Hello from Oregon! My name is Tanya Ostrogorsky. I am the Assistant Dean for Evaluation Science at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing where I am responsible for the evaluation of 13 academic programs across 6 campuses. Although I am sure that sounds just thrilling to many of you, I writing to you today to discuss how getting connected with your local AEA affiliate is a mutually beneficial experience. As with many evaluators, my background includes primarily research methods and data analysis courses from within psychology and education programs. I have only had one formal course in program evaluation in all of my graduate work. So, where did I learn most of what I know about evaluation? From attending Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) annual meetings, trainings, and working with connections from within that organization.
Early in my doctoral program (2001) I attended my first OPEN event. I was ‘recruited’ to work the registration table in order to get into the conference for free. That first event was on Appreciative Inquiry by Dr. Hallie Preskill. It was at that moment that I realized that I really didn’t know much about the different philosophies and approaches to evaluation. Each year that I have been involved with OPEN I have been exposed to major thought leaders in our field at OPEN conferences (e.g., Jennifer Greene, Michael Scriven, Michael Quinn-Patton, Melvin Mark, Deb Rog). I have also had the opportunity to meet local evaluators as we all work together to better our practice. Over the past 10 years I went from volunteering at the registration table to being the President of OPEN for several years.
I encourage each and every one of you who are practicing evaluation in the US to engage with a local affiliate group. I know that it made a significant impact on my professional pathway and I believe that it will with you as well.
Hot Tip: There are 26 local affiliates across the country. Click here to see a list.
Rad Resource: Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN) website – We have a searchable membership directory, links to past events with handouts, and resource links, as well as a Council member list, calendar, and easy event registration.
For the past several years, OPEN has offered programming that is focused on skill development including such topics as: context and evaluation, logic modeling; qualitative data analysis; and visual displays of quantitative Information.
We are in progress of planning our October 2010 event. If you are interested in being added to our mailing list you can sign up at http://oregoneval.org/. Click Join OPEN. To be on our announcements list it is free. Membership is $30; $15 for students.