Newsletter: December 2014 

Vol 14, Issue 12


Message from the President - The Year in Review


Dear AEA colleagues,


In this month's column, my final one as AEA president, I'd like to give a recap of the highlights of the work of the AEA Board and leadership.

AEA and Its External Connections

Let's begin with the big picture and move inward. I want to mention three important aspects of the work of the board that position AEA in the bigger world. Internationally, one of the highlights this year was the AEA Board's endorsement of the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation. You'll be hearing much more about this as we move into 2015. 


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In This Issue
Face of AEA
AEA Values
Policy Watch
Meet Thomas Grayson
Thank You, Tessie Catsambas
Award Winner
New TIGs
Quick Links
Face of AEA - Meet Nora Murphy 

Name: Nora F. Murphy
Affiliation: Consultant and Founding Member, TerraLuna Collaborative
Degrees: B.A. in Education (Earlham College); M.A. in Research Methodology (Psychology in Education, University of Pittsburgh); Ph.D. in Evaluation Studies (Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, University of Minnesota)
Years in the Evaluation Field: Nine
Joined AEA: 2006

Why do you belong to AEA? I was working as a program manager for the Student Conservation Association in Pittsburgh at a time when foundations in the area were just starting to think more critically about the role of evaluation in their grantmaking. I received training in evaluation as part of a pilot project to develop standards for youth-serving organizations, and it was as though a whole new world opened up for me. I was able to ask better questions about my program and to see new ways in which to answer those questions. I was hooked on evaluation! But, as with many things, opening the door to this new world led to more questions than answers. I took classes to learn more, and my professor, Bill Bickel, was adamant that we engage with AEA through conferences, workshops, and EvalTalk. I feel lucky that he instilled that idea in me early in my evaluation career.


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]
AEA Values - Walking the Talk with Patrick Germain 
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? In this section, we ask 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.

See AEA's Mission, Vision, Values 




I am Patrick Germain, director of strategy and evaluation at Project Renewal, a large human services organization in New York City, and adjunct assistant professor at NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. I am also the president of the New York Consortium of Evaluators (NYC's local AEA affiliate) and blogger at

Like many of you, I came to evaluation on a non-linear path. After undergraduate study in Spanish literature, I found myself working at a homeless family shelter in San Francisco. Coming from a relatively comfortable suburban childhood, this was something of a culture shock, and the beginning of a journey of inquiry and improvement that I am still on today.


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Diversity - In Case You Missed It: Diversity at AEA 
From Zachary Grays, AEA Headquarters

As we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015, the International Year of Evaluation, I'll briefly recap what our year in diversity was like here at AEA. So many exciting things happened in 2014 that broadened the capacity of evaluators to practice culturally competent evaluations and increased the diversity of evaluators entering the field. It has been an incredible journey, and there is no doubt that what we have in store for 2015 will contribute immensely to our efforts in promoting diversity and culturally responsive evaluation. Here are just a few of the highlights from 2014's year in diversity.


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Policy Watch - The Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act 
From Cheryl Oros, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF)

Oros In late November, the Senate and House Budget Committee chairs, Senator Murray and Representative Ryan, introduced the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2014 that would address steps to enhance the conduct and quality of evaluations of federal programs. The bill would establish a commission to study how best to expand the use of data to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures. The Commission would determine whether the federal government should establish a clearinghouse for program and survey data, which researchers from both the private and public sector could access and use to perform program evaluations and policy-relevant research. The Commission's findings and recommendations would be due no later than 15 months after the majority of members are appointed. The National Academy of Public Administration would administer the Commission.


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Potent Presentations Initiative - Listen to the Rad Presenters Podcast
From Stephanie Evergreen, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

There's a new podcast in town, Presenter. Presentation pro Jon Schwabish and I have launched the Rad Presenters Podcast as a platform to talk about the sticky presentation topics. Our p2i site has heaps of good information to get you started on your presentation, the kind of thing anyone can use and learn from. The Rad Presenters Podcast is for those who have some presenting experience under their belts and are ready for the next big step. 


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Meet Thomas Grayson - Incoming Board Member-at-Large 


Thomas E. Grayson retired in 2011 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He remains active and teaches online courses in evaluation. He continues to publish, conduct evaluation capacity building workshops, consult on program and policy evaluation, and volunteer with local nonprofits.


Dr. Grayson's primary expertise is in strategic planning and program/policy evaluation. One of his major activities has been to help academic and professional educators build their capacity to conceptualize and implement programs and services as well as to plan and conduct evaluations useful in improving programs and services, providing accountability for achieving strategic intent, and managing program information. He is experienced in the provision of evaluation technical assistance and training not only in higher education but also in community-based nonprofit organizations.


Dr. Grayson has been an active and involved member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) for more than 25 years. He is a past chair of the Assessment in Higher Education Topical Interest Group (2002 - 2005), and he served on the AEA Ethics Committee Professional Development Task Force (2006 - 2007) and the AEA International Committee (2007 - 2009). He remains active with the association as the newest addition to the Board of Directors.


Dr. Grayson received his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Illinois, his M.S. in instructional technology from Syracuse University, and his B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University.

In his ballot statement, Dr. Grayson said, "I hope to serve on the AEA Board because I want to give back to the organization that has given so much to me and because I want to help keep the AEA strong and focused.  I believe that my experiences as an evaluation scholar-practitioner have prepared me well for service on the AEA Board. These experiences include teaching evaluation, establishing the evaluation and assessment office in Student Affairs at the University of Illinois, and working with state, federal, and local educational agencies, including alternative schools, the Illinois State Board of Education, federally funded transition programs for individuals with disabilities, and community-based non-profits."

Thank You, Tessie Catsambas, AEA's IOCE Representative 


For the past several years, AEA has maintained a representative liaison to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), an alliance of regional, national, and international evaluation organizations (associations, societies, and networks) from around the world. These organizations collaborate to build evaluation leadership and capacity, 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.


For the past three years, the IOCE representative role has been filled by Tessie Catsambas, president of EnCompass LLC. As AEA's representative, Tessie has worked with IOCE colleagues in alignment with AEA's Mission, Vision, and Values

"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 is working with incoming AEA president, Stewart Donaldson, to continue her AEA service as one of the program chairs of the 2015 AEA annual conference. Through this means, she will further shape AEA's emphasis on living in a multicultural world."

During Tessie's term, she represented AEA at the Third International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities 2013. Tessie also served on the executive group of EvalPartners, as secretary of IOCE, and as co-chair for the Enabling Environment for Evaluation task force, where she has focused on preparing for the International Year of Evaluation 2015, and advocacy for evaluation. She also assisted in the facilitation of the first Global Forum of EvalPartners, held in Chiang Mai in December 2012, which set a collaborative tone for other activities to come. In addition, Tessie worked on the Advocacy Toolkit (2013) and e-learning product to be released in 2015 for advocating for evaluation. Tessie has traveled to a variety of conferences throughout the world in support of evaluation training and collaboration with other evaluation associations, including Kathmandu (CoE), Cameroon (AfrEA), Brazil (NEC), and Ireland (EES).

As reported in November's newsletter, Mike Hendricks is the newly appointed IOCE representative and will assume his responsibilities in January 2015. "Mike and Tessie have been working closely together over the past couple of months to ensure a smooth transition," said Parsons. "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." 

Thank you, Tessie, for your ongoing support of AEA and your willingness to make a difference in the world.

Announcing the 2014 Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award Winner 



Bob Williams, Evaluation Consultant

2014 Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award


Williams is known internationally in various fields, including systems, evaluation, and action research. Williams specializes in the evaluation of complex and "difficult" projects and programs. His focus is on evaluation approaches that are robust and rigorous while at the same time produce information and analysis that are "good enough" for organizations that have to use the information to take real decisions in real timeframes. Consequently, he has a particular interest and expertise in evaluation designs and processes that educate, inform, and promote use and develop evaluation capacity and program development. He is also a member of the Editorial Boards of three of the leading evaluation journals: the American Journal of Evaluation, Evaluation and Program Planning, and New Directions in Evaluation. He has led the redevelopment and relaunching of the Evaluation Journal of Australasia and co-edited Evaluation - South Asiar. This prototype journal was deliberately aimed at bringing radical evaluation ideas into the South Asia scene and to promote to a wider audience radical ideas developed within the region.

"This is the most tremendous honor. Not only for me, but it also honors the many colleagues who have contributed to the use of systems and complexity ideas in evaluation," Williams said. "It shows how open the evaluation field is to ideas beyond applied social science."

AEA Welcomes the Military and Veteran Evaluation TIG  

The Military and Veteran Evaluation (MVE) topical interest group (TIG) was created with the purpose of raising awareness and deepening the understanding of the application of evaluation theory, methods, and practice in military, veteran, and national security settings. Organized and chaired by Stephen Axelrad (Booz Allen Hamilton) and Pat Clifford (Clifford Consulting), the MVE TIG will provide some interesting cross-pollination of ideas from civilian and military program evaluators that can help the DoD, VA, and community-based organizations better understand the vexing issues facing the millions of Americans who currently serve or have served in the Armed Forces.


Some of the planned activities for this TIG include:


1. AEA 360 blog posts with three significant evaluation researchers who have included military/veteran populations in their research.


2. Round tables on (a) differences in evaluations conducted in civilian and military sectors, (b) impact of health, behavioral, and social challenges on the readiness of the force, (c) funding opportunities for evaluation researchers focusing on military/veteran populations, and (d) conducting evaluations at military installations and veterans' organizations.


3. "Boot camp" sessions for evaluators to prepare them for working with current and veteran service members and their families


Click here to join! (login required)


TIG Chair

Stephen Axelrad

Lead Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

Email: [email protected]


Program Chair

Pat Clifford

Owner, Clifford Consulting

Email: [email protected]


AEA Welcomes the Latino Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG (LA RED)  

The Latino Responsive Evaluation Discourse (LA RED) TIG was founded by a group of Latina/o evaluators acknowledging the need to further address Latina/o issues in evaluation and create AEA spaces for discourse on evaluation practices that are culturally responsive to communities and programs serving Latina/o populations.


LA RED (meaning the network) began as collegial conversations and collaborations during Evaluation 2012. The TIG's mission is to:

  1.  Increase the representation, engagement, and leadership of Latinas/os in the evaluation profession.
  2. Create discourse spaces for Latina/o responsive evaluation (LRE) theory, methods, and practices by Latina/o evaluators as well as cross-cultural evaluators working with Latina/o-serving programs.

LA RED prioritizes discourse of LRE practices that promote frameworks, approaches, and processes that are responsive to the heterogeneity of Latina/o identities and communities. Designing, delivering, and making decisions based on LRE practices are contributions that LA RED members regard as a social justice responsibility. Founding members of LA RED include inaugural TIG chairs Dr. Lisa Aponte-Soto and Saśl I. Maldonado, and Dr. Arthur E. Hernandez, Dr. Leah C. Neubauer, Gabriela L. Garcia, and Dr. Maria B. Jimenez.


LA RED will sponsor its first aea365 week starting Sunday, December 28.


For additional information or to join LA RED, contact [email protected].


Click here to join! (login required)


TIG Chair:

Lisa Aponte-Soto, Ph.D., MHA

National Deputy Director, New Connections Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation OMG Center for Collaborative Learning

Email: [email protected]


Program Chair:

Saśl I. Maldonado

University of California, Santa Cruz Education Department

Email: [email protected]

eLearning Update - Discover eStudy Courses

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

Practical Evaluation: An Overview and Introduction for Those New to Evaluation
January 16, January 23, January 28, January 30
12:30 - 2:00 p.m. ET

This course is an introduction to the major steps in designing and conducting a program evaluation. Using CDC's Framework for Program Evaluation, the course will emphasize the central importance of setting the right evaluation focus and asking the right evaluation questions, as well as how engaging stakeholders and a strong program description help ensure that the focus and questions are the best ones. The last session will show how those early decisions make it easier to identify the most appropriate data collection methods and sources, choose the right ways to analyze data, and ensure that findings are reported in ways that will maximize the use of findings for program improvement. Students will work on a variety of case examples to help reinforce teaching points. 


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: 
  • Director of Global Health Practice at International Business and Technical Consultants, Inc. (Virginia; Washington, D.C.)
  • Program Evaluator at National Center for Women & IT (Boulder, Colorado)
  • Senior Program Evaluation Specialist at CUNY School of Professional Studies (New York City)
  • Assessment and Grants Officer at Georgia Regents University - University Libraries (Augusta, Georgia)
  • Research and Evaluation Specialist at National Association of County and City Health Officials (Washington, DC)
  • Association Manager at Visitor Studies Association (Home-based)
  • Research Manager at (Kansas City, Missouri)
  • Evaluation Consultant at TerraLuna Collaborative (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Program Evaluator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Cold Spring Harbor, New York)
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) 
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