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

Dec/10

10

Scribing: Lisa Dillman on Taking Control of Your Evaluation Career

My name is Lisa Dillman and I am a graduate student at UCLA. I served as a session scribe at Evaluation 2010, and attended session number 529: Taking Control of Your Evaluation Career. I chose to attend this skill building workshop because I have both a research and personal interest in how people come to acquire the skill set necessary to conduct evaluations.

Lessons Learned: Ann Maxwell of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and George Grob of the Center for Public Program Evaluation offered great advice, tips, and resources for evaluators at all stages in their careers. Some of their specific recommendations include:

  • Each year, set a goal to learn three things very well (particularly if you aren’t receiving professional development support in your current position). For example, you could choose sampling techniques, meta-evaluation, and a content area relevant to your work as areas of focus. Investigate not only what you need to improve, but how you are going to accomplish it, and formulate a plan. Imagine what your skill set will be after 5, 10, 15 years or more!
  • Don’t overwork! Remember that you were hired for your creativity and problem solving skills. Spending too much time mentally laboring over solutions can be detrimental—answers will come to you when you least expect it.
  • It is important for those who supervise evaluators to realize that ongoing training of evaluators is critical—investing in people is a way to enhance evaluation impact.
  • Keep interested in your career—it is of great value to you and others!

Great Resources: The presenters have shared several tools from the workshop in the eLibrary. Among the downloads are an Individual Development plan, a Self Appraisal for Program Evaluation Staff, and several samples of charts detailing core evaluator competencies. The files can be found online in the AEA eLibrary here.

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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