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GSNE TIG Week: Using Evaluation Competencies to Boost Your Career by María Montenegro

This week, AEA365 is hosting GSNE Week with our colleagues in the Graduate Student and New Evaluators AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our GSNE TIG members. We hope you enjoy! -Liz DiLuzio, Lead Curator

Hello! My name is María Montenegro and I am a Virtual Health Evaluation Lead at Fraser Health Authority. I am also the co-founder and Chair of EvalYouth North America and the AEA representative to EvalYouth.

I am a Credentialed Evaluator (CE) since late 2021. Today, I’ll share how I used the evaluation competencies while working towards the CE designation to achieve my career goals. I hope to inspire others, regardless of whether they go through this process or not, to use evaluation competencies to boost their career.

About the Credentialed Evaluator designation

The CE designation was designed by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) to support professionalization of program evaluation. According to the CES, the designation demonstrates that an evaluator “has provided convincing evidence of the requisite skills, knowledge, and practice experience identified by CES as those necessary to be a competent evaluator”.

One of the requirements for obtaining the CE is to describe how your education or experience aligns with the competencies in each of the five domains of the Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice. In total, there are 36 competencies related to reflective, technical, situational, management and interpersonal practice.

Using the competencies to set career goals

When I first learned about evaluation, I was overwhelmed with all the theories, knowledge, and skills that I needed to become an evaluator. Luckily, I got a hold of a CE Competencies Template with examples for each of the 36 competencies. This tool helped me breakdown what seemed like an overwhelming challenge into tangible and achievable steps.

Providing evidence for each of the 36 competencies is no small feat, especially for someone new to the field. Early in my evaluation journey, I started working through this document, which very quickly helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses. I set short and medium term goals to develop the competencies I needed to strengthen. Having clear goals helped me identify and prioritize training opportunities, volunteer activities, and informed my decision to accept a new job in a different city.   

Communicating your goals

My goals also helped me navigate professional conversations. When starting new positions, I shared early on which competencies I needed to strengthen to achieve the CE designation. I included these in my professional development plans, which helped me get funding and support for training and courses. I also asked my supervisors to involve me in projects that would help me develop these competencies. While this not always resulted in me being given these opportunities, the resulting conversations helped me learn whether my employer was supportive of my goals. This information informed my career decisions later on.

Knowing what competencies I needed to work on also helped me when networking and learning from seasoned evaluators. In a mentorship program, I included a few competencies to my learning objectives, which helped me make the most out of the program. I also ran paths with seasoned evaluators who pointed me to helpful resources and opportunities.

Hot Tips:

  • Whether the CE designation process is for you or not, try to write narratives demonstrating whether you have achieved evaluation competencies. This process will help you identify your strengths and the areas where you need more experience or training
  • If you are working towards the CE designation or a similar process, ask for advice from others who have gone through the process
  • Remain open minded when asking your employer for support to achieve your goals. Your employer may have limited ability to provide financial support or advancement opportunities. However, there are other ways in which they can support you to develop competencies including through mentorship, shadowing, or sharing resources

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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

2 thoughts on “GSNE TIG Week: Using Evaluation Competencies to Boost Your Career by María Montenegro”

  1. You mention having access to a CE Competencies Template with examples for each of the 36 competencies. Would you be willing to share that?

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