AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



OPEN Week: Tanya Ostrogorsky on The Power of Local Affiliates

My name is Tanya Ostrogorsky, Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment and Evaluation at Oregon Health & Science University, and I’ve been involved with Oregon Program Evaluators Network since 2002.  I ‘grew up’ studying research methods and data analysis and looking back I was a functioning as an evaluator before I knew what that meant. It wasn’t until my doctoral program that I took my first program evaluation course and attended an OPEN conference. Since then I’ve held leadership positions on seven different occasions including a long stretch as OPEN President during a difficult time in the organization’s history.

The purpose of this post is not to tell you about my trajectory as a local affiliate leader, but to share lessons learned through my observations about the role and function of the local affiliates in supporting AEAs mission. I also want to remind us how critical the local affiliates are to the development of local talent as well as the national leadership pipeline. Finally, I want to highlight the under-realized sources of energy, excitement, and real diversity that are in our midst.

Recently, 126 conference attendees ranging from students to newly minted graduates to early careerist to long-timers gathered to hear about the Top 10 Trends in Evaluation with Dr. Stewart Donaldson.  My first reaction to that day was a strong sense of pride in watching a local affiliate consistently deliver significant professional development opportunities for 16 years. My second reaction, as I scanned the room, was on the diverse and exciting mix of attendees that represent our past, our present, and our future.

So, what’s my point? Just as AEA needs to leverage and develop the local affiliates, past local affiliate leaders need to ensure the next generations of evaluators are provided the organizational history and encouragement to pick up where we left off. In both cases, we have a professional responsibility to support and encourage our peers in taking the next step in their leadership development. We need to offer encouragement and harness their energy. Yes, they will stumble and they will re-create the wheel, but so did we.

Lesson learned: We must leverage the talents and energy of the local affiliates to develop the leadership pipeline needs. My hope is that AEA can bring their focus to the power of local affiliates to create a strong organizational legacy. At the same time, it is local affiliate leadership responsibility to ensure that we do our part and have a strong community to support AEA.

Hot Tip: Local/regional AEA affiliates offer many opportunities to build our evaluation community. Find yours here and take the next step!

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The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from OPEN members. 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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