November 9, 2015. Chicago. (they are everywhere…everywhere).

AEA AEA logo will be holding the annual Evaluation conference there starting November 9, 2015. The theme this year put forward by President Stewart Donaldson Stewart Donaldson is Evaluation 2015 theme. And as always, much thought and preparation has gone into planning this conference. Will you be there? I will.

I will be co-leading a professional development shop with Jim Altschuld altschuld on “Linking Needs Assessment and Asset/Capacity Building and Needs Through Practical Experience”. It is Professional Development session number 11, if you want to know about an alternative way to think about “needs assessments”. He writes about it in this book Bridging the Gap-altschuld.

You can still register for the conference. Stewart says that the conference will allow individuals¬† to “learn about exemplary evaluations, enabling evaluation environments, evaluation policies, evaluation theories and methods, and research on evaluation from a range of cultures and regions throughout the world.” There will be a wealth of information to gather, sort through, and absorb. There is an online searchable program (no printed program, unfortunately; a greening of AEA) here.

The conference actually opens on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 3:15pm CT with a presidential address. Stewart asks that we imagine what evaluation could become in the future. Evaluations can be (and many are) high quality, ethically defensible, and culturally responsive. (Think Program Evaluation Standards program evaluation standards  and Guiding Principles Guiding principles.) These evaluations contribute to decision-making processes, to program improvements, to policy formation, and effective and humane organizations. They enhance the public good.

Through out the conference will be a variety of plenary sessions that are conference theme related with well known evaluators (Michael Patton, Tom Schwandt, Ernie House, Safford Hood, David Fetterman and others).¬† There will also be paper sessions (stand along papers with a organizing topic), panel sessions (an organized session of multiple papers on a certain theme), think tanks (problems and/or issues for exploration), mini-workshops (giving you a flavor of what a longer work shop could provide), and posters (Wednesday night, 7:00pm CT–be there!). I’m sure there are others that I’m not mentioning because of the long list of options. This is a good time to listen and learn. It is a good time to meet leaders in the field, the luminaries, the old wise people. It is a good time to reconnect with long time friends, to get new ideas, to met new people.

Will I see you in Chicago next week. I hope so!

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