Journey to a Theme By Chris Lovato

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It’s now only 7 and a-half months before the 2017 Canadian Evaluation Society Conference begins. Thinking back on the journey to date, one of the early tasks that stands out for me was the process of identifying a theme. I was tasked with leading that process so I started by sitting down with a pen and paper and a BIG cup of coffee. I wrote down words and concepts that I felt represented what I’ve been hearing my evaluation colleagues and students talk about. That list was revisited and revised many times after conversations with Co-Chair, Sarah Farina and a host of others who engaged in the conversation. Just looked at my computer files and my first theme document was created in May 2015!

After several meetings and months of collecting feedback from a wide range of people, in April 2016 we landed on our 2017 conference theme–“Facing Forward:  Innovation, Action and Reflection”. After that meeting I celebrated (not with coffee!). We are pleased with the response we’ve received to date; this theme seems to be resonating well with people. So far, we’ve heard unsolicited comments like “love the theme”, “exciting”, “great theme”. This feedback has made us all very happy! J

To me, our theme represents the cutting edge of what’s happening in our transdisciplinary field, the things we need to consider as we “face-forward”, the innovations that will further our successful practice, the actions we need to take both as individuals and as a field. It also highlights the crucial act of self-reflection that will help us be the best that we can be.

What does “facing-forward” mean to you? We’d love to hear from you!

Chris Lovato, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, where she teaches and conducts evaluation research.  She is Co-Chair of CES 2017.