Making the Most of the AEA 2017 Presidential Strand by Nicole Vicinanza

Greetings!   This is Nicole Vicinanza, Senior Research Associate at JBS International and a conference co-chair of the AEA 2017 Presidential Strand committee.  Our AEA president Kathy Newcomer and the members of this committee have worked together for over a year to develop the theme – From Learning to Action! You’ll find 29 exciting and thought-provoking sessions delivered by evaluation leaders and innovators around four conference sub-themes:

  • Learning to Enhance Evaluation Practices
  • Learning What Works and Why
  • Learning from Others
  • Learning about Evaluation Users and Uses

In addition, if you can’t be there in person, many of these sessions will be offered free through the virtual conference. Here are my tips to make the most of the AEA 2017 theme and the presidential strand:

Hot Tip:  Use the Challenge Questions to organize your learning.  Uncover and use the Challenge questions to get ready for the conference! Go to the AEA web page on From Learning to Action  and click on each of the sub-themes to see challenge questions for you to consider as you attend sessions at AEA 2017.    Think about which questions you’d like to get answers for.

Cool Trick: Use the mobile app or on-line conference program to pick sessions related to your sub-themes.   Look for your invitation to download the mobile app.  If you click on a session in the mobile app schedule, and scroll down to the 2017 Theme tag, you can see the sub-theme that session addresses.  In the on-line program, select a sub-theme you are interested in in the “Theme” search box to see all the conference sessions that relate to that sub-theme. You can narrow your choices by picking a TIG or “Presidential Strand” in the “Track” search box.  Consider the sub-themes as you choose which sessions to attend.

Hot Tip:  Get the big picture- attend the Plenary Sessions.  This year four plenary sessions will explore ways that our community can learn from evaluation to create better practices and outcomes.  (Bonus: Each session will also feature a winning video from our 2017 Video Contest.)

Rad Resource: Just can’t be there? Attend virtually. The conference has so many great offerings and opportunities to connect- you should be there in person if you can!  But if you can’t, you can participate in over 20 sessions of the Presidential Strand, free, through the virtual conference.  You and your colleagues can view the Virtual Conference Sessions and register now at

I’m looking forward to all the learning possibilities at AEA 2017!   I’m particularly excited about the sub-theme Learning to Enhance Evaluation Practices and attending sessions on “Adopting Economic Cost-Effectiveness Analyses to Enhance Evaluation Practices” and “Checklists to Activate Learning and Improve Evaluation Practice.”  What are you looking forward to?

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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