Sheila B Robinson on Becoming a Sponsored Week Volunteer Curator

Hello evaluators and blog enthusiasts! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. As you may realize, curating a daily blog is a big job! I owe a lot to the many sponsored week volunteer curators who take on the task of shepherding authors and conducting first round checks and edits of a whole week’s worth of blog posts.

Lesson Learned: Sponsored or themed weeks are curated by a volunteer who gathers posts from a group  – an AEA Topical Interest Group or Affiliate, or other group of  evaluators with some common interest. Sponsored weeks include six posts (Sunday-Friday), as the Saturday spot is reserved for our aea365 staff contributors.

Sponsored week curators have three key tasks to complete:

1.) Recruit and invite authors ensuring the group has six confirmed posts (and ideally an emergency backup) on topics of interest to evaluators.

Many groups start this process by sending an open call to their membership to ask for authors and then supplementing those who volunteer with invited posts or posts from group leaders. Ensure that all contributors (a) commit to the timeline, and (b) receive a link to the contribution guidelines and instructions to follow them. Send reminders at appropriate times before the deadline.

2.) Identify the general topics of the contributions and coach to minimize overlap.

Cool Trick: Your posts do not need to follow a theme! If you are curating for a TIG, for example, the posts would naturally be about the larger topic (e.g. PK-12 Educational Evaluation) but do not need to relate to each other with any additional subtopic or theme. That said, people have proposed themed weeks in which the posts do indeed share a common thread, and this is OK too!

We recommend that the sponsored week curator have posts due the 10th of the month prior to publication, as the batch of six is due to an aea365 curator on the 20th of the month prior to publication. This timeline allows for final reminders and editing as needed.

3.) Edit posts (if needed) and determine the order in which they should be published.

Ensure that the first post introduces the week:

  • Identify a Sunday contributor to introduce the week’s general topic, noting that the Sunday post:
    • Should NOT introduce the week’s presenters or their individual topics – this post is NOT an index.
    • Should offer content (tips, resources, lessons learned) beyond the introduction.

Hot Tip: Email to reserve a week for your group! I will send you a worksheet with all this information and more to make the job easy!

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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