AEA Newsletter: August 2016

Message from the Executive Director - Input and its Impact

Denise_Roosendaal_111811_144.jpgFrom Denise Roosendaal

As evaluators, you value input and feedback. As an AEA member, your participation, influence, guidance in AEA programs are critical to the organization. By participating in a working group, or in your TIG’s conference session review process, or other member programming, your influence is easily seen. But you may not so readily see how you influence AEA through your feedback. Through informal and formal feedback opportunities, your influence is important and your input is valued.

Feedback in any form helps us to determine if the organization is still meeting the needs of its members. Sometimes the input can create conflicting information and opinions but management still uses the information to assist in the development of future programs. The Board of Directors also uses the information in its strategic policy development. Here are a few formal feedback mechanisms:

  • Membership Survey – The membership survey is conducted every two years and is designed/analyzed by a working group of members. The most recent survey, released spring 2016, uncovered a variety of perspectives that are now driving strategic and operational conversations and decisions. For example, the Membership Survey 2016 found that respondents were more likely to intend to renew their membership if they had been members for more years and were more involved in the AEA. Similarly, the exit survey of lapsed members consistently reports that respondents who leave are more likely not to have engaged in a TIG. Therefore, the AEA management team is now investigating how to get new members involved in the association and TIGs earlier in their membership so they can enjoy the sense of community and extend their tenure with AEA.
  • Conference Survey – The post-conference survey distributed to all conference attendees reveals many perspectives on aspects of the conference that work well or need improvement. For example, the mobile app had a high adoption rate (70 percent of respondents reported downloading the app). The respondents also highlighted the need to address a variety technical issues across all mobile platforms. As a result, the AEA management team has contracted with a new mobile app provider that allows for greater technical features and a more reliable platform on multiple devices. Other feedback from the conference survey, such a scheduling conflicts and space allocation (along with anticipated growth rate), has influenced how the management team schedules sessions and contracts with hotels for future conference space.
  • PD Session Surveys – Attendees of the e-studies and coffee break series are asked to provide their feedback on the session topics and presenters. This feedback assists the management team in choosing future presenters. The same is true of Professional Development Workshop presenter evaluations. These evaluations are used by the Summer Institute Workshop Working Group as they are selecting presenters.
  • Working Groups – Members also provide input through their involvement in working groups and task forces. One such working group is the Environmental Sustainability Working Group. Through the commission of a green audit, which analyzed the various AEA programs and their environmental impact, the working group and management team have created a work plan to begin to bring down the association’s environmental impact.  Another active working group is the Conference Advisory Group. Their purpose is to provide feedback to management on possible changes to the conference structure and enhancements. This year they are providing feedback on the mobile app, the onsite guide construction, digital badge offering, and the exhibitor/sponsorship packages. The members of that group also review the conference survey results and provide their perspectives.
  • Global 2020 agenda – Another working group, the International Working Group, solicited input on the EvalPartners Global 2020 agenda in 2015. Then the working group developed a strategy to include 13 tactics to help guide how AEA would contribute to that Global 2020 plan.  These tactics were developed with input from the Evaluation Policy Task Force and the IOCC TIG. The resulting strategy outlines 13 tactics AEA is engaging in to make progress on the Global 2020 agenda priorities. AEA’s Thirteen Strategies to engage in the Global 2020 agenda.

Upcoming Input opportunities: In addition, AEA has created two new specific ways of soliciting member input on topics related to the strategic direction of the organization.

  • AEA Positioning – In an attempt to gain a better understanding of how AEA is positioned within the evaluation community, the AEA Communications Team is opening a series of focus groups to obtain feedback from members and non-members. These focus group opportunities will take place in mid- to late-September.  Look for invitation information coming out in early September.
  • Professional Development – The Professional Development Working Group is developing a strategy for the development of enhanced and long-term professional development offerings for members. These offerings might include certificate programs, online self-study courses, or multimedia offerings to enhance content and connection opportunities. But first we want to hear from you. In the month of September, the AEA Education Team will conduct a series of outreach opportunities to get your feedback on the training needs of the evaluation community.  An email with more details will be released in late September.

The AEA management team welcomes your feedback at any time. Drop us an email or give us a call with your thoughts or suggestions. We have also developed an Issues Tracker page to collect your thoughts on strategic topics that the board might consider at future meetings. Members can list their ideas for strategic discussion topics and other members can join that discussion.

We listen to and respect all suggestions. As expected, some suggestions conflict with other suggestions or with the mission, vision, and values of the organization or with the strategic direction of the organization. I welcome your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to email me directly droosendaal@eval.org. To contact other staff members, visit the staff webpage and email us.  An actively engaged membership is a sign of a healthy and vibrant organization. We appreciate your engagement and input. 

 

Diversity - AEA's Partnership with CREA

From Zachary Grays, AEA Staff

Zachary Grays.jpg

 

Following a very successful collaboration at Evaluation 2015, the American Evaluation Association (AEA) is pleased to announce the continued partnership with the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) to offer a unique thread of professional development training options as part of the pre- and post-conference offerings during Evaluation 2016, October 24-29, 2016, in Atlanta. CREA was established in 2011 in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with Stafford Hood, Ph.D., Sheila M. Miller Professor, serving as its founding director.

CREA is a culturally diverse and interdisciplinary global community of researchers and practitioners in the areas of evaluation and assessment. CREA’s primary focus is to address the growing need for policy-relevant efforts that take seriously the influences of cultural norms, practices, and expectations in the design, implementation, and evaluation of social and educational interventions. CREA is the only university-based evaluation and assessment research center with a primary focus on the centrality of culture and cultural context in this work. A core group of longstanding AEA members comprise the founding and active members of the CREA community.

CREA will offer a thread of six professional development workshops on evaluation theory, methods, and practice grounded in culturally responsive evaluation during Evaluation 2016. Each workshop will be offered by CREA/AEA members with extensive expertise in the topics of their respective workshops. These workshops have been carefully selected by AEA and CREA to provide the most in-depth training on the topic and to expose the more than 3,000 anticipated conference attendees to this crucial cross-disciplinary material. While AEA will still offer the robust collection of workshops during the pre- and post-conference dates as it has done in the past, attendees will have the added value of these specially tailored workshop options as curated by CREA.

What can attendees expect from this AEA-CREA partnership? Take a look at the courses being offered this year:

Just added:

  • Contemporary Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Latino Communities - Drs. Leah Neubauer & Lisa Aponte-Soto

It is the vision of The American Evaluation Association to foster an inclusive, diverse, and international community of practice positioned as a respected source of information for and about the field of evaluation. This vision, in practice, extends to the diverse communities and narratives that use the evaluations done by our colleagues. AEA would like to thank Dr. Stafford Hood (CREA founding director) and the AEA members of the CREA community for their partnership in providing this continued opportunity to explore culturally response evaluation and to promote culture competence in evaluation work. It is through this cross-collaborative partnership that AEA can provide access to this invaluable knowledge and achieve our association’s vision. To learn more about CREA,  click here.

 

Potent Presentations Initiative - Inspiration Before Perspiration! Let’s Get "Decked” Out!

Sheila Robinson-RS 2.pngFrom Sheila B. Robinson, Potent Presentations Initiative Coordinator

Greetings, P2i-ers! Just under 60 days to the big event: Evaluation 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia! What are you doing to get your presentation ready? In addition to revisiting our set of p2i tools as you craft your presentation, check out other sites for some inspiration!

One fabulous site, especially for slide design inspiration, is SlideShare, a social media outlet that is a part of the LinkedIn company that is useful for all types of presentation materials. It claims to have over 18 million uploads in over 40 content categories. Not only will you find creative slide design ideas as you flip through slide decks, but there is also an entire category section devoted to Presentations & Public Speaking. While you will certainly find inspiration for the design elements of your presentation, you’ll also find plenty of good content on public speaking, from preparing your presentation’s content (message) to working the audience (delivery). For example, there are slide decks on storytelling, using humor, being a memorable speaker, engaging audiences, dealing with anxiety, handling questions, and much, much more.

One caution I will offer is that not all content on SlideShare is necessarily p2i-compliant. In fact, the more you are familiar with p2i principles for message, design, and delivery, the more the presentations you explore or experience that deviate from these principles will stand out. Perhaps you will internalize p2i principles at an even deeper level as you recognize them in action.  It’s certainly a great way to learn!

If you want a place to start, try this slide deck from Duarte, Inc.: Lessons in Embracing the Funny; this one from SketchBubble: Tips for Effective Use of Visual Aids in Presentations; or this one from Clariant Creative Agency: How to Plan a Wow Presentation. SlideShare also features other types of content, including videos and infographics. Check out this one from Ethos3: The Best Way to Outline a Presentation.

SlideShare also features interactivity similar to when you use other social media. When you create a SlideShare account of your own (it’s free!), you can “like” slide decks and “follow” users.

Already comfortable creating presentations? Why not share some of your content on SlideShare? Check out the Creator’s Hub for information on uploading your own content.

SlideShare claims to be “one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world.” Why not give it a try?

Found a slide deck you really enjoyed? I’d love to see it, too! Please e-mail me the link and tell me what you liked about it.

 

EvalYouth Is Helping to Build Evaluation Capacity

Moorhead.jpgFrom Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, Assistant Professor of Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment, University of Connecticut
Few evaluators would disagree that "capacity building" is key to the practice of evaluation. However, as a concept, a practice, or even as a shared priority, "capacity building" can mean different things in different contexts, and certainly can entail very different methods and practices depending on how an evaluator understands these meanings. For example, sometimes when evaluators speak of "capacity building," they refer to the various methods and practices involved in enhancing stakeholders' capacity to use evaluation. In such cases, it's obviously sensible to assess capacity on the stakeholder side. However, what I want to emphasize is that the stakeholder's capacity to use evaluation is only one meaning of "capacity building." Another crucial meaning is evaluators' capacities to do evaluation. This is to say that it is imperative to ask ourselves not only how we can enhance stakeholder's capacity to use evaluation, but also how we can enhance evaluators' capacities to do evaluation - especially young and emerging evaluators. Nowhere has the importance of seeing this side of the capacity coin been more evident to me than in my role as an AEA representative to, and global co-chair of, the EvalPartners network, EvalYouth.
EvalYouth Goals
One main goal of EvalYouth is to promote Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE), including young women, to become competent, experienced, and well-networked professionals who contribute to evaluation capacity at national, regional, and international levels. Importantly, this includes both aspiring evaluators (pre-service) and those new to the profession (in-service). To accomplish this goal, we work with Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) around the world on national (e.g., AEA) and regional (e.g., Africa, Europe, Middle East, Latin America, etc.) levels.
 
EvalYouth Priorities
EvalYouth was formally launched at the 2015 Global Evaluation Week at the Parliament of Nepal in Kathmandu with the help of 25 YEEs from across the globe.
 
EvalYouth priorities for the next three years are:
  1. As part of a knowledge building and networking campaign, develop and promote an EvalYouth mentoring program, as well as organize EvalYouth conferences to share knowledge, learning, and best practices, and to strengthen YEE involvement with existing international and regional evaluation conferences;
  2. As part of an advocacy campaign, work with VOPEs to bolster the inclusion of YEEs in their governance bodies and in capacity-building programs; and
  3. As part of an awareness campaign, map the multiple YEE mentoring opportunities across the globe as a means to better understand this pathway for increasing YEE capacity to do evaluation.
Support for EvalYouth

EvalYouth is truly a global network. Presently, 28 individual EvalYouth members, who are also active members of their VOPEs, serve on the executive committee or task forces and represent multiple geographic regions such as Africa, Asia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North America. In addition, UNICEF has recently agreed to serve as the all-important home organization for EvalYouth. In addition to EvalPartners, a number of organizations across the globe also support EvalYouth, as illustrated in the accompanying visual. Finally, EvalYouth activities have been, or are currently funded by, the MasterCard Foundation, UNICEF, and the government of Finland. Through our social media postings, we currently reach more than 1,000 evaluation professionals and organizations - and that number increases daily. Support for EvalYouth is strong and growing across the globe.
 
How Can You as an AEA Member Support EvalYouth?
 
AEA has a long history of supporting YEE capacity building. Our conferences, workshops, summer institute, e-study courses, and the Graduate Students and New Evaluators TIG, which organizes apeer mentoring program, are just a few examples of the path AEA has blazed in terms of helping YEE develop the capacity to do evaluation. At the same time, there is still more work to be done.
 
I encourage you to connect with, and support the work of EvalYouth. Whether you are a seasoned evaluator or a YEE, policymaker, evaluation institution, or organization, if you are interested in supporting YEE capacity building, please read our newly updated concept note. As you do so, consider in what way you'd like to support EvalYouth. And, share your input on where you believe AEA's priorities should lie regarding EvalYouth. You can provide this feedback publicly by posting to the open forum where our newly updated concept note is located. You can also share your feedback by sending an email to EvalYouth.
 
Are you interested in receiving regular updates on our work? Please visit our newly launched EvalYouth website. While visiting our website, please click on our social media links to connect with us and be the first to know about updates and opportunities.
 
If you are interested in becoming an active member of EvalYouth, or supporting EvalYouth efforts in other ways, please also send an email to EvalYouth (EvalYouth@gmail.com).
 
It is an honor to serve as the AEA representative to, and global co-chair of, EvalYouth. I look forward to continuing to work with and represent the interests of AEA in this work. Together, I know we can help shape AEA priorities, continue to blaze YEE capacity-building trails, and collaborate with and learn from other VOPEs working to build YEE capacity within their regions. 


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