Communities of Practice (CoPs) of Evaluators: Exploring Theories and Practice Guiding the Design and Practice of Evaluator “Communities”

Session Number: 2091
Track: AEA Sponsored Sessions
Session Type: Panel
Tags: Affiliates
Session Chair: Allison L. Titcomb, Ph.D. [Assoc. Vice President, Community Development - United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona]
Presenter 1: Leah Christina Neubauer [Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine - Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine]
Presenter 3: Miles McNall [Michigan State University]
Presenter 4: Danelle Marable
Presentation 1 Additional Author: Sarah Gill [Evaluation Technical Advisor - Centers for Disease Control]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: Nick Hart [George Washington University]
Presentation 2 Additional Author: David J Bernstein, Ph.D. [Senior Study Director - Westat]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (03:00 PM - 04:30 PM)
Room: L505

Abstract 1 Title: CoPs and the Program Evaluation Standards
Presentation Abstract 1:

This paper will synthesize core elements of Communities of Practice and the Joint Committee’s Program Evaluation Standards (Yarbrough et al, 2011). The co-authors contend that CoPs can provide a theoretical grounding for a group of evaluators focused on understanding experience, increasing knowledge, and ultimately, improving evaluation practice, ensuring that it is in keeping with our professional standards. CoPs are designed to engage learners in a process of learning constructed around common interests, ideas, passions, and goals, the things that matter to people (Hansman 2008). As communities of evaluators who are passionate about high-quality evaluation practice, local AEA affiliates can serve as fora for publicizing and promoting our newest edition of the Standards.

Abstract 2 Title: @WashEval: Facilitating Evaluation Collaboration for More Than 30 Years
Presentation Abstract 2:

Founded in 1984 with an initial membership of 12 evaluators, the Washington Evaluators (WE) has since grown to include a professional and student membership base of more than 200 in the nation's capitol. This presentation describes WE's experience in developing and maintaining a community of evaluation practitioners that include a diverse mix of government, private, and self-employed evaluators as well as prominent evaluators in academia. This presentation discusses the strategies WE uses to foster personal connections and sharing information about the evaluation profession for both new and long-time evaluators.

Abstract 3 Title: Developing a Community of Practice among Michigan Evaluators
Presentation Abstract 3:

Founded in 1996, MAE has served as a convener of people from different sectors – nonprofits, foundations, and evaluation – with a shared interest in promoting high quality and useful evaluation in Michigan. To this end, MAE has hosted a variety of events to bring these different groups into productive dialogue, including an annual conference held since 1996, professional development opportunities, reading groups, and more.This presentation discusses the strategies MAE uses to foster a community of practice among Michigan evaluators.

Abstract 4 Title: Building an Evaluation Network in Boston
Presentation Abstract 4:

The Evaluator’s Roundtable was created in 2007 when 4 internal evaluators from different organizations came together for a brown-bag lunch. As word of mouth spread, the roundtable grew into a monthly, lunch-time meeting where any professional who performed evaluation activities was welcomed and could ask questions of practice. This paper will review how the roundtable was started, its growth through activities, and how it harnessed the knowledge and expertise of its members to create an all-inclusive network of evaluation professionals and students. The Roundtable has now become the Greater Boston Evaluation Network, an AEA affiliate.

Audience Level: All Audiences
Other Information: This is the official presentation from the Local Affiliate Collaborative - LAC

Session Abstract: 

This panel will explore theories and practice guiding the development and implementation of communities of evaluators.  The panel discussion will be grounded in Communities of Practice (CoPs) theory and the Program Evaluation Standards.  CoPs can provide a theoretical grounding for a group of evaluators focused on understanding experience, increasing knowledge, and ultimately, improving evaluation practice.  Minimal evaluation literature has explored CoP theory and methodology as a design mechanism which leverages evaluator learning to enrich practice. Panelists will discuss their experiences with their local affiliates’ efforts to bring evaluators together.  Discussion will focus on the design process and outcomes.  Audience members engaged in evaluative and learning work with CoPs are encouraged to join this participatory session.