Competencies Task Force Week: Jean King and John LaVelle on an Overview and History of AEA’s Competencies Task Force

This is Jean King, University of Minnesota, chair of AEA’s Competencies Task Force, and John LaVelle, Louisiana State University, enthusiastic Task Force member. This week we and other members of the Competencies Task Force are excited to share with you our progress toward developing a set of AEA evaluator competencies.  To put these efforts in context, a bit of background is in order. In 2015, the AEA Board approved the creation of an official taskforce to explore and refine a unified set of evaluator competencies as a next step in AEA’s continuing development.  AEA members have previously endorsed three documents contributing to the professionalization of our field (Rad Resources all):

  • The Joint Committee’s Program Evaluation Standards, currently in their 3rd edition (2011,
  • AEA’s Guiding Principles for Evaluators (revised in 2004,
  • AEA’s Cultural Competence Statement (2011,

The proposed competencies will be the fourth such document.

As an initial step, AEA’s Task Force reviewed existing sets of general and subject-specific competencies for program, policy, and personnel evaluators to identify foundational competencies necessary to the diverse evaluation practice of AEA members. The resulting crosswalk suggested five broad domains of evaluator competencies: professional, methodology, context, management, and interpersonal.

Who’s on the Task Force? When we were appointed, special care was taken to include as diverse a group as possible, representing numerous segments of AEA’s membership. Here is the current list of members in addition to Jean and John:

  • Sandra Ayoo, University of Minnesota
  • Eric Barela,, San Francisco, CA
  • Dale Berger, Claremont Graduate University
  • Gail Vallance Barrington, Barrington Research Group, representing the Canadian Evaluation Society
  • Nicole Galport, Claremont Graduate University
  • Michelle Gensinger, University of Minnesota
  • John LaVelle, Louisiana State University
  • Robin Miller, Michigan State University
  • Donna Podems, OtherWISE: Research and Evaluation, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Anna Rodell, Collective Progress, Minneapolis, MN
  • Laurie Stevahn, Seattle University
  • Hazel Symonette, University of Wisconsin
  • Susan Tucker, Evaluation & Development Associates LLC
  • Elizabeth Wilcox, Education Evaluation Exchange, Golden Valley, MN

Lesson Learned. AEA is not alone in addressing professionalization. Similar discussions are growing in frequency and intensity around the world. Consider two examples. Our colleagues in the Canadian Evaluation Society offer the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) Program, currently the only formal credentialing available to evaluators anywhere ( The European Evaluation Society and the United Kingdom Evaluation Society have joined forces to develop the Voluntary Evaluator Peer Review process, whereby evaluators will prepare portfolios for review by qualified peers, leading to purposeful professional development (

Hot Tip: Get Involved Now. From the beginning, we have worked hard to get feedback from AEA’s membership. If you are willing to contribute to the discussion, please go to the AEA website ( where you will see the link to the draft competencies. Send your thoughts big or small to us at

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating AEA’s Competencies Task Force week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of AEA’s Competencies Task Force. 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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