As we make our way through the summer, I wanted to provide another quarterly update for our members so all are aware of the activities and initiatives that have been organized so far this year. In this post, I wanted to highlight the progress the WE Board has made in working toward the two broad themes that we set this year: (1) evaluation as community, and (2) evaluation in the community.
This year, our Program Committee--led by Melissa Chiu--has organized 20 events. When we established our goals and priorities for the year, we sought to support a diverse, inclusive, and engaged evaluation community.
In our programming, we have tried to do this work by organizing events where members can broaden their knowledge of topics such as culturally responsive and equitable evaluation, as well as provoking discussion and debate on societal issues through a series of field trips and museum tours. Next month, we will be organizing a learning exchange with the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results-Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), on the Made in Africa Evaluation agenda. We hope these events broaden your knowledge, expand your community, and provide opportunities to think about the evolving nature of our discipline.
This year, one indicator of success has been the rapid growth of our dues-paying membership base. From January to mid-July, we saw a 28% increase in the number of members, bringing our total membership to 350. We hope that our members appreciate the value that a $25 membership brings, including access to our mentorship initiative, pro bono evaluation program, weekly news digest, and over 20 events.
To continue promoting our focus on community engagement, the Board has plans to revise our Bylaws and add a new Board position: Community Engagement Chair. As an appointed Board position, this individual will be responsible for bringing some of our newer and exciting initiatives--such as our New Professional Scholarship, Mentor Minutes, and Evaluation Without Borders--under one organizational roof. The Board felt it necessary to create this position so we can continue strengthening our evaluation community and extending our reach into the broader Washington, D.C. community. As this requires a change in Bylaws, a ballot will be sent to all WE members.
Earlier this year, the Board also discussed how to diversify the composition of our WE Board. We asked ourselves whether Board membership is a good representation of our association. For instance, while Federal evaluators make up less than 25% of WE, they generally make up the majority of the Board. We asked how we could encourage student membership on the Board, as well as encouraging diversity with regard to professional background, experience, and demographics. As we make our call for 2020 Board members, please email us to let us know if you are interested, or provide your input on how the Board can better represent our professional association.
With that, I hope you've all had an excellent summer, and as always, we hope you're able to continue engaging with the fellow WE members and the broader community.