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LAWG Week: David J. Bernstein on Submitting Proposals and Presenting at DC-Based AEA Conferences

I am David J. Bernstein, a Senior Study Director with Westat, an employee-owned research and evaluation company. I am a Past Chair of the Government Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TIG), and have been an evaluator in the DC area for over 30 years. Val Caracelli and I are the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) Co-Chairs for the 2013 AEA Conference in Washington, DC from October 14-19. The LAWG is charged with mobilizing local expertise and resources to enhance the annual conference and facilitate communication with local evaluators about the conference.

The conference theme, The State of Evaluation Practice in the Early 21st Century, is a great fit for DC, a hotbed of evaluation practice and policy. Just ask our colleagues from the Washington Evaluators (WE), one of AEA’s oldest affiliates. Over the years I have gotten a lot of value out of proposing sessions and presenting at DC-based AEA conferences.

Hot Tip: At the 1990 AEA Conference in DC, I proposed a session to organize the AEA State and Local Government Topical Interest Group (TIG), which later became the Government Evaluation TIG. Because the conference is in DC, the Government Evaluation TIG will have some great sessions! Consider making a proposal related to government evaluation.

Lessons Learned: One of the great things about AEA is the chance to hear leading scholars in the field and be on a panel with them. At the 2002 AEA Conference in Arlington, VA, not only was I the local arrangements co-chair (with Roger Straw), but I was also on a panel discussing the link between performance measurement and evaluation in public policy with John Owen, Ian Davies, Rakesh Mohan, and one of my mentors, Joe Wholey. I learned a lot, and got to be on a panel with leading experts in the field. Submit a proposal for the 2013 conference and consider inviting an expert or one of your mentors to join you.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
By Harshlight on Flickr
Ebbitt Grill

Hot Tip—Insider’s advice for Evaluation 2013 in DC: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the DC Mall is one of the most moving DC monuments. It is a short cab ride from the Washington Hilton (the AEA conference hotel), or take the Metro to the Farragut West stop, and walk about a mile past the White House. After the Memorial, walk in the direction of the Washington Monument, and try Old Ebbitt Grill, across the street from the U.S. Treasury at 675 15th Street, NW. Old Ebbitt is the oldest saloon in DC (1856), and has half-priced oysters, shrimp, and buffalo wings during happy hour.


We’re thinking forward to October and the Evaluation 2013 annual conference all this week with our colleagues in the Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG). AEA is accepting proposals to present at Evaluation 2013 through until March 15 via the conference website. 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.

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