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YEE Week: Meeting the Transformational Moment – Wisdom from Young and Emerging Evaluators by Scott Chaplowe

Scott Chaplowe

My name is Scott Chaplowe and I have been an active member of the AEA since 2002, currently serving on its International Working Group. It is a privilege to be introducing this themed week featuring the wisdom from young and emerging evaluators (YEE).

For those who attended AEA’s Eval21 Reimagined last month, you might recognize the title of this AEA post from a Presidential Strand session delivered on the last day of the conference. As with the conference session, the purpose of this week is to provide a space for Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEEs) to share their views on the intersection of evaluation and the call for global transformation to meet the challenges of our times.

Daily we are bombarded with reminders of the existential challenges we confront, from global warming, pandemics, and biodiversity loss to escalating inequality, racism, disinformation and manipulation and the fear it breeds. It may sound alarmist, but the science points towards a “near-term collapse” in society if we continue a business-as-usual scenario, recently underscored at the World Climate Summit in Glasgow.

Given this urgency, incremental change is not enough. We need radical, global systems change at multiple levels in society if it is to survive. That is what is meant by transformational change, and why we need to meet the transformational moment.

How can evaluation, a profession in the business of assessment and advising others, meet the transformational moment? This is a question that I have devoted considerable time investigating in the last several years of my career. While on this journey, I have had many conversations with YEEs for their viewpoints, which seemed especially fitting given that they are the future of evaluation.

Rad Resource

My rad resources for this post are unequivocally the YEEs who are posting this week, Ann Marie Castleman, Taruna Gupta, J.R. Moller, Michael Ojo, Phung Pham, Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro/Bildabinikwe, and Jaideep Visave (all in order alphabetically by last name), and then Beverly Parsons, a veteran evaluator and former AEA President, who will conclude the week with some closing reflections. Our YEEs come from different countries, cultures, and professions and locations around the world. They are incredibly inspiring, and I have often reflected that “YEE” might be a misnomer, and Young and Accomplished Evaluators might be a more fitting description.

Related, if you have access to the AEA conference recordings but have not yet viewed the Presidential Strand session of the same title as this blog, I highly recommend you do. What is posted this week comes from the same YEEs and is also amazing, but is not the same personal content that they shared during the AEA session.

Lesson Learned

Working with this group, connecting, collaborating and the shared learning, has been a powerful reminder that the “journey” with others in putting together a conference session or a series of blog posts is just as valuable, if not more, than the “destination” (the conference presentation and blog posts themselves).  I have seen relationships built between all of us that will extend into the future, and I look forward to continuing this transformational journey with such company.

Hot Tip

Use forums such as conferences (online or in-person), communities of practice, email listservs and other knowledge sharing opportunities to connect with, share and learn from more junior or senior evaluators.

Rad Resources

Check out EvalYouth, a global, multi-stakeholder partnership/network that is part of EvalPartners, and was established to support and promote YEEs and youth-led accountability around the world. Eval4Action is another vibrant initiative, which seeks to mobilize commitments and actions by varied stakeholders, including YEEs. Zenda Ofir’s blog series on Top Tips for YEEs shares advice for young and emerging evaluators from herself as well as a range of experienced guest bloggers.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting the Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEE) Week. The contributions all week come from YEE 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. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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