LAWG Week: Come to Evaluation 2017 ready to learn and ready to act! By Rodney Hopson

My name is Rodney Hopson, former AEA President and current Program Director (with Brandi Gilbert) of the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program, which is currently housed in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University where I am faculty in the education policy program.

I am excited to welcome colleagues this fall to Evaluation 2017 in Washington, DC, for at least two reasons:

1) The conference theme, From Learning to Action, could not come at a more propitious time in our nation and in our world. The four subthemes: learning to enhance evaluation practices, learning what works and why, learning from others, and learning about evaluation users and uses imply that we evaluators ought to make good use of the lessons we learn in our practice, discipline, and profession. We have plenty of examples in our global and local communities which reveal how intolerance, hate, and bitterness continue to rip at the fibers of our democratic possibilities of equity and social cohesion. If anything, the events of Charlottesville in early August point to how far we have to go. The conference is a call to action in the complex ecologies of our practice where relationships matter; we have a responsibility to act and to find relevance in solving the wicked problems in our practice.

Hot Tip: Find a way to move from learning to action while attending Evaluation 2017. For instance, our local affiliate has ways to become active through Evaluation without Borders, where you can lend a hand to local community-based agencies. Or, find a way to visit your local representative through EvalAction.

2) Washington, DC is a great city to see, rich with ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhoods and communities with yummy food to eat, places to visit, and people to see!

Just last week, my wife Deborah and I strolled east of the River in the Anacostia Historic District where we visited the Anacostia Community Museum and Cedar Hill, home of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  African-Americans have an inspiring and proud history in the city that dates back as early as 1800, when they made up 25% of the population according to documents found in publications about the African American Heritage Trail.

Hot Tip: See how many locations you can find on the heritage trail and make a half day of it by visiting several before you leave the city:

  • Take in a show at the Howard Theater,
  • Visit the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum,
  • Check out the city’s first independent black Episcopal church, St. Luke’s, under the leadership of Alexander Crummell, noted missionary, intellectual, and clergyman, and
  • Check the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, or even sites in Georgetown, the city’s oldest neighborhood.

Come to Evaluation 2017 ready to learn! Get nourished on what the city has to offer and get ready to act as you leave!

We’re looking forward to November and the Evaluation 2017 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). 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

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