SEA Professional Development Week: Maintaining Your Professional Growth by Sheena Horton

Hi! This is Sheena Horton again, President-Elect and Board Member for the Southeast Evaluation Association (SEA). I wanted to close out SEA’s AEA365 week by providing you with a few tips for stimulating and maintaining your professional growth. In a similar vein of thought as evaluation being an everyday activity, our own professional growth should be approached as an everyday opportunity.  Isaac Asimov once said, “People think of education as something they can finish.”  Learning is a life-long commitment.

The extent to which we seek growth opportunities should not be limited by our current positions, schedules, finances, networks, or fears and hesitations, but be defined by the depth of our intellectual curiosity, aspirations, and commitment to evaluating and bettering ourselves.

Hot Tips:

  • Search YouTube regularly for quick tips or full lessons to develop your knowledge or skills in a specific area, such as in Excel. There are also many free virtual courses and trainings offered at CourseraedXMIT OpenCourseWareFindLectures, and Udemy.
  • Follow the professional development strategy that George Grob suggested at a past AEA Conference: Every year, pick one hard skill and one soft skill to develop over the course of the year.
  • Choose a few bloggers to follow to pick up daily tips and stay up to date on the latest evaluation news. Take it a step further and volunteer to write for a blog or newsletter! AEA365 blog posts are short and allow you to perform a high-level review of a topic of interest or share your experiences and tips with others. SEA’s seasonal newsletter accepts a variety of submissions on evaluation and professional development topics, and article length can vary from a sidebar to a feature article.
  • Volunteer for AEA and SEA short- or long-term projects, or sign up for programs, conferences, and workshops. AEA’s next conference is scheduled for November 6th-11th, 2017 in Washington, DC.  SEA will be holding its 2-day Annual Workshop on February 27th-28th, 2017 in Tallahassee, FL, and will offer in addition to its normal programming a secondary track that will feature Essential Skills training sessions, including as “Evaluation Planning and Design,” “Relating Costs and Results,” and “Effective Presentations.”

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Southeast Evaluation Association (SEA) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the SEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from SEA Affiliate 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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