Saying good-bye to AEA365 by Sheila B. Robinson

Hello dear readers! Sheila B. Robinson here, AEA365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with my last post from this uh,… post! After 8.5 years, it’s time for me to move on. AEA365 has been a labor of love and it’s hard to express just how interesting, exciting, educative, and rewarding this role has been for me.

I’ve been a fan of AEA365 since its inception January 1, 2010, and feel as if I’ve received a graduate education in evaluation just from reading the 4000+ articles on every evaluation-related topic imaginable contributed by more than 2500 (!) authors.

I’m proud to have been responsible for corresponding about, editing, formatting, uploading, and scheduling more than 2300 articles, the most of any curator. That will be my distinction, at least for a while. That said, I want to share and preserve, important blog history from the founder, AEA Executive Director Emeritus, Susan Kistler:

In 2009, I was looking for something to bridge the gap between AEA’s newsletter, which focused primarily on what’s happening in the association, and our journals, which presented long-form peer-reviewed content. I knew that our practitioners in particular had experience-in-practice to share that didn’t fit well in either existing publication. We were also seeing information shared in AEA’s Topical Interest Groups (TIG) mailings, at the conference, and over dinner that carried valuable lessons and ideas but didn’t have a home for wider dissemination. With the incredible help of John LaVelle (and by help I mean he basically carried aea365 during its early going), we hashed out the idea for a blog that came out every day, sharing wide-ranging voices from across the association and the field. 

Early on (especially in the first quarter of 2010) we cajoled contributors, explaining the vision for aea365, but acknowledging that we had almost no subscribers (on day 1, it was John and I and our moms). Thanks are due to Amy Germuth for being our very first contributor, and to all of those who came afterwards. I’m grateful to each author who has been willing to invest time and effort and to share so freely of themselves and their expertise. This was a daunting task, as we strove to corral over 300 contributors each year. TIGs were the key to making it all work and we soon got them more involved in a structured way. Engaging TIGs allowed for thematic weeks, wide-ranging topics, and broad investment in the nascent blog. If you look back at the archives, you’ll see the increase in formal TIG engagement over the first few years. 

Thanks to those who have contributed to the success of this blog!

I thank Susan for teaching me and leaving me in a good position to keep the blog going. The systems and practices she and John developed for managing the mountain of correspondence along with a complex editorial calendar laid the foundation for continued success. I also thank the many volunteers we’ve had at aea365 – Michelle Baron, June Gothberg, Liz Zadnick, Sara Vaca, and Samantha Grant (I’m hoping I haven’t missed any!).  

I thank the people at Smith-Bucklin, our association management company, for their continued support since they came on board in 2013.

I thank the 2500+ individual authors who have given of their time and energy to share their wisdom and experiences. Their willingness to educate all of us is inspiring, appreciated and is the lifeblood of this endeavor.

I thank all of you – our readers who have continued to support the blog, and especially those who leave comments and questions and interact with the authors, building community among evaluators. A blog is nothing without its readership.

Hot Tip:

I’ll bet you’d like to know who’s taking over! Elizabeth (Liz) DiLuzio will be your Lead Curator, and Elizabeth Grim will be taking over Liz’s role as volunteer curator. I could never leave this post without leaving it in good hands, and I’m confident Liz and Elizabeth will maintain the high quality and integrity of the blog.

Best wishes and please keep in touch! You can find me through my website and around the socials…

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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

6 thoughts on “Saying good-bye to AEA365 by Sheila B. Robinson”

  1. THANK YOU, Sheila! I greatly appreciate your contribution to our evaluation community through AEA365, as well as your other gifts to us. Thanks also to Susan Kistler, John LaVelle, and others who created this space. I was unaware of the history.

  2. Thanks, Sheila! I’ve appreciated your enthusiasm and efforts for all these years. I love the bit-sized learning, both for myself and to share with others. Thank you!

  3. Sheila, THANK YOU!
    I looked forward to reading these posts at the start of my day. I’ve learned a lot, even about topics that I seemingly had little interest. You have done an excellent and thoughtful job and made a concrete contribution to the evaluation community.

  4. Thank you for all your labor of love, Sheila! I am so grateful that you and others have made AEA365 such a valuable resource as it is today.

    And thank you Liz and Elizabeth for continuing on in Sheila’s stead!

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