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



WMU Scribing: Stacy French on the Intersection of Strategy and Evaluation

My name is Stacy French and I am a doctoral student at Western Michigan University. I served as a session scribe at Evaluation 2010 and attended session 124, The Intersection of Strategy and Evaluation: What Are We Learning? I chose this session because of my interest in business strategy and how it interacted with evaluation.

Lessons Learned: Strategic evaluation is essential in any evaluation program

Lessons Learned: Real-time data is key to many organizations in today’s world

Lessons Learned: Strategy is not part of the common language amongst all disciplines

The purpose of this session was to describe why Strategic Evaluation is essential in any evaluation program and how each of the panelists has put this model to use. Key areas that make strategic evaluation so unique and valuable to the panelists are that it is not just based on the development of strategies and goals, but implementation in a timely and useful manner.

Gale Berkowitz, of The Packard Foundation, discussed the importance her organization has placed on mid-course review and the use of a summative evaluation that may not be used as a conclusion to the evaluation but instead be used as a tool to develop recommendations for future actions.

Mayur Patel, of the Knight Foundation, continued the discussion of strategic evaluation though focusing on assumptions that are made by evaluators during this process and some of the problems that may arise from this situation. Mr. Patel made emphasized that culture needs to be a component in the process specifically taken into consideration when personnel work with the implemented strategy.

Tom Kelly, of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, noted that strategic evaluation is not common language among all disciplines, which in turn leads to many debates within the field of evaluation. Mr. Kelly emphasized the need to bridge this gap through better communication and to allow for peer review among departments within the organization.

Hallie Preskill, of the Foundation Strategy Group (FSG), discussed how FSG ends their evaluations with learning agendas which provide links to further evaluation at completion of the initial evaluation. Most of Ms. Preskill’s time was spent describing the “infinity model” which shows how strategy and evaluation intertwine within each other.

At AEA’s 2010 Annual Conference, session scribes took notes at over 30 sessions and we’ll be sharing their work throughout the winter on aea365. This week’s scribing posts were done by the students in Western Michigan University’s Interdisciplinary PhD program. 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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