LAWG Week: Brian Yoder on Evaluators Visit Capitol Hill

I am Brian Yoder, Director of Assessment, Evaluation and Institutional Research at the American Society for Engineering Education, a professional association located in Washington, D.C.  I also serve as President Elect for the Washington Evaluators, a local affiliate of AEA.

I’ve lived and worked in D.C. for the past seven years working as a contractor, in government and a professional society, and I believe government processes can be helped through the use and application of evaluation.  As the saying goes, there are no problems, only opportunities, and I’ve seen plenty of opportunities to improve government processes and the improved use of evaluation to assess government programs.

Lessons Learned: Traditionally, I think evaluators have tried to keep their role separate from implementation and the policy-making processes. But, based on my work in D.C., I’ve come to believe that policy makers and program implementers would be well served by evaluators being involved more closely and directly in policy making and program implementation processes. When you work in an environment where the answers to important questions were needed yesterday, and questions that need to be answered keep changing, the traditional approach to evaluation with formative evaluation leading to summative evaluation becomes too slow and irrelevant.

That’s why I helped to spearhead the Evaluators Visit Capitol Hill (EVCH) Initiative, a joint effort between the Washington Evaluators and AEA’s Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF).  EVCH is an initiative that coordinates attendees at the American Evaluation Association conference in Washington, D.C. this fall to meet with someone in the office of their congressperson so they discuss with them the importance of evaluation and give them EPTF materials.

My hope is that this initiative can accomplish three things:

  1. Make more policy makers aware of AEA and the work of EPTF.
  2. Expand the reach of EPTF to creating connections for EPTF.
  3. Give evaluators the opportunity to be part of the early policy-making process by providing materials on evaluation to policy makers prior to the policy being made.

The deadline to sign up to participate has past, but if you would like to learn more about the initiative, click here

Hot Tip: For those of you participating, please remember to pick up your packet of materials at the Local Affiliates Working Group table located close to AEA conference registration.

Rad Resource: If you would like to know more about the Evaluation Policy Task Force, click here

Rad Resource: If you would like to learn more about the Washington Evaluators, click here

This is the last of three weeks this year sponsored by our Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) for Evaluation 2013, the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference coming up next month in Washington, DC. They’re sharing not only evaluation expertise from in and around our nation’s capital, but also tips for enjoying your time in DC. 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 contribute to aea365? Review the contribution guidelines and send your draft post to

2 thoughts on “LAWG Week: Brian Yoder on Evaluators Visit Capitol Hill”

  1. Brian Yoder,
    I completely agree with your post, government process can benefit greatly by the use an application of evaluation. Although I believe all processes should incorporate evaluation at some point in time. A Corporation no matter how small or large should always be striving to be the best that it can be.

  2. This is such an exciting initiative! Thanks to Brian, the EPTF, and Washington Evaluators for coordinating it. For those of you who are participating, the Local Arrangements Working Group volunteers will be staffing a table Monday through Saturday in the AEA Conference registration area. Look for a table with a sign that says “Ask Me About DC.” Pick up your materials, and ask the friendly volunteer(s) for advice on how to get to Capitol Hill by Metro or cab, or for a restaurant recommendation. The Monocle (107 D St NE), Tune Inn (331 Pennsylvania Ave SE), and Sonoma (223 Pennsylvania Ave SE) are all good choices.

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