I’m Brian Yoder. I live in Washington, D.C., and I serve as president of the local AEA affiliate, the Washington Evaluators. I’m writing about an initiative I spearheaded called Evaluators Visit Capitol Hill which took place during the AEA conference in Washington, D.C. last year.
EVCH is a collaboration between AEA’s Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) and Washington Evaluators (WE). EPTF provided policy documents related to the role of evaluation in government; WE organized AEA members to visit the office of their congress person. During the AEA conference in D.C. last year, AEA members visited the office of their congress person, dropped off documents related to the role of evaluation in government, spoke about evaluation, and asked if anyone in the office would be interested to be contacted by a member of EPTF to further discuss/provide additional information about evaluation.
A total of 69 participants from 31 states and the District of Columbia signed-up and participated in an initial training conference call. The federal government shut-down for two weeks prior to the AEA conference, creating challenges for some to schedule appointments with their congress person’s office. Eighteen participants, visiting twenty-one different congressional offices, completed a post meeting survey. One third of the congressional offices visited by an AEA member said they were interested in receiving additional materials from EPTF. AEA members reported having opportunities to speak with congressional staff about issues related to evaluation of government programs. An unanticipated outcome of the government shutdown was some AEA members were able to meet with their representative or senator since they were available due to the government closer.
My hope is that this initiative helped accomplish three things:
- Make more policy makers aware of AEA and the work of EPTF.
- Expand the reach of EPTF by creating connections for EPTF.
- Give evaluators the opportunity to be part of the early policy-making process by providing materials on evaluation to policy makers prior to the policy being made.
We plan to continue and expand the initiative the next time AEA’s annual meeting is in Washington, D.C. Please be on the look-out for additional information on how you can participate in EVCH in the run up to the next AEA conference in Washington, D.C.
Rad Resource: A Rad Resource I would like to share is the Washington Evaluators, one of the oldest local affiliates. If you are ever in D.C., please join us for one of our storied brown bag sessions or other events. You’ll find information on the website: washingtonevaluators.org/events
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Washington Evaluators (WE) Affiliate Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from WE 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.