Six ways to be more intentional and have more fun at a conference

Have you ever come home from a conference exhausted and wondering what the heck just happened? This happens to me, especially at large conferences like the American Society of Association Executives annual meeting and expo.  ASAE is large (5,000 people here, I think) and has more going on than one simple person like me can follow. I am a dust bunny and it’s Spring Cleaning.  … Continue reading Six ways to be more intentional and have more fun at a conference

Evaluation Resistance Dudes

We talk a lot about resistance in the field evaluation.  “Evaluation has so much to offer. Why do organizations, funders, participants,  and leaders resist our efforts?” People resist evaluation for the same reason we resist exercise, meditation, and eating our Brussel spouts*. We fear change. Even “good for us” change, especially “good for us” change, is scary.  Often, we can’t do anything about the “bad … Continue reading Evaluation Resistance Dudes

A new look

Based on the frequency of posting here it might look as if I’ve decided against this whole blogging thing. I haven’t.  Actually, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what I want to put out there in the world, on and off the internet.  There’s even a handful of posts waiting for me to click “publish”.   I’ve been blogging without blogging and rather focused on … Continue reading A new look


Social work and Evaluation- Part 2

  One of the things I love about learning is the way it shifts over time. Thinking about my time in graduate school made me realize how much of that experience I’ve carried with me and applied to my career, often not even realizing it. Here are few lessons I’ve carried with me from my social work training that serve me well as an evaluator … Continue reading Social work and Evaluation- Part 2

Social work, evaluation, and life (or What My MSW Taught me Part 1)

It’s Social Work TIG week over on the AEA365 Blog and I hope people have been reading.     I’m glad to see Kathy Bolland calling attention today to the common values held by both social workers and evaluators.   Those values are what drew me to these fields. What social workers and evaluators do is different, but there is a lot of overlap in why we do … Continue reading Social work, evaluation, and life (or What My MSW Taught me Part 1)

What are you doing to help yourself learn?

Last week the aea365 blog reposted an intriguing challenge from John LaVelle at Claremont Graduate University.  John asked us to develop our own personal statements about evaluation- what it is, how we do it, and what we draw upon to inform our work.   Evaluation is dominated by theories of evaluation often linked to the work of marquis names.  One of the ways I read John’s … Continue reading What are you doing to help yourself learn?

Small Kindness

I’m on a trip doing important evaluation business.  Yesterday morning before leaving for what I knew would be a long and also enjoyable day, I left a tip for housekeeping with a note that read: Thank you for making this a more beautiful, peaceful and comfortable place to be. Housekeeping staff have an under appreciated and difficult job.  My sister used to be the front … Continue reading Small Kindness

What are you doing to help your clients learn?

One of the reasons I started this blog is because I am always finding neat evaluation-related content online that I can’t incorporate easily into my work.  I don’t have other evaluators around to discuss things with and I care too much for my colleagues to ask them to pretend to be excited about my online evaluation discoveries. Recently, I found this post on the Education … Continue reading What are you doing to help your clients learn?

Examining assumptions

One of the important functions an evaluator performs for a program or organization is to help clarify, question, and make explicit the assumptions upon which activities, processes and behaviors are based. Depending on the context, this can be a welcome opportunity for learning or a threat to deeply held and accepted norms. We can engage in a similar exercise of thinking critically and asking questions … Continue reading Examining assumptions