Newsletter: August 2015 

Vol 15, Issue 8

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Request for Letters of Interest: AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program 
 
Overview of Key Dates
Program Chair and Host Institution: 2016-2018
Deadline: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Are you committed to fostering the growth of the next generation of evaluators? Are you a faculty member or practitioner committed to the involvement of members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the field of evaluation? Are you looking for an opportunity to take an important volunteer position within AEA?

The American Evaluation Association is seeking a program chair, or program co-chairs, to serve for two years (academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18) as the program chair for the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program. This program brings together a cohort of 10-12 outstanding graduate students from around the country for a 10-month internship consisting of workshops, training, networking, and mentoring opportunities.

In This Issue
Walking the Talk
p2i
International Policy Update
Policy Watch
eLearning Update
New Job Postings
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Get Involved
About Us
Quick Links
AEA Values - Walking the Talk with Elizabeth Oyer  
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.

Dr. Elizabeth Oyer, director of EvalSolutions Inc., is a seasoned evaluator with experience in large-scale research and evaluation efforts since 1995. She has a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Since 2000, Dr. Oyer has committed to full-time evaluation consulting and has managed several large-scale, multisite initiatives in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, providing evaluation consultation for state, regional, and local education agencies. Dr. Oyer is the current chair of the Research on Evaluation Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association. She is also the chair of the Cluster, Multisite, and Multilevel Evaluation Topical Interest Group for the American Evaluation Association.

I am honored to take time to reflect on the mission and vision of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and how these values are reflected in my own attitudes and actions in my daily work. 

As an independent contractor, I am often in the position of working with clients who are not familiar with the standards of evaluation practice and who rely on me to propose and conduct an evaluation that is ethical, defensible, appropriate, and effective. Ethical considerations are more than issues of consent and privacy. For example, principled practice around data use and dissemination can be more nuanced and require me to walk clients through decisions about how to respond to evaluation findings. Qualitative and quantitative conclusions are contextualized and summarized as data are included and excluded. Even decisions about what information should be included in the executive summary can shape the perception of the broader audience for the evaluation. 

Recently, I was working with a client to define measurement choices for the next wave of evaluation. The client asked why we have to choose measures that are already tested. This is a fair question. Why can't evaluators just make up instruments for expediency and economy? During the conversation, I turned to the Program Evaluation Standards (aligned perfectly with AEA's mission, vision, and values) to guide our consideration of options, including the value of data sources with established validity and reliability. This was a vital conversation for our working relationship. Respecting my clients' needs and listening to their concerns was absolutely necessary to move forward in the planning. Additionally, I have found that adhering to principles of inclusiveness, responsiveness, and transparency have improved my practice and produced evaluation deliverables that provide a better foundation for my clients as their programs evolve. 

Finally, in the same way that peers and mentors have been generous with their time throughout my career, I feel privileged to mentor or assist peers when the opportunities arise. As an independent evaluator, I feel particularly indebted to my peer network through my professional affiliations like AEA. Building our community collectively only increases the potential of our field to positively influence policy and practice.

Research paradigms and methodological research can shape our practice by defining processes to establish validity and reliability of methods. But technical expertise must always be leveraged astutely with equal attention to the ethical considerations articulated in AEA's stated mission, vision, and values.
Potent Presentations Initiative - Time to Deliver the Goods! 
From Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator 

Time for some true presentations confessions: I was so painfully shy as a young person that I would be sick on "oral report day" in school. The fear of public speaking lasted well into early adulthood where, as a teacher, I was fine with students but wouldn't speak in front of adults for about the first 10 years of my career. Ten years later, however, I was fine. In fact, when I agreed to give a presentation just a few years ago to our district's bus drivers and attendants (they numbered about 500), it was no problem! What happened in between? Practice. Lots of it!

Did you know that a high-quality presentation may take 16 times the length of your session to prepare? The key to presentation preparation lies in (1) developing a clearly articulated message; (2) crafting well-designed slides, handouts, or other visuals; and (3) devoting adequate time and attention to practice.

International Policy Update - 10 Highlights About Evaluation and the UN's New Sustainable Development Goals   
From Mike Hendricks, AEA Representative to the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), with contributions from Jim Rugh, EvalPartners Co-Coordinator

In late September, the United Nations General Assembly will almost certainly adopt 17 high-level Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that, for the next 15 years, will drive a set of coordinated global efforts toward "the world we want." For us evaluators, the exciting news is that these SDGs have a much stronger emphasis on evaluation than did the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that the SDGs are replacing. But what are these SDGs, what are the exciting opportunities for evaluators, and what are some of the challenges ahead? Here are 10 highlights every evaluator should know.

Policy Watch - AEA Invited to Join Transitions in Governance 2016 Coalition
From Cheryl Oros, Consultant to the Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) 

Oros AEA has been invited to join a bipartisan coalition, Transitions in Governance 2016, organizing 10 discussion events on various topics related to management of the federal government. The coalition will prepare a management reform agenda for the incoming president and Congress that will focus on results, transparency, and efficiency. The coalition is coordinated by Carl DeMaio and The Performance Institute, and events will run from May 2015 through September 2016. DeMaio hopes that this coalition of think tanks, elected officials, and other stakeholders will also support a bipartisan implementation of a management improvement agenda well beyond 2016. You can view a complete list of coalition members on the website.

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

Twelve Steps of Quantitative Data Cleaning: Strategies for Dealing with Dirty Evaluation Data
September 15, 17, 22 & 23
2:00 - 3:30 p.m. ET


Evaluation data, like a lot of research data, can be messy. Rarely are evaluators given data that are ready to be analyzed. Missing data, coding mistakes, and outliers are just some of the problems that evaluators should address prior to conducting analyses for their evaluation report. Even though data cleaning is an important step of data analysis, the topic has received little attention in literature, and the resources that are available tend to be complex and are not always user friendly. In this eStudy, you will go step-by-step through the data-cleaning process and learn suggestions for what to do at each step. 
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 II at Evalcorp (Irvine, California)
  • Program Metrics Coordinator at Wounded Warrior Project (Jacksonville, Florida)
  • Technical Advisor, M&E at Clinton Health Access Initiative (Monrovia, Liberia) 
  • Sr. Manager for Evaluation and Performance at Fair Chance (Washington, D.C.)
  • Metrics Director at Wounded Warrior Project (Jacksonville, Florida)
  • Senior Research Associate at ETR Services, LLC (Durham, North Carolina)
  • Senior Assessment Coordinator at Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Georgia)
  • Research Assistant at Public Profit (Oakland, California)
  • Project Manager at Center for Applied Research (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Client Outcomes Manager at Autism Home Support Services (Northbrook, Illinois)
  • Program Evaluation Manager at Sinai Urban Health Institute (Chicago, Illinois)
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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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