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WE President's Blog

  • Thu, March 21, 2019 1:12 PM | Deleted user

    This year’s programming is intended to forward Giovanni's priorities as WE President of engaging evaluators meaningfully, particularly about issues of diversity and social justice, all while getting evaluators out into the city and their communities. We’re launching new types of professional development events, starting with our Deep Dive book club discussions, where evaluators read a short piece and then gather to discuss it. Sometimes the author will join us, as in our inaugural Deep Dive with Cheryl Abram, and others will be pure book club discussion. This event is designed to engage members more deeply with each other as well as with the latest in evaluation thought.

    Another new event type we’re launching this year are Field Trips. Remember these from school? Field trips were educational yet fun and got us out into the world. Similarly, with WE’s professional Field Trips, we will learn about interesting programs around the metro area, starting with Pathways DC, a housing program. While we will not be evaluating any of these programs during our visits, Field Trips also present opportunities to promote WE’s Evaluation Without Borders program. Finally, as in previous years, we will continue to hold seminars to provide information on a variety of evaluation topics. However, this year we will highlight subjects that often receive less attention, such as teaching evaluation and environmental evaluation. All together, the variety of professional events will provide many opportunities for WE members to deepen their knowledge and grow professionally. 

    As for social activities and networking, we will continue to provide networking opportunities in a relaxed bar or restaurant environment. This year, however, we are holding multiple activity-based networking events, where evaluators participate in an activity followed by networking in a relaxed setting. Some activities may provide food for thought on evaluation issues, while others will be just plain fun. Look out for tours of museum exhibits relating to social issues, walking tours of neighborhoods, a knowledge-brokering game night, sport-spectating events, and our very first dragon boat race team! 

    We’re hoping members enjoy this year’s line-up of WE events and find them meaningful and engaging. If you have feedback on any of our events, please let us know. Also, we’re open to new ideas for WE events, so if you are interested in learning about something, giving a talk or getting feedback, or any activity at all, please let us know at washeval@gmail.com.

    Melissa Chiu is the 2019 Chair of WE's Program Committee

  • Mon, January 21, 2019 7:05 PM | Deleted user

    Fellow WE members:

    This week, as we celebrate the work and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington Evaluators is pleased to formally launch its pro bono evaluation program: Evaluation Without Borders (EWB). As MLK Day--and the rest of this week--is often seen as a time to serve our communities, we would like to encourage our members to think of ways they can give back to the greater Washington, D.C. area.

    The greater metropolitan area has an extensive network of non-profits and community-based organizations. However, after speaking to a number of organizations, we have found that while many are interested in program planning, measurement, and evaluation services, few have the resources to undertake such efforts. Additionally, for those without exposure to professional evaluation services, there is general anxiety surrounding the idea of starting a project, not asking the right questions, or simply paying for services that may not be utilized. Through EWB, we hope that our members will not only be giving back, but improving the capacity of organizations to engage in evaluation; in turn, promoting its demand and use.

    Through this initiative, we would also like to provide our members with additional opportunities to engage with those outside the evaluation profession. Historically, WE members have worked tirelessly to promote evaluation, and influence evaluation policy and practice through their work with the Evaluation Policy Task Force and EvalAction. To complement these efforts, we would like to ensure that we are promoting our field by working closely with local communities as well. We anticipate the combination of these initiatives will provide the coverage needed to influence evaluation policy and practice with institutional actors and grassroots movements alike.

    As mentioned in our first message of the year, if you are interested in sharing your skills, we encourage you to complete our pro bono evaluator form. Evaluators will be grouped into teams, matched with clients, and provided a Memorandum of Understanding to set evaluator and client expectations. This is also a great opportunity for members to join a pro bono team and learn from evaluators with diverse skills. And, if you know of an organization interested in pro bono support, please refer them to our client interest form.

    Through EWB, we hope you find it to be an excellent opportunity to learn from clients and other evaluators, give back to the broader Washington, D.C. area, and continue to build our local evaluation community.


    Giovanni Dazzo
    2019 President
    Washington Evaluators

  • Tue, January 08, 2019 12:39 PM | Deleted user

    Happy New Year, Washington Evaluators members! As I begin my year as WE President, I would like to thank Stephanie Cabell, WE’s President in 2018, as well as the 2018 Board of Directors and its committee members. Each year, our dedicated volunteers spend countless hours managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. As we start this year, I welcome you to review our history as a professional association—noting not only our accomplishments but encouraging you to send us your ideas on how we can continue to improve.

    I would now like to turn my attention to my priorities as WE’s 2019 President, focusing on two broad themes: (1) evaluation as community, and (2) evaluation in the community.

    These priorities highlight a continued focus on increasing our membership base, improving the efficiency of our operations, and enhancing pipelines for local leadership. As a local affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), I would like to advocate that we strive to reach the goals set by AEA, especially those calling on us to establish a “diverse community of professionals”, and to develop the “capacity of communities and organizations to engage in evaluation” (AEA Mission, Vision, Values and Governing Policies, 2016).

    Sustaining membership services and supporting diversity, inclusion, and engagement within our evaluation community. We have a strong tradition of offering professional development and social events for the evaluation community in the Washington, D.C area. In addition to continuing these events, this year, WE will also focus on programming that is of interest to emerging evaluators. Additionally, we will be revamping our New Professional Scholarship to provide support to new evaluators interested in attending courses at The Evaluators’ Institute. This helps us to ensure that WE continues to lay the groundwork for the next generation in our community.

    Planning a variety of events and initiatives, however, does not, in itself, ensure meaningful inclusion and engagement. In line with the Dialogue on Race and Class in America—which was co-sponsored by AEA, WE, and the Trachtenberg School at George Washington University in 2017—the WE Board will be continuing this discussion during our planning processes. By taking intentional steps to reflect on questions of identity and power, I hope we can address issues of race, gender, and class in all aspects of our operations, from programming to communications to scholarships.

    In the coming months, we will also be distributing a membership engagement survey where you can provide input on the types of members-only programming and communications that you would like to see. As an immediate step, please visit your member profile page to select your interests and the AEA topical interest groups to which you belong (after logging in to the website, click on your name, View Profile, and then Edit Profile). This information will aid us in our efforts to organize events that draw on our members’ interests. This also assists members in finding peers in the Member Directory, and allows the Board to efficiently match mentors and mentees for our ongoing Mentor Minutes program. After assessing the state of Mentor Minutes, we will be refining this members-only program, with new volunteers and increased communication with those interested in participating.

    To create connections between our professional association and other communities of practice, we will be coordinating with AEA Topical Interest Groups to advertise events and communications to members and non-members in the region. We are in the process of increasing our engagement with other local affiliates and voluntary organizations for professional evaluation based in the United States and abroad, through joint programming and virtual peer-to-peer exchanges.

    That said, while these efforts assist us in broadening our community of practice, we must also meaningfully connect with our more immediate neighborhoods and communities. As a professional association, the Board aims to not only guarantee the sustainability of our association, but to ensure that those outside our community of practice understand and value what we do.

    Ensuring our membership is engaged in the broader Washington, D.C. community. In addition to our regular programming (e.g., brown bags, happy hours, sine qua non dinners), you will notice that this year, our social events will mirror the programming that we undertook in 2017 and during the 2017 AEA annual conference. Every four years, our Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) curates events around the city for those visiting for the AEA conference. By taking advantage of our existing Program Committee and LAWG infrastructure, we aim to increase the number and variety of events offered to members. Activities will include group visits to museums such as the Renwick Gallery, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Anacostia Community Museum; institutions such as NPR and other cultural venues; and, gatherings at baseball games and outdoor events. We hope members find these events to be intellectually and culturally stimulating, as well as a way to engage with fellow evaluators by exploring the Washington, D.C. area.

    We will also draw on the success of our previous pro bono initiative, Evaluation Without Borders, which matches evaluators to non-profits and community-based organizations seeking program planning, measurement, and evaluation services. After WE piloted this initiative during Eval2017, we spent last year establishing the operational foundation to offer this as a permanent programming option. We will officially launch our EWB program during the week of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to commemorate his legacy of civic engagement and community service. If you are interested in sharing your skills, we encourage you to complete our pro bono evaluator form, as we will be matching volunteers soon. If you know of an organization interested in pro bono support, please refer them to our client interest form.

    As we start another year, I encourage you to provide feedback to the Board, sign up as a volunteer or mentor, and participate in Board meetings and events. I hope this year brings you the opportunity to not only engage with our community of practice, but to also see how evaluators can promote the public good in the Washington, D.C. area.


    Giovanni Dazzo
    2019 President
    Washington Evaluators

  • Fri, October 05, 2018 4:23 PM | Anonymous member

    Washington Evaluators members will be well represented, not only as attendees, but also as presenters in this year's American Evaluation Association fall conference in Cleveland, OH. At least 59 Washington Evaluators members will participate as presenters, panel chairs, group leaders, in poster sessions, and as discussants in at least 124 sessions. Congratulations to all!

    A list of Washington Evaluators members participating in AEA sessions in any capacity is provided below (as of Oct. 5, 2018). Please refer to the official program at www.eval.org for all final session dates and times.

    Michelle Abraczinskas:

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - YFE3: Youth Speaking Truth To Power

    Joy Amulya:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1645: Winning the war on state-sponsored propaganda: Results from an impact evaluation of a Ukrainian news media and information literacy program

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 1659: Using Evaluation to Inform the Design of Program Networks for Societal Change

    Saturday Concurrents 10:15am-11:00am - 1989: Democratizing evaluation: Whose Questions? Whose Data? Whose Learning?

    Stephen Axelrad:

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 1248: Building Collaborative Evaluations from Stakeholder Analysis

    TIG Business Meetings - TIGBM37: Military and Veteran Evaluations TIG Business Meeting

    Denise Baer:

    Wednesday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:30pm - 2702:"Capacity To" Collaboration Tool for Assessing Partnership and Coalition "democratic" Governance for Advocacy and Policy Reform

    Saturday Concurrents 9:15am-10:00am - DG2: Parliaments, Policy and Monitoring and Evaluation

    Gail Barrington:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - One Day (Wed) - 46: (46) Intermediate Consulting Skills

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1518: AEA's Evaluator Competencies-- what can we learn from other Evaluation societies about next steps?

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - 1247: What Happens Afterwards? Ways to De-brief with Clients

    Post-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Sat PM) - 64: (64) Consulting After 50: Career Transition Issues

    Alemayehu Bekele:

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2431: GEDI 14: Building emerging CRE Practitioners and Scholars

    Heather Britt:

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1906: Systems Approaches for Organizational Development

    Thursday Concurrents 1:45pm-2:30pm - 1936: Principles-Focused Evaluation for Robust M&E Frameworks: Examples from countering violent extremism

    TIG Business Meetings - TIGBM54: Systems in Evaluation TIG Business Meeting

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - 1186: Applying Principles for the Effective Use of Systems Thinking and Complexity Science in Evaluation

    Adalei Broers:

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 2695: Five Organizations and One MEL System: Successes and Challenges

    Kerry Bruce:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - One Day (Wed) - 19: (19) Big data and evaluation

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 2395: How can MEL Tools lead Adaptive Management?

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 2193: When Many Choices are Good Choices: Considerations in Qualitative Data Analysis Software Platforms Through a Discussion of MAXQDA, NVivo, and Dedoose

    David Bernstein:

    Wednesday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:30pm - DUP1: Power to Succeed: Exploring Employment and Living Outcomes for People with Disabilities

    Friday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1187:35 Years of Evaluation Learning in 5 Minutes

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - 1113: Monitoring and Evaluating Inclusive Program Practices

    Val Caracelli:

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - 2391: Speaking Truth to Power When Power Isn’t Listening: The Current Challenges of Evaluation Influence

    Ratiba Cherif:

    Friday Concurrents 2:15pm-3:15pm - 2639: The OL-ECB Information Commons: Guidelines for Selecting and Curating Content

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 2307: Harnessing creativity for evaluation

    Cynthia Clapp-Wincek:

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1643: Roundtable Discussion of International VOPE and AEA Efforts in Evaluation Policy Development and Advocacy

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - 1667: Update on AEA's Role in EvalPartners and the International Organization on Cooperation in Evaluation

    Susan Cottrell:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Wed PM) - 56: (56) Using Surveys and Brainstoming Tools to Empower Staff

    Katherine Dawes:

    Wednesday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 1045: Learning from failure: Speaking truth to each other

    Giovanni Dazzo:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 2092: Evaluating Visually: Translating raw data to stunning visual communications to facilitate uptake of evaluation information

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1382: Whose Stories Matter?: Using Secondary Analysis and Meta-monitoring to Explore Power and Values in the ‘Most Significant Change’ Process

    Thursday Concurrents 1:45pm-2:30pm - 1841: Words matter. Managing power dynamics across stakeholders to ensure participation during evaluation and use of evidence.

    Jennifer Dewey:

    TIG Business Meetings - TIGBM5: Business, Leadership, and Performance TIG Business Meeting

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - BLP2: Towards a General Theory of Monitoring and Evaluation

    Danuta Dobosz:

    Thursday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1694: Teaching Qualitative Methods in Evaluation Online: Instructor and Student Perspectives

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - DG1: Evidence-Based Programs and Evaluating Democracy

    Ann Doucette:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Wed PM) - 50: (50) Measurement: How precise are the finding of my evaluation??

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 2776: Practitioner Challenges and Successes when Speaking Truth: Cases from Various Stages in an Evaluation

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 1427: Giving an active voice to respondents through effective survey design

    Diana Epstein:

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2502: Executive and Legislative Perspectives on Federal Evaluation Policy

    Lynne Franco:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Wed PM) - 55: (55) Enhancing the truth in triangulation: Approaches to Data Analysis and Interpretation

    Thursday Concurrents 1:45pm-2:30pm - 1841: Words matter. Managing power dynamics across stakeholders to ensure participation during evaluation and use of evidence.

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - 1504:The Pathway to High Effective Coverage at Scale-a framework for enhancing truth in program strategy, monitoring and evaluation

    Rebecca Frazier:

    Friday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 2679: How to Use a “Bundled” Evaluation Methodology to Speak Truth to Power

    Sierra Frischknecht:

    Thursday Concurrents 2:45pm-3:30pm - 2762: How to Make Evaluating in Transition a Joint Initiative

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 2167: Capturing Leadership Outcomes with Most Significant Change

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 2536: Networks of International Leadership Development Programs: Who has the power and why do we care?

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - HPEER2: Intro to HPEER Part 2: Conducting Evaluation Work in the Healthcare Environment

    Saturday Concurrents 9:15am-10:00am - 2519:A new look for greater use: visual reporting at MCC

    Alejandra Garcia Diaz Villamil:

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - ICCE4: Cultural Competency and Sense Making in International Evaluation

    Saturday Concurrents 11:15am-12:00pm - FIE1: The Power of Evidence in Gender Equality Evaluations

    Nick Hart:

    Thursday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 3062: AEA Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) Update

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1025: Promoting Evidence-Building Capacity for Learning in Government

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2502: Executive and Legislative Perspectives on Federal Evaluation Policy

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1643: Roundtable: Updating AEA's "Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective Government"

    Friday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm (Presidential Strand) -2701: Power to Truth = Evidence: Establishing a Culture of Evaluation for Evidence-Based Decisions and Policymaking

    Kelva Hunger:

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - 2779: Investigating and Measuring Burnout among Program Evaluators

    Mary Hyde:

    Friday Concurrents 2:15pm-3:15pm - 1843: Using Evidence to Scale-Up Community Based Solutions That Work – A Federal Agency’s Framework and Approach

    Jonathan Jones:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 2092: Evaluating Visually: Translating raw data to stunning visual communications to facilitate uptake of evaluation information

    Thursday Concurrents 1:45pm-2:30pm - 1841: Words matter. Managing power dynamics across stakeholders to ensure participation during evaluation and use of evidence.

    Akashi Kaul:

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - MIE1: Culturally Responsive Strategies for Addressing the Elephants in the Room: Race and Power

    Jackie Kaye:

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - 1813: Measuring the Health of Social Movements: Exploring questions of power, truth and speaking

    Kirk Knestis:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Wed PM) - 48: (48) Overcoming Traditional Weaknesses of Logic Models with a Novel "Condition Modeling" Approach

    Wednesday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 1303: Game Changers: Lessons from Small Evaluation Firms

    Thursday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1455: Gun violence in the US: What if it’s a data problem before it’s a “gun problem” or “people problem?”

    Anne Laesecke:

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 2167: Capturing Leadership Outcomes with Most Significant Change

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 2536: Networks of International Leadership Development Programs: Who has the power and why do we care?

    Steven Lize:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 3061: Innovative Efforts in State-Level Evaluation Policy and Practice

    Alissa Marchant:

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 2219: Find your niche: Using evaluation to improve business communications

    McDonald, Sarah-Kay:

    Friday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm (Presidential Strand) - 2701: Power to Truth = Evidence: Establishing a Culture of Evaluation for Evidence-Based Decisions and Policymaking

    Donna Mertens:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Two Day (Mon/Tues) - 01: (01) Eval 101

    Birds of a Feather - 1229: Intersecting transformative evaluation and social impact investing

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm (Presidential Strand) - 1111: Challenging and re-framing truth and power in evaluation

    Post-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Sat PM) - 59: (59) Mixed Methods Design in Evaluation

    Patricia Moore Shaffer:

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2286: Arts Education Collective Impact Initiatives: Meeting the Challenge of Shared Measurement across Sites

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - PD1: Exploring Approaches to Program Design: Finding Voice and Reconciling Truths

    Susan Morawetz:

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2582: Fighting Famines

    Ian David Moss:

    Thursday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1571: Embedding Evaluation in the Decision-Making Process

    Ioana Munteanu:

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - GE3: Strengthening Government Performance Through Evaluations

    Erin Murrock:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1645: Winning the war on state-sponsored propaganda: Results from an impact evaluation of a Ukrainian news media and information literacy program

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 1659: Using Evaluation to Inform the Design of Program Networks for Societal Change

    Kathryn Newcomer:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1025: Promoting Evidence-Building Capacity for Learning in Government

    Cheryl Oros:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 1877: Applying theory-driven approach in evaluating the planning and implementation of a school-based telemedicine program in rural Georgia

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1211: Using Theory-Driven Approach to Assess Unintended Effects

    Friday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1003: Introduction to Evaluation and Policy

    William Pate:

    Friday Concurrents 2:15pm-3:15pm - CMME1: Managing Site Specifics in Multisite Evaluation

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 3064: Good Data, Bad Data

    Julia Rollison:

    Wednesday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:30pm - 1594: Moving Beyond Document Storage: Using SharePoint to More Effectively Manage Evaluations

    Thursday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1597: Using SharePoint to Track and Present Data for Process and Outcome Evaluations

    Katelyn Sedelmyer:

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - CPPE5: Learning from Community Evaluations: Theory and Practice

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - OLECB1: ECB in Community-Based and Nonprofit Organizations

    Godfrey Senkaba:

    Friday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1852: Working with Assumptions: Understanding how Evaluators Make Decisions about Capturing Reality/Context

    Jacqueline Singh:

    Friday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1285: Who has Power in Higher Education? Deeper Thinking About Evidence-Based Decision-Making

    Kelly Skeith:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 1815: Understanding Rights-based Politics: Using Applied Political Economy Analysis to Guide Human Rights Programming

    Thursday Concurrents 3:45pm-4:45pm - 2439: Risky Business: Evaluation in High-Risk Political Environments

    Thursday Concurrents 5:00pm-5:45pm - 2695: Five Organizations and One MEL System: Successes and Challenges

    TIG Business Meetings - TIGBM14: Democracy and Governance TIG Business Meeting

    Juna Snow:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 1639: Is evaluator-focused meta-evaluation occurring or just theorized?

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 2776: Practitioner Challenges and Successes when Speaking Truth: Cases from Various Stages in an Evaluation

    TIG Business Meetings - TIGBM6: Cluster, Multi-site and Multi-level Evaluation TIG Business Meeting

    Friday Concurrents 2:15pm-3:15pm - CMME1: Managing Site Specifics in Multisite Evaluation

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - GE1: A Closer Look at Telework in the Federal Environment

    Sarya Sok:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 1382: Whose Stories Matter?: Using Secondary Analysis and Meta-monitoring to Explore Power and Values in the ‘Most Significant Change’ Process

    Linda Stern:

    Wednesday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 1978: Speaking Many Truths to Power: re-appropriating mobile ethnography for evaluative case studies.

    Friday Concurrents 10:30am-11:15am - 1707: Speaking Truth to Political Power: Lessons from International Democracy Assistance Evaluations

    Beeta Tahmassebi:

    Thursday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 2179: The Art of Crafting a Successful Engagement – How to balance the power dynamics between funders and consultants to ensure evaluation success

    Friday Concurrents 11:30am-12:15pm - 2161: Grassroots or Grasstops? Measuring the Effectiveness of Advocacy Strategies

    Brandie Taylor:

    Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors - 2013: Assessment of the Centers for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Design at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Organizational Learning & Evaluation Capacity Building - 1996: Evaluation Training Needs Assessment at the National Institute of Allergy and Infecti cous Diseases

    Research, Technology & Development Evaluation - 2022: Process and Outcome Evaluation of the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Friday Concurrents 3:30pm-4:15pm - GE1: A Closer Look at Telework in the Federal Environment

    Juha Uitto:

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - 1816: Lessons from applying Rapid Impact Evaluation

    Dana Wanzer:

    Wednesday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - RE1: Contextual issues in evaluation practice

    Thursday Concurrents 8:00am-9:00am - DVR1: Research on Data Visualization

    Asia Williams:

    Thursday Concurrents 2:45pm-3:30pm - CD2: Effectiveness of skill-building and self-sufficiency initiatives: Results from two recent studies

    Friday Concurrents 5:45pm-6:45pm - MIE1:Culturally Responsive Strategies for Addressing the Elephants in the Room: Race and Power

    Saturday Concurrents 10:15am-11:00am - 2750: Catalysts of Change: Out-of-School Time STEM Programs for Underrepresented Youth

    Brian Yates:

    Pre-Conference Workshop - Half Day (Wed PM) - 45: (45) Adding Costs to Make Your Evaluation More Impactful (and Better Used): Using Cost-Effectiveness, Cost-Benefit, Cost-Utility Analyses for Health and Human Services

    Wednesday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 1154: Seeking and Speaking Truths in Terms that Power Understands: Problems and Solutions in Cost-Inclusive Evaluation

    Lily Zandniapour:

    Friday Concurrents 2:15pm-3:15pm - 1843: Using Evidence to Scale-Up Community Based Solutions That Work – A Federal Agency’s Framework and Approach

    Friday Concurrents 4:30pm-5:30pm - 2442: Maximizing Evaluation Use: Examples from Social Innovation Fund Intermediary Funders

  • Wed, January 31, 2018 10:43 AM | Anonymous member

    Dear Colleagues:

    As I said in my 2018 New Year’s greeting, I am excited to engage with Washington Evaluators (WE) members and the larger DC evaluation community over the next year as we continue to highlight evaluation’s critical role to inform decision-making in all sectors and levels of government.  In particular, I look forward to working with WE’s 2018 Board of Directors  and committee/task force chairs on the many initiatives that support the promotion of evaluation as a profession and that seek to improve evaluation practices and increase routine use of evaluation and evidence.

    As is WE’s tradition, I want to take this opportunity to share my priorities over this next year as WE’s 2018 President:

    Promoting the Field of Evaluation Locally and Nationally – AEA and its affiliates recognize that evaluation is an essential function of government.  Given WE’s proximity to a large federal workforce and three state governments, WE will partner with agencies to continue the focus on the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking’s recommendations to improve evidence-building capacity in government and non-government agencies.  We will periodically shed light on EvalAction 2017 by sharing ideas on ways to stay engaged in discussing the value of evaluation in government.  And we are laying the groundwork to expand WE’s successful Evaluation Without Borders initiative for WE members to meaningfully connect and give back to the Washington, DC community.

    Supporting WE Operations Through Our Members: Organizational Sponsors – Our members are the lifeblood of Washington Evaluators.  As such, we will actively seek opportunities to meaningfully engage our members, starting with our newest membership category—Organizational Sponsors.  A priority of WE is to ensure our members find value in their membership, so we will partner with different sectors of our membership to create professional development and networking events for members to learn from and interact with one another. 

    Strengthening the Sustainability of the Evaluation Community – The board is working with the points of contact for its major initiatives targeted at new and young professionals in the evaluation discipline.  We are working with our New Professionals Scholarship, University Ambassadors, and Student Conference Taskforce chairs to grow efforts devoted to support the next generation of professional evaluators, and look for synergies among these initiatives. For starters, WE members can look forward to a brown bag event to meet and hear from the three recipients of WE’s 2017 New Professionals Scholarship. 

    Volunteer Engagement & Recognition – A central focus will be a continuation of the rich menu of opportunities for WE members to make an impact through professional development, mentoring, access to job listings and evaluation-related events, and leadership opportunities locally and nationally with AEA, etc.  We will continue the tradition started by Past President Nick Hart of recognizing individuals for contributions to WE and to the DC evaluation community at large, and will develop and grow organizational leadership pipelines on WE committees and taskforces. 

    American Evaluation Associates Affiliates – Last, but certainly not least, as one of 30+ AEA affiliates, through WE’s representative to the AEA-Local Affiliates Collaborative (AEA-LAC) we will work with other affiliates to develop and implement actions that affiliates and the parent organization, AEA, can take to mutually support one another.

    In the immediate future, we will be updating our Action Plan to make available to you this Spring.  We hope it will be a reflection of WE’s efforts to be of service to our members and fellow evaluators by providing avenues to attend events, network with colleagues in the field, address critical topics like building evidence-capacity, and share expertise by volunteering.  We look forward to this next year with you, and invite you to stay in touch by dropping us a line at washingtonevaluators@gmail.org.


    Stephanie Cabell

  • Sat, December 30, 2017 1:48 PM | Anonymous member

    Dear Fellow WE Members –

    I am excited to be starting 2018 as President of Washington Evaluators.  It is a great honor to take over the helm as president and I thank the Board, WE’s past president Nick Hart for his leadership and ongoing support, and all of you for this opportunity. 

    As Nick said in his 2017 closing message to all of us, 2017 was indeed a fantastic year for evaluation in the Washington, DC, area.  Whether at the local, state or national level, Washington Evaluators was at the forefront of key discussions in the discipline and proud to be an actor in this dynamic environment.  Our members reflect that dynamism through their engagement in their organizations and externally in any number of realms.  I look forward to soon sharing our goals and priorities for 2018 with all of you.  We will continue with many of initiatives detailed in WE’s strategic plan and will build upon our accomplishments of 2017, not the least of which is increasing the opportunities for WE members to meaningfully engage with fellow evaluators. 

    For now, on behalf of the board of Washington Evaluators:  “Best wishes to all in the New Year.”

    Stephanie Cabell

  • Tue, December 05, 2017 4:19 PM | Anonymous member

    As 2017 comes to a close, our profession has much to celebrate. 2017 was a fantastic year for the evaluation field in Washington, DC.

    At the outset of 2017 when my term as president of Washington Evaluators began, I outlined three of my overarching priorities for the organization this year: to strengthen the national evaluation community, enhance our organizational services, and to improve our infrastructure for the sustainability of Washington Evaluators. We made tremendous progress in addressing each of these three priorities throughout the year.

    I am proud of all that the Board and volunteer members of Washington Evaluators were able to accomplish in just 12 short months. Thank you to all of the volunteers who supported Washington Evaluators activities this year. As we reflect on the past year, I want to briefly highlight several accomplishments of our organization in 2017.

    Strengthening the National Evaluation Community

    Throughout the year Washington Evaluators partnered with numerous organizations to host events and dialogues to advance evaluation practice, and strengthen the interactions between evaluators not just here in DC but from around the country.

    • Early this year Washington Evaluators co-sponsored a dialogue for our field to discuss the role of race and class in evaluation. The event, co-sponsored with the American Evaluation Association and George Washington University, was the first of four sessions that ended with a capstone plenary at the fall AEA conference here in Washington.
    • In September, following the release of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking's report, Washington Evaluators partnered with AEA, George Washington University, and the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis to sponsor an event for dialogue about how to proceed in implementing the Commission's recommendations. The event attracted more than 150 attendees including individuals from fields that partner with evaluators to begin a discussion that continues today about next steps for improving the entire evidence-building community. 
    • In November, Washington Evaluators' volunteers led excellent initiatives during the fall AEA #Eval17 conference, and more than one-third of our membership participated in panels.  Brian Yoder's leadership in EvalAction, an initiative conducted in partnership with AEA's Evaluation Policy Task Force, led to more than 100 evaluators volunteering to visit with congressional staff and Congressmen to discuss the field of evaluation this fall.  Giovanni Dazzo and Jonathan Jones co-chaired the Local Arrangements Working Group in preparation for the fall AEA conference, and did a tremendous job launching new initiatives such as the Evaluation without Borders effort to encourage evaluators to give back to the community during the conference. And Washington Evaluators members contributed $600 to support five graduate students from around the country participating in the #Eval17 conference.

    Each of these events and contributions made substantial in-roads to strengthening the evaluation profession not just here in DC, but by demonstrating the value of evaluation and future directions for evaluation across the country.

    Enhancing Evaluation Services and Benefits in DC

    While Washington Evaluators this year exhibited leadership for evaluators across the country, our volunteers also designed and led numerous efforts to enhance the benefits of membership for our local evaluators right here in Washington, DC.

    • As Washington Evaluators revamped its communications efforts under the leadership of Patricia Shaffer, our members received improved weekly digests with job announcements and opportunities for events around the city.
    • Our program committee, led by Giovanni Dazzo, coordinated ten professional development events ranging from discussions with the Government Accountability Office to former AEA president Rodney Hopson. Many of these events were made available to members through new virtual participation options.
    • The program committee also sought out new opportunities for evaluators to productively network with each other at social events, including Washington Evaluators' first event at Nationals Park, and our membership committee chaired by Robin Kelley hosted its second members-only meet and greet.
    • Washington Evaluators launched a new short-term mentoring program to better meet the needs of our members, led by Nick Zyznieuski. Nearly a dozen of our members participated in the program as mentees this year and we expect the initiative to grow further in coming years.
    • Finally, recognizing that DC is a large city and sometimes events may be difficult to attend downtown during the workday to interact with fellow evaluators, this year Washington Evaluators hosted the Sine Qua Non dinner series, where we made an effort to connect evaluators to those who live and work in close proximity to each other. Throughout the year, Washington Evaluators volunteers hosted nine dinners attended by dozens of members to discuss their work, the state of the evaluation profession, and suggestions for the DC evaluation community.

    We hope that all Washington Evaluators members personally experienced many of the specific benefits of membership throughout the year by attending an event or participating in one of the many activities available to members.

    Reinforcing Organizational Infrastructure

    While the business matters of Washington Evaluators are rarely the most exciting for many members -- there are many encouraging actions undertaken this year that will hopefully shape the future direction of the organization for years to come. 

    • The Board developed a robust, long-term strategic plan, and with member input approved a plan outlining new and ambitious goals for the organization. To support implementation of the strategic plan the Board also approved an action plan for 2017, and completed 43 of 50 of the items in that plan in full and 5 in part or with some modification from the original plan (2 items deferred for future action).
    • The Communications Committee in 2017 engaged in a full rebranding of the organization with a new logo and by launching a new website that is easier to navigate and with greater visual appeal. In addition, the social media presence was substantially enhanced with an active and growing engagement on Twitter and LinkedIn.
    • The Membership Committee led an effort to revise how members join and retain a relationship with the organization, Washington Evaluators this year launched a two year membership status and the new organizational sponsor status. To date more than 30 members have changed their status to two year memberships and four organizations have signed up as sponsors.
    • The long-term infrastructure of the organization is built on the engagement and participation of dozens of volunteers. In recognition of the important role volunteers play in the success of Washington Evaluators, we are pleased to be able to recognize a volunteer of the year for the first time in 2017.

    Looking Forward

    2017 was a phenomenally energizing year for Washington Evaluators as an organization and for all evaluators in Washington, DC. In addition to the many achievements of Washington Evaluators throughout the year, policymakers in DC renewed calls for institutionalizing evaluation in the federal government. With the American Evaluation Association's annual conference in DC as a backdrop, the U.S. Congress advanced legislation to encourage more evaluation in agencies across government. We have much to look forward to in coming years!

    Thank you to all who supported the many activities of the organization and strengthening our evaluation community in 2017. Please join me especially in thanking the entire Washington Evaluators Board of Directors and leaders of our many task forces for their leadership this year.

    I hope you will continue to be engaged next year as well to support our growing community of evaluation practice!

    NICK HART, PHD is the 2017 President of Washington Evaluators.

  • Fri, November 24, 2017 2:32 PM | Anonymous member

    As the number of Washington Evaluators members and volunteers continues to grow, the Board of Directors of the organization has acknowledged a growing need to recognize our stellar volunteers. Washington Evaluators does not currently have a single staff member, so every service, event, and resource is produced by an all-volunteer team who provide countless hours of exceptional service to our local evaluation community.

    Because so many volunteers offer their time to strengthen our profession and often do not ask for any recognition or compensation, I am proud to announce that this year Washington Evaluators will help fill this gap by launching a new "Volunteer of the Year Award."

    The Volunteer of the Year Award is intended to recognize outstanding volunteers who provide dedicated and selfless service to the organization and the Washington, DC evaluation community. The intent is that recipients will have made significant contributions to the success of the organization's goals and mission attainment throughout the year. 

    The creation of this award was contemplated by the Board of Directors through a strategic planning process in 2017 and a subsequent action plan intended to strengthen the organization's infrastructure and long-term sustainability.

    For 2017, nominations will be accepted through December 6, 2017. The recipient will be announced at the 2017 Holiday Party. Learn more about the nomination criteria, eligibility, selection process, and timing of the award here.

    NICK HART, PHD is the 2017 President of Washington Evaluators. 

  • Sun, November 05, 2017 8:37 PM | Anonymous member

    Later this week the largest gathering of professional program evaluators in the world will  convene here in Washington, DC as the American Evaluation Association launches its annual conference, Evaluation 2017. While many exciting activities will occur during the week, the conference theme -- "From Learning to Action" -- provides us all the opportunity to reflect on one basic question: why do I evaluate?

    Learning Cultures

    We live in a society that often focuses, perhaps too much, on the consequences of failure. For organizations and grantees, failing to deliver on promised activities can result in a loss of funding. In government, current political discourse would have us believe programs that operate imperfectly can or should be terminated altogether.

    Instead of focusing on the consequences of failure, we could choose to focus on the benefits of failure. Consider failure from a personal rather than organizational perspective. In childhood, we learn quickly from mistakes like touching a hot pan on the stovetop or, in my case, shooting your brother with a bb gun. The benefits are that we generally avoid touching hot objects or take greater care in gun safety in the future. Over the course of our lives we make thousands of "mistakes" that productively inform our future behaviors.

    Learning from failure is a natural part of the human experience, just as much as learning from success. Because organizations are comprised of humans, we should expect that both failure and success are similarly an organic component of organizational learning.

    A learning culture must become more pervasive and routine in organizations and in our government -- it's how we improve, it's how we enhance ourselves, and it's how we make the world a better place to live.  Learning cultures are what drive continuous improvements in the outcomes that matter. Learning cultures are how we ensure those in our society who need help and support receive effective assistance. And learning cultures are how we develop the information to act, ensuring our children grow into a better world that we have prepared for them. Recognizing that failure is inevitable and can be used to productively improve is a key component of a learning culture.

    Why I Evaluate

    This perspective on the purpose of a learning culture is one that is very timely for me. My son was born just over one week ago. His entry into the world has left me reflecting in recent days on many of life's priorities and the process of learning.

    It's difficult to imagine becoming a parent that only admonishes my son's inevitable "failures" in life. It's also difficult to imagine only praising his successes. Both failure and success will present incredible learning opportunities and invaluable teaching moments.

    How we act in response to any form of information is a direct reflection on our values. In my son and in my government, I value continuous improvement to be the best person or entity possible. I value a recognition that even in mistakes or failures, we can always improve ourselves to be our best reflection of the world. I value learning because it enables action in our lives, for our families, and for our futures.

    So why do I evaluate? I evaluate to learn and improve through appropriate action. I evaluate to make the world a little better for my son. I evaluate to help make society stronger. 

    #WhyEval: A Call for Reflection

    Evaluation is not merely a profession, it derives from a greater motivation, goal, and purpose. During the American Evaluation Association's conference this week, I encourage you to consider what drives you to support evaluation:

    • What is your motivation?
    • What is your goal?
    • What is your purpose?

    As you reflect, I also encourage you to share why you evaluate (#WhyEval) with others as we all strive to better understand how learning segues to action in our own work and in our own lives.

    NICK HART, PH.D. is the President of Washington Evaluators in 2017 and Director of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. 

  • Sat, October 14, 2017 8:53 AM | Anonymous member

    Originally posted on AEA 365's A Tip a Day by and for Evaluators for the Local Arrangements Working Group sponsored week in July 2017

    As the American Evaluation Association’s 2017 conference returns to Washington, DC, this fall, on behalf of the Washington Evaluators affiliate allow me to welcome you to DC for #Eval17!  I am Nick Hart, current president of Washington Evaluators, AEA’s DC-based affiliate.

    Washington Evaluators launched in 1984 and has grown to more than 300 local evaluators today. Our goal is to strengthen the evaluation community in the Washington, DC area. We pride ourselves on having a diverse representation of government, non-profit, academic, and independent evaluators that comprise our membership.

    This year our membership worked to produce a new strategic plan to ensure the services and professional development opportunities offered truly serve our community. We now have four key strategic goals: strengthen the sustainability of the evaluation community; enhance evaluation relationships and interactions; support individual evaluators' professional development needs; and ensure strong administration of the organization. Each of these four strategic goals is a core component of the Washington Evaluators mission. In implementing our ambitious strategic plan, Washington Evaluators is working to create more opportunities to engage new evaluation professionals, further the professional development of long-time evaluation professionals, and offer the 30+ years of experience of our evaluation organization to other communities of practice throughout the country.

    As the seat of the United States government, Washington, DC is perhaps best known for its influence in evaluation policy. But beyond the government, DC is home to leading evaluation organizations and the brightest evaluation minds in the U.S.  Building on this broad evaluation expertise, as we prepare for an exciting #Eval17 this fall, over the course of this week on AEA365 we will be showcasing local resources, sites to visit, volunteer opportunities, a major advocacy event on Capitol Hill, and other tips for your trip to DC.

    Rad Resource:  Follow Washington Evaluators on Twitter or check out our website to learn more about the many opportunities available in the DC area.  Many of our events are open to non-members as we support the entire DC evaluation community.

    Lesson Learned:  Book your travel for the conference early. There are three airports in close proximity to DC (Dulles, Reagan, and Baltimore).  From any of these airports, the conference site is just a short Uber ride away.  All are also reachable by DC’s public transit options.

    Hot Tip:  In addition to the resources we will share in advance of the conference, Washington, DC has an excellent tourism website that explains the sites to see in America’s Front Yard, provides tips on accessing the many free museums, and explains the neighborhoods in the city.

    Get excited for a great conference this fall. We look forward to seeing you in DC! 

    NICK HART, PH.D. is the 2017 President of Washington Evaluators and a member of the American Evaluation Association's 2017 Conference Planning Committee.

(c) 2017 Washington Evaluators

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