AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Sep/14

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New Board Member At Large Corrie Whitmore on the Importance of Aim and Audience in Internal Evaluation

I’m Corrie Whitmore, one of the new At Large Board Members for AEA. I live in Anchorage, Alaska where I am president of the Alaska Evaluation Network and an internal evaluator for Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native owned and operated health care organization serving approximately 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people each year.

In my current role, I evaluate everything from space utilization to nurse home visiting programs and provide results to both internal operations staff and external funders. I enjoy the diverse work and opportunity to teach evaluation principles as part of our organization’s focus on capacity building. My experience in indigenous organizations and rural environments has deeply enriched my practice and I look forward to sharing my understanding of these important contexts during my service on the AEA Board.

Lesson Learned: discussing the aim and audience of evaluation work is a great way to help people understand what evaluation is and why it is important. As an internal evaluator, the audience for my work is usually program funders, operations staff, and decision makers. Working with the intended audience (aka “stakeholders”) to agree on the aim of our work together early in the project gets us all on the same page, saving time and building understanding.

Rad Resource: The CDC Framework for Program Evaluation is a simple, appealing framework that can anchor conversations about the evaluation process with an audience. I use the circle graphic showing the steps of program evaluation with operations folks to outline our project and help explain the process we will work through together.

2015 is the International Year of Evaluation and an exciting time to join the board. I look forward to learning about the infrastructure that keeps our complex organization and conference functioning and helping AEA build relationships with policymakers and organizations. I’m proud to be part of our socially responsible organization dedicated to supporting “effective and humane organizations and ultimately to the enhancement of the public good!”

See you in Denver!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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