University of Michigan School of Social Work (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
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.
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