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STEM TIG Week: Ayesha Tillman on Advice to New Evaluators

Hello, I am Ayesha Tillman, a fifth year Ph.D candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Advice for new evaluators is something that my colleagues Holly Downs, Lorna Rivera, Maria Jimenez, Gabriela Juarez and I have been thinking and presenting about for quite some time now.

Lessons Learned:

  • Decide what type of evaluator you want to be. There are many types of evaluation positions: academic, internal, external, etc. There are even more types of evaluation: process, development, outcome, etc. Take some time to think about the evaluation setting you are most comfortable and interested in.
  • Find a good advisor or mentor.  Where you plan to train on the job or obtain a degree related to evaluation, don’t underestimate the value of a good mentor. In fact, the Graduate Student and New Evaluator TIG has just launched a mentorship program for new evaluators. Contact Rae Clementz for more information.
  • Get involved with AEA.  AEA has over 50 topical interest groups (TIGS). Join one or three! Participating in TIGs is a great way to find those with similar interests and to development professional contacts in evaluation.
  • Read and become familiar with AEA’s Guiding Principles For Evaluators. Systematic inquiry, competence, integrity/honesty, respect for people, and responsibility for the public welfare are the five guiding principles. If you don’t do any of the above, at the very least take a second to read this brief document.

Rad Resources: AEA has a number of resources for evaluators at every level within their career!

  • AEA offers an online eStudy program. These in-depth virtual professional development opportunities cost $40/$80 for student AEA members and $75/$150 (depending on the number of contact hours) for all other AEA members.
  • Check out the AEA Public eLibraryIf you are interested in studying on your own, this is a great place to start. This eLibrary includes PowerPoints and papers from AEA conferences and all have tags to help the user easily search for their topic of interest.
  • Graduate and certificate programs. AEA lists universities that offer certificate and graduate programs in evaluation. The list includes the institution name, location, department the program in housed in and names of AEA members on faculty.
  • Find an evaluation job. The AEA Career Center is a great place to start looking for jobs. You can search by keyword or by state. You can also subscribe and receive emails as new jobs are posted.

Ayesha Tillman is a leader in the newly formed STEM Education and Training TIG. Check out our TIG Website for more resources and information.


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our STEM TIG 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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