AEA Topical Interest Groups by Zachary Grays

Hi I am Zachary Grays, Operations Coordinator for AEA.

You’ll hear it from just about anyone who is a member that the AEA Topical Interest Groups are the heart and soul AEA. Each TIG is defined around a special topic or interest and creates a forum whereby the knowledge, experience, and skills of each member can become a resource that the entire community can leverage. TIGs serve many roles for AEA, especially for the annual conference (we hope to see you in DC for Evaluation 2017!).  Our TIG members review proposals, curate the vast learnings submitted, and expertly connecting them to the conference theme. More than anything, TIGs are valuable in the way that they bring together AEA’s diverse membership to make a large association feel like home.

Joining a TIG is an exclusive benefit to AEA membership and is your ticket to a community of experts who share similar backgrounds and work settings. Through our TIGs you have access to a network of professionals for collaboration on ideas and practices and a well of invaluable knowledge on topic areas that may be of interest to you. Your participation is based on your availability, and there is no specific obligation associated with your TIG membership. Being active in a TIG allows you to increase your depth of knowledge in a specific area as well as have leadership opportunities. Some TIGs are very active, with vibrant online discussion lists, resource websites, and special networking events, while others tend to focus their efforts around the AEA annual conference.

Hot Tip: Join a TIG and Get the Most of Your AEA Membership!

As an AEA member, you are allowed to join up to five of the 56 Topical Interest Groups. Joining a TIG is easy and can be managed here. Simply log in and join the TIGs that best suit your interests. To join a TIG, click ‘Join‘ next to the TIG name. Your request will be queued for approval to ensure you have not exceeded your limit of five. You will be notified when your request is approved.

To remove yourself from a TIG, click ‘Member‘ next to the TIG name below, and then click the ‘Leave Community‘ button on the following page.

Rad Resource: Getting to Know A TIG! Not sure if particular TIG is the right fit for you? While 56 TIGs sound like a lot, there a few great ways to get your feet wet before hitting the ‘Join’ button. Check out a TIGs website to learn about their mission, purpose, and upcoming activities. Many TIGs use their sites to archive their newsletters, engage in rich discussion, and keep members in the know as we lead into Evaluation 2017.

Hot Tip: Attend a TIG Business Meeting at Evaluation 2017!

If you’re joining us at Evaluation 2017 in Washington, D.C. this November, add a TIG Business Meeting to your agenda! Each TIG will hold a business meeting, open to all attendees, on Thursday, November 9. During this time, attendees have the opportunity to learn more about the TIGs in an informal environment, participate in TIG business (i.e. providing input on new TIG leadership, volunteer opportunities, and ideas for the upcoming program year), and network face-to-face with fellow members of the TIG. It is an excellent community and discovery experience for AEA members, new and seasoned.

Lastly, should you ever have questions regarding TIGs, we’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact me at AEA Headquarters for guidance around TIGs. I also encourage you to take the opportunity to reach out to a TIG leader individually for additional insight on their TIG and how to get involved.

1 thought on “AEA Topical Interest Groups by Zachary Grays”

  1. Mary Sue Smiaroski

    Zachary – this is one of the best outlines of the TIGs, their purpose, benefits and how to engage with them, that I have seen in my years in AEA. I am going to save and reference this blog for all our new colleagues to encourage them to approach the AEA through these communities. Great work.

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