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


I am David Bernstein, CEO of DJB Evaluation Consulting and Past-President of Washington Evaluators, the DC-based local AEA affiliate, and the Evaluation 2017 Conference Co-chair.

I have a career-long commitment to volunteering as a Red Cross volunteer (CPR instructor, blood donor), a Board member with Washington Evaluators, and a frequent volunteer with AEA. Giving back is a gift to me because I learn so much and get to expand my leadership skills.

I have been a volunteer for the AEA annual conference nearly every year it has been held, and am a member of the AEA Conference Working Group. While the AEA staff do a remarkable amount of work to pull the AEA conference together, it is the membership that pull the conference together. Most frequently I have volunteered to review conference proposals as part of the Topical Interest Group (TIG) review process, which establish the conference strands.

Lesson Learned: It was through my role as a TIG Chair that I had the honor of knowing and learning from Bob Ingle, who was the AEA Annual Conference Chair for the first 10 years of the AEA conference. As Jean King so eloquently described him, “Bob Ingle knew how to put on a conference.” (See her post, Memorial Week: Jean King on Remembering Bob Ingle (1926-1998), Pioneer in establishing the annual AEA conference”). What did I learn about volunteering for AEA and the AEA Conference from Bob Ingle? A lot, and I was not alone. AEA named its Service Award after Bob Ingle!

In 2002 and 2013 I had the honor of serving as AEA Conference Local Arrangements Working Group (LAWG) Co-chair. What I learned was that the most important role of the LAWG co-chairs is to recruit other volunteers. In 2013 my fellow LAWG Co-chair Valerie Caracelli (a Robert Ingle Service Award winner) and I worked with a group of over 70 volunteers from Washington Evaluators to provide local information about DC and help with conference planning and logistics.

Rad Resource: The 2017 LAWG Co-chairs, Giovanni Dazzo and Jonathan Jones, have been working with a large number of volunteers on several initiatives for the Conference. Stop by the “Ask Me About DC” table to say hi to a friendly volunteer or two who can give you all sorts of interesting information about the DC area.

For Evaluation 2017 I had the honor of working with Kathy Newcomer, our 2017 AEA President, and a diverse group of volunteers on Kathy’s Conference Program Committee. A group of 17 of us worked with Kathy to develop the conference theme and subthemes, coordinate with the TIGs, assemble the Presidential Strand, identify plenary session speakers, and help Kathy in a variety of other ways. Susan Tucker (AEA’s Treasurer, another important volunteer position), Donna Podems (a former AEA Board Member), and I served as the Conference Program Co-chairs.

Hot Tip: Want to be an AEA volunteer? Check the AEA Volunteer Opportunities page, and find something in which you are interested. You too can make a difference in AEA, and in the evaluation profession.

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.


Hi I am Zachary Grays, Operations Coordinator for AEA.

You’ll hear it from just about anyone who is a member that the AEA Topical Interest Groups are the heart and soul AEA. Each TIG is defined around a special topic or interest and creates a forum whereby the knowledge, experience, and skills of each member can become a resource that the entire community can leverage. TIGs serve many roles for AEA, especially for the annual conference (we hope to see you in DC for Evaluation 2017!).  Our TIG members review proposals, curate the vast learnings submitted, and expertly connecting them to the conference theme. More than anything, TIGs are valuable in the way that they bring together AEA’s diverse membership to make a large association feel like home.

Joining a TIG is an exclusive benefit to AEA membership and is your ticket to a community of experts who share similar backgrounds and work settings. Through our TIGs you have access to a network of professionals for collaboration on ideas and practices and a well of invaluable knowledge on topic areas that may be of interest to you. Your participation is based on your availability, and there is no specific obligation associated with your TIG membership. Being active in a TIG allows you to increase your depth of knowledge in a specific area as well as have leadership opportunities. Some TIGs are very active, with vibrant online discussion lists, resource websites, and special networking events, while others tend to focus their efforts around the AEA annual conference.

Hot Tip: Join a TIG and Get the Most of Your AEA Membership!

As an AEA member, you are allowed to join up to five of the 56 Topical Interest Groups. Joining a TIG is easy and can be managed here. Simply log in and join the TIGs that best suit your interests. To join a TIG, click ‘Join‘ next to the TIG name. Your request will be queued for approval to ensure you have not exceeded your limit of five. You will be notified when your request is approved.

To remove yourself from a TIG, click ‘Member‘ next to the TIG name below, and then click the ‘Leave Community‘ button on the following page.

Rad Resource: Getting to Know A TIG! Not sure if particular TIG is the right fit for you? While 56 TIGs sound like a lot, there a few great ways to get your feet wet before hitting the ‘Join’ button. Check out a TIGs website to learn about their mission, purpose, and upcoming activities. Many TIGs use their sites to archive their newsletters, engage in rich discussion, and keep members in the know as we lead into Evaluation 2017.

Hot Tip: Attend a TIG Business Meeting at Evaluation 2017!

If you’re joining us at Evaluation 2017 in Washington, D.C. this November, add a TIG Business Meeting to your agenda! Each TIG will hold a business meeting, open to all attendees, on Thursday, November 9. During this time, attendees have the opportunity to learn more about the TIGs in an informal environment, participate in TIG business (i.e. providing input on new TIG leadership, volunteer opportunities, and ideas for the upcoming program year), and network face-to-face with fellow members of the TIG. It is an excellent community and discovery experience for AEA members, new and seasoned.

Lastly, should you ever have questions regarding TIGs, we’re here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact me at AEA Headquarters for guidance around TIGs. I also encourage you to take the opportunity to reach out to a TIG leader individually for additional insight on their TIG and how to get involved.

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Hello again!  I’m Krista Collins, chair of the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation TIG and Director of Evaluation at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This week we’re sharing valuable research tips, evaluation results and exciting opportunities for evaluators working in the PreK-12 arena.

It’s been an exciting year for our TIG!  We’ve focused on ways to increase member engagement and have identified multiple ways – both one-time events and continuous opportunities – for members to get more familiar with our work.  We know that member engagement in TIGs and local affiliates is often challenging, so I hope these ideas are helpful to many groups.

Lesson Learned – Provide Concrete Tasks! Put together a list of roles and responsibilities, alongside expected timelines, and allow members to sign-up for a specific task.  They’ll be able to determine up front how they can feasibly contribute and the leadership team can be more relaxed throughout the year knowing that the important work will get done.

We identified four new ways for members to get involved outside of conference program review opportunities:

  1. TIG Emails: We send out quarterly emails aligned with important AEA events.  Members can take the lead on preparing these newsletters, keeping it simple by building on the archived newsletters from previous years.
  2. Social Media Team: We ask for members to commit to posting articles, resources, conversation starters, etc. related to PreK-12 Educational Evaluation on our social media platforms each month.
  3. AEA 365: We ask 5 members to author an AEA 365 post on a topic of his/her choice to be published during the PreK-12 TIG sponsored week. One person will also take responsibility for coordinating our submission with the AEA 365 curator, assuring that all blog posts adhere to the guidelines.
  4. AEA Liaison: Best suited for a member more familiar with the TIGs work, the liaison will represent the PreK-12 voice by participating in AEA calls, submitting feedback on behalf of PreK-12 TIG to inform AEA decisions as well as field requests from other TIGs or AEA members about collaborations.

Hot Tip: Don’t be Shy! Collaborating with other TIG’s is a great way to bring some new life into your group.  This year we were honored to co-host a shared business meeting with the Youth-Focused and STEM TIGs allowing our mutual membership to network and discuss their evaluation project with young people and youth professionals across a variety of learning environments.

Rad Resource: Stay current on all things Prek-12 TIG by checking out our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.  As a member, you’ll receive emails throughout the year including resources and upcoming events to support your professional development, as well as a description of our program review criteria to support your conference proposal.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Ed Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Ed Eval 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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

We are Dr. Maria Jimenez, Independent Evaluation Consultant in Los Angeles, CA, and Andrea Guajardo, MPH, Director of Community Health at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System in San Antonio, TX, core members of the newly formed LARED TIG network.

The inaugural business meeting of the LA RED TIG was held at AEA 2015 in Chicago. At this event, LA RED members reviewed strategic plans, developed working groups, and recognized key members. Strategic plans involved revisiting core goals and objectives. Working groups reported on key areas including Mentoring & Professional Development Oppportunities and Membership & Member Engagement. Lastly, Dr. Arthur Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, was recognized with an award for his support and leadership in the formation of the TIG and presence at AEA. What follows is a review of the LA RED’s membership, future directions, and tips for how to get involved.

LA RED’s membership includes more than 25 emerging Latina/o evaluators who have recognized the need for increasing Latina/o visibility in AEA and to create spaces for evaluation discourse that is culturally responsive to Latina/o-serving communities and programs. Led by a group of founding members, it has enlisted broad participation from Latina/o evaluators and evaluators working with Latina/o-serving organizations.

Future directions for the TIG include:

  1. Expansion of membership for a Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group (LA RED TIG) to continue to build a platform for Latina/o voices in evaluation practice for dialogue and knowledge sharing. (LA RED in Spanish stands for “The Network”.)
  2. Extension of professional leadership development for novice Latina/o evaluators through formal training and supportive mentoring from senior evaluators.
  3. Engagement of cross-cultural partners to meet the growing needs of the Latina/o community.
  4. Development of culturally responsive evaluation frameworks by including Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, and the voices of other indigenous Latina/o-focused writers.

LA RED welcomes evaluators who identify as Latina/o as well as any evaluator whose work and/or practice includes the study of Latino populations.

Hot Tip #1: Email LA RED. If you are interested in joining LA RED or would like more information regarding its mission, goals, and future directions, email LA RED at

Hot Tip #2: Join a LA RED working group. If you are interested in joining a working group, email us. Our work around the year translates into activities at AEA and beyond.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group 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.

Hi. We are Erin Stack and Lindsey Patterson. Erin is a Community Psychology doctoral student at Portland State University (PSU) and the current student liaison for the Oregon Program Evaluation Network (OPEN). Lindsey is a former OPEN student liaison and a soon-to-be graduate of the PSU Community Psychology program. Lindsey currently works at the Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services. Since Lindsey just transitioned into the workplace and Erin is about to, we thought it would be helpful to other transitioning students and new evaluators to share what we’ve learned about effectively transitioning from student to professional.

Hot Tip # 1: Identify and work with mentors. At PSU, we work closely with faculty advisors in a mutually beneficial capacity.  We have also found it helpful to develop relationships with other students and professionals within and outside of our program. These mentorships have resulted in research methods book clubs to help stay up-to-date on current statistical trends, publication and internship opportunities, and skills to navigate the ups and downs of graduate school and career preparation.

Hot Tip # 2: Network. Relatedly, we have found it helpful to always expand our professional networks by attending happy hours and social events sponsored by a variety of organizations (including OPEN). As a student, networking can be intimidating, but with an increasingly competitive job market, it is important to build relationships with hard-working contributors in the field that could one day be colleagues or collaborators.

Hot Tip # 3: Attend conferences. Conferences provide opportunities to learn about current happenings in the field and about career trajectories in evaluation, and to develop meaningful professional relationships through networking. Conferences have the built-in perk of providing the topics of conversation for you! For example, at the OPEN conference this past March in Portland, Oregon, Stewart Donaldson kicked us off with what he believed were the future trends in Program Evaluation. This lends us an exciting and easy topic to debate and to continue generating ideas with other conference attendees.

Hot Tip # 4: Get involved in local associations. We both volunteer for OPEN. This has been helpful for cultivating relationships with evaluators in the area, identifying diverse career options related to Program Evaluation, and work with a group of individuals who share a similar passion.

Rad Resource:  Early Career Listservs and Topical Interest Groups. Some organizations have dedicated listservs and/or topical interest groups that graduate students and new evaluators can join.  For example, the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) has created a listserv for early career individuals.  These resources can provide additional connections, job postings, and new or innovative ideas related to career opportunities.

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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.



My name is Mika Yamashita, a program chair of the Mixed Methods Evaluation Topical Interest Group (TIG).  The Mixed Methods Evaluation TIG was founded in 2010 to be a space for members to “examine the use of mixed methods evaluation through reflective analysis of philosophy, theory and methodology that is developing in the field of mixed methods” (Petition submitted to AEA in 2010). Evaluation 2012 will be our third year to sponsor sessions.

Mixed Methods Evaluation TIG members who presented at past conferences contributed this week’s posts.  A majority of presentations focused on findings from mixed methods evaluations, analysis of data collection and analysis methods, and strategies used in evaluation teams.  So, posts for this week will cover these topics. On Monday, Tayo Fabusuyi and Tori Hill will highlight the framework used for the evaluation of a minority leadership program. On Tuesday, Leanne Kallemeyn and her colleagues at Loyola University will share lessons learned from and tips for conducting integrated analysis. On Wednesday, Kristy Moster and Jan Matulis will walk us through how their evaluation team members worked to analyze data from multiple sources.  On Thursday, Hongling Sun will share lessons learned from conducting a mixed methods evaluation. Finally, on Friday, Terri Anderson will share her evaluation team’s experience using the National Institute of Health’s guide, Best Practices for Mixed Methods Research in the Health Sciences to understand an unexpected evaluation result

Rad Resources: Listed are resources I found helpful for learning about Mixed Methods Evaluation.

Hot Tips: 

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Mixed Method Evaluation TIG Week. The contributions all week come from MME 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 evaluator.

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Hello. I’m Ehren Reed and I am a Director with Innovation Network. For several years, much of my work has involved the evaluation of advocacy and policy change efforts. During that time, I have witnessed this topic grow from a conversation between a small cadre of evaluators and funders to a full-fledged field with an AEA Topical Interest Group (TIG) of over 700 members. (And, as of last month it seems, its own page on Wikipedia!) Over the past week, a series of evaluators have offered valuable lessons on effective advocacy evaluation. I wanted to close the week by adding some of my favorite resources.

Anabel Jackson kicked us off with some of her perspectives on the unique challenges and opportunities that exist within the field of advocacy evaluation.

Rad Resources:

  • One of my favorite resources regarding advocacy evaluation, and one of the first, is Blueprint Research and Design’s two-part series on The Challenge of Assessing Advocacy (Part I and Part II).

On Tuesday, Anna Williams talked about the challenge of defining and measuring “wins.” When conducting advocacy and policy evaluations, it is critical that we remember not only to consider the achievement of such “wins” but also the myriad of outcomes that will demonstrate progress toward those victories.

Rad Resources:

Gabrielle Watson discussed actively integrating evaluation into the implementation of an effort and deliberately connecting evaluation results back into internal reflection and planning. These lessons mirror those advanced by the notion of strategic learning, which involves using data from a variety of sources—including evaluation—to inform how a strategy is developed and executed.

Rad Resources:

Finally, yesterday, Tayo Fabusuyi called for the establishment of a community of practice for this field, where evaluators working on advocacy and policy change evaluations can share with and learn from one another.

Rad Resources:

•             The most obvious opportunity exists through the Advocacy and Policy Change TIG. Check out their website and email TIG Chair Annette Gardner to get more involved.

•             The Center for Evaluation Innovation is also working to develop an international advocacy evaluation community of practice –  sign up to receive notices on their website.

We’re celebrating Advocacy and Policy Change week with our colleagues in the APC Topical Interest Group. 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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I’m Tayo Fabusuyi, lead strategist at Numeritics, a Pittsburgh-based research and consulting practice.

While advocacy has been around since humans were first able to give voice to different opinions, the evaluation of advocacy efforts is still very much in its infancy. One of the hallmarks of a nascent field is the absence of consensus on nomenclature and standards that most stakeholders subscribe to. This attribute is more pronounced in the advocacy evaluation space given the nature of advocacy efforts that often require the use of networks and coalitions, its emergent nature, multiple objectives from different stakeholders that may be mutually exclusive, the uniqueness and the context-specific nature of advocacy efforts, and the inability to attribute cause and effect in an open system that often characterize advocacy efforts.

Lessons Learned: As a result, advocacy evaluators need to foster a community of practice to aid in exchanging knowledge and in creating a body of work that documents what works, why and within what context. The learning process thrives best when we promote social interaction that facilitates the exchange of tacit knowledge, and when the body of evidence that comprises explicit knowledge is compiled across time, space and context. Advocacy efforts are nearly always unique, and insights from specific engagements may not be transferable to the next.

This is why it is imperative to have a repository of experiences across different contexts. The compilation may also provide opportunities that allow tacit knowledge to be converted to explicit knowledge. This affords the fungibililty that makes the insights and experiences gained from one specific advocacy evaluation effort to be transferable to a similar one.

Drawing from documented past experiences allows us to develop a conceptual framework within which advocacy evaluation studies could be analyzed, and compared. A modest goal of this framework is a catalog of successes, failures, methodology used, unintended outcomes and contexts to guide future advocacy evaluations. This initiative can establish a basis on which we can articulate common ground on advocacy evaluation and provide insights on how best to proceed in the face of remaining uncertainty. Sharing can accelerate learning.

Hot Tip: If you are an American Evaluation Association member, join the Advocacy and Policy Change Topical Interest Group (TIG). You can do so by logging into the AEA website and selecting “Update Member Profile” from the Members Only menu. If you aren’t an AEA member, I invite you to join AEA.

Hot Tip:  AEA members, take the next step and join the Advocacy and Policy Change discussion list (go to Members Only -> Groups/Forums Subscriptions) and contribute to vibrant conversations that can help build our community of practice.

We’re celebrating Advocacy and Policy Change week with our colleagues in the APC Topical Interest Group. 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. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hello! My name is Charles Gasper and I am the Director of Evaluation for the Missouri Foundation for Health.  I am also co-chair for the Non-Profit and Foundations TIG.  I am pleased to announce that this week the AEA365 blog will be focusing on specific issues on evaluation in support of funders and non-profits.

Hot Tip: Attend some of the sessions sponsored by the not-for-profit TIG at AEA2010!  We have an amazing lineup of exciting sessions, ranging from thought-provoking think thanks, engaging roundtables, and spirited discussions on ways of enhancing evaluation in not-for-profits and foundations.  Here is a link to the searchable schedule:

Hot Tip: Call for Nominations!  The current term for one of our TIG Co-Chairs, Les Baxter, is expiring and we are running an election to fill this leadership position for the three year term (2011 to 2013). The TIG Co-Chair is responsible for convening the TIG business meeting, fundraising and coordinating the TIG’s reception at the annual conference, and overseeing the planning and development of any TIG activities outside of the annual meeting. Chairing the TIG is a great opportunity to learn about and develop the field and to connect with the larger AEA community.  Get involved!

September 30, 2010 is the deadline to nominate colleagues or yourself for this TIG Chair position. Please send your nominations to Joanne Carman at Please include a brief “candidacy statement” (about 2 paragraphs) that includes your background, why you want to be a chair, and what you would bring to our TIG.

Hot Tip: TIG Business Meeting at the AEA Conference

You are invited to attend the business meeting of the Nonprofit and Foundations Evaluation TIG.  Please join us on:

Thursday, November 11

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Long Star D, Room 105, Grand Hyatt

Hot Tip: Attend the NPF Reception at the AEA Conference!  You are invited to mingle with your colleagues at a reception that we are hosting. Relax after a full day at the conference. Catch up with old friends and make new ones.  Enjoy great food and refreshments while sharing new ideas.  Come join us!  The reception takes place after the business meeting on Thursday:

Thursday, November 11

7:15 pm – 9:00 pm

(Location to be announced soon)

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating evaluation in Not For Profits & Foundations (NPF) week with our colleagues in the NPF Topical Interest Group.  The contributions all this week to AEA365 will come from our NPF members and you may wish to consider subscribing to our weekly headlines and resources list where we’ll be highlighting NPF resources.

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Hello! My name is Annelise Carleton-Hug and I am a principle partner of Trillium Associates a research, evaluation and consulting company serving clients with programs involving the intersections of environment, education and communities.

Hot Tip: As Chair of the American Evaluation Association’s Environmental Program Evaluation (EPE) topical interest group, I invite you to check out the EPE TIG!  Our TIG members are involved in evaluations of conservation biology; environmental policy & management; environmental & conservation education; energy programs; international & global environmental issues (e.g. climate change & international treaties).  As a result of this diversity, our TIG presentations each year at the annual AEA conference cover a wide variety of topics, and we often host off-site field trips to environmental project sites. EPE TIG members will be sharing tips all this week on the AEA365 blog, as well as hosting the coffee break webinar this Thursday, Earth Day.

Rad Resource: The Atlas of Global Conservation – This new book by The Nature Conservancy will be published on Earth Day, April 22, 2010 and is unlike any other atlas.  It contains more than 100 full-color maps and charts depicting information such as where animal populations are concentrated, which species are in imminent danger of extinction, where forests are disappearing more rapidly, and where nature is thriving. Behind each map lies a database, searchable kilometer by kilometer and assembled on a consistent framework so that maps can be compared against one another.  This will truly be a tool that makes global environmental information accessible to scientists, evaluators and concerned citizens.

Rad Resources: Two of my favorite resource sites for tools relevant to environmental education are: –  an online community site that strives to support knowledge-sharing, collaboration and the growth of innovation among diverse professionals in the field of informal science education. In addition to being a rich information resource, the site seeks to connect research, practice and evaluation work to a living collection of informal learning projects.  On the site you’ll find links to helpful resources for evaluation, including a variety of evaluation reports on informal science and related topics.

My Environmental Education Evaluation Assistant, “MEERA” – a site devoted to evaluation resources for environmental education programs.  The site is particularly helpful for practitioners of environmental education, thus I find it useful to share with clients to assist them in improving their evaluation capacity.

Hot Tip: Go outside.  Take a hike, ride a bike, climb a tree. Do something to connect with nature – it might help clear your head and provide new inspiration for your work and life.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to

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