Memorial Week: Sharon Rallis on Remembering Kathy Bolland (1950-2015), Pioneer in Service to AEA

This is part of a series remembering and honoring evaluation pioneers leading up to Memorial Day in the USA on May 30.

My name is Sharon, a former AEA President and editor of the American Journal of Evaluation. Kathy Bolland contributed enormously to the evaluation field generally and AEA specifically. She contributed nearly 30 years of service to AEA in varying capacities. She was the 2015 recipient of the Robert Ingle Service Award posthumously.

Pioneering and enduring contributions:

Kathy Bolland

Kathy built and managed EvalTalk, the AEA listserv from 25 initial subscribers in 1995 to over 3,000 today. She served six years as AEA treasurer and on the AEA Executive Committee. She served on the America Journal of Evaluation Editorial Committee. She was Chair of the Social Work AEA Topical Interest Group.

Kathy was the face of AEA for many years before we had professional staff. It‘s likely that more people had interactions with Kathy through EvalTalk, especially in the early years of AEA, than with anyone else. That she was always welcoming, engaging, supportive, ethical, and responsive contributed to both AEA‘s growth in membership and the quality of discourse that has become the hallmark of AEA. Kathy pioneered and nurtured AEA‘s organizational culture of responsiveness and quality.

Kathy was a person whom AEA leadership could call on to help out whenever a task needed to be done thoroughly and in time; she contributed to the smoothness of more than one transition time for the organization; a team player, she offered reasoned and actionable ideas that have shaped AEA.

She was also a dedicated evaluation scholar-practitioner, examining the application of cutting edge ideas to social work and education. One of those cutting edge ideas was program evaluation.


Rallis, S.F., & Bolland, K.A. (2004). What is program evaluation? Generating knowledge for improvement. Archival Science, 4(1/2), 5-16.

Atherton, C.R., & Bolland, K.A. (2002). Postmodernism: A dangerous illusion for social work. International Social Work, 45(4), 421-433.

Bolland, K.A., & Atherton, C.R. (2002). Heuristics vs. logical positivism: Solving the wrong problem. Families in Society, 83(1), 7-13.

Bolland, K.A., & Atherton, C.R. (1999). Chaos theory: An alternative approach to social work practice and research. Families in Society, 80(4), 367-373.

Atherton, C.R., & Bolland, K.A. (1997). The multiculturalism-traditionalism debate: A response to Dorothy Van Soest. Journal of Social Work Education, 33(1), 143-150.

Bolland, K.A. (1996). The wisdom of teacher involvement in school-linked social services: Against teacher involvement. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 2(2), 164-174. (invited).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Memorial Week in Evaluation: Remembering and Honoring Evaluation’s Pioneers. The contributions this week are remembrances of evaluation pioneers who made enduring contributions to our field. 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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