Hello! We are Çigdem Meek, Bashar Ahmed, and Marissa Molina, PhD students at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. As novice evaluators, we would like to share what we have learned from our experience of attending the 28th Annual Conference of the American Evaluation Association in Denver.
- Attending the conference as a group of PhD students from the same university eased our anxiety of being among expert evaluators. Plan with your peers to attend the next conference in Chicago!
- Stay at the conference hotel (and make your reservation as soon as possible). You will not regret the networking opportunities it provides!
- Attend pre-conference and post-conference workshops! Evaluation 101 is a great workshop to understand the basics of evaluation.
- Join Topical Interest Groups (TIGS) business meetings. Meet with like-minded evaluators!
- Look for volunteer opportunities, especially if this is your first time. This helps you meet with other evaluators with ease (and also helps with the registration cost).
- Participate in panel discussions. This is an excellent way to meet and learn from other evaluators.
- Do NOT miss the opportunities to learn from the best through panel discussions, workshops, and conference sessions! (i.e. Donna Mertens, Robert Stake, Stafford Hood, Rodney Hopson, Hazel Symonette, Jody Fitzpatrick, Michael Scriven, Michael Patton, Art Hernandez, Karen Kirkhart, and Cindy Crusto have facilitated excellent sessions and provided exceptional insights for novice evaluators).
- Make sure you have your business cards (a lot) with you and exchange! Remember to take notes on cards you receive (I thought I could remember all!). In order to stay connected send them a brief email within 10 days after conference.
- Take notes to review later during the sessions and reflect on what you learn. Remember, reflection is what makes learning meaningful.
Rad Resources: Check out these resources before attending the conference!
- AEA Public Library
- Read American Evaluation Association Guiding Principles For Evaluators
- For culturally competent evaluation, review the American Evaluation Association’s Public Statement on Cultural Competence In Evaluation
We’re celebrating Evaluation 2014 Graduate Students Reflection Week. This week’s contributions come from graduate students of Dr. Osman Ozturgut of the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word, along with students from other universities. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.