My name is Kim van der Woerd, I’m a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation of Alert Bay, BC, and have been doing program evaluation work for over 20 years. I own and have run an all-Indigenous consulting firm called Reciprocal Consulting, for the past 14 years. I’m excited we are holding this year’s CES conference in Vancouver, the unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Wau-tuth peoples. Continue reading
There’s been a quiet revolution in conference presentations over the past ten years, and it’s all in the name of learning and knowledge translation. Gone are the days of banging out a deck of slides using a canned Power Point template or one covered with an organization’s logo and a list of six bullet points per slide. Nowadays, savvy presenters are putting a more thought and innovation into their presentations in order to better engage audiences and communicate their key messages. Many millennials seem to understand this new era of communication and design intuitively, while many of us from other generations are still learning.
Don’t let your great content get lost in a lacklustre presentation! Here are three quickie tips to rock your CES2017 presentation. Continue reading
The well-organized and visionary Francophone evaluation network (RFE) conference in Marrakesh was an inspiration for me as Co-Chair of this year’s Canadian Evaluation Society Conference. I had the good fortune to connect with the President of host organization Moroccan Evaluation Association, Jamal Ramdane, Jean-Marie Loncle from the Francophone evaluation network, and Program Coordinator Mouna el Ghormli from the Moroccan Evaluation Association, who gracefully shared their insights on organizing a successful conference with me. Continue reading
There are many academic reasons to attend CES Vancouver but the social activities will guarantee to be a highlight of your trip. Whether it is taking in the sights and sounds of beautiful Vancouver, chatting with a new acquaintance at morning exercises, or catching up with old colleagues at the evaluator dinners, this conference has something for everyone. Continue reading
Some conference themes resonate with me more than others. When I saw this one I thought, “Yes!” Innovation, action, and reflection are all things that have been on my mind lately as an evaluator. Let me tell you why.
I took my first evaluation course in 1988 and went out on my own as an independent consultant in 1998. So as you can imagine I have a few years to reflect on. My first CES conference was Toronto 1990. For years it seemed to me there was nothing new in evaluation, and probably for good reason. We were still a young, relatively new profession and everyone was busy building our reputation and seeking acceptance. Fast forward to 2005-2006 and things seemed to really take off. Now everywhere I look I see innovation being introduced into the field, and it’s very exciting. From boundary-pushing reports to previously unthinkable forms of data collection, the times they are a changin’. Sometimes it freaks me out as I try to keep up, but it’s still exciting. Continue reading
The American Evaluation Association Conference in 2016 was big. Atlanta was my second AEA conference and with 50 concurrent sessions, I was never going to get to half of the presentations I wanted to see. At my first conference in 2015 I was excited to see the famous people whose articles I had been reading as a student and I was drawn to sessions by Tom Schwandt, Michael Quinn Patton, Beverley Parsons, Michael Scriven and George Grob. This time I decided to prioritize sessions related to my research and I ended up joining the Advocacy and Policy-Change Topical Interest group. It was great to meet people exploring similar questions and sharing their understandings from interdisciplinary theory and practical experience.
It’s most definitely fall in Saskatoon – nights dip below freezing, the trees have shed most of their leaves, and it’s only a matter of time before the snow hits1. Another sign of fall? Upcoming due dates to submit presentations for conferences, including the Canadian Evaluation Society’s 2017 conference in Vancouver.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the conference and its theme of Facing Forward: Innovation, Action, and Reflection. Today, I’d like to focus on Innovation – but instead of looking at innovation in evaluation, let’s talk innovation in conferences. My experiences at evaluation conferences (both in Canada and south of the border) have been overwhelmingly positive: at the same time, I’m aware that these events can be criticized for not being the most effective use of time and resources. Indeed, there are numerous ways today that we can learn from others without having to leave the comfort of home – including blogs such as this one! As a result, it’s a legitimate question to ask whether it’s worth spending hundreds of dollars (if not thousands, when you account for travel and accommodations) to make the trip. Continue reading
From previous blog posts (see here, here, here, and here), you can tell that I’m a fan of expanding my skills and learning in evaluation through conferences. Attending these events, hosted by the Canadian Evaluation Society and the American Evaluation Association, has also connected me into a diverse community of practitioners, academics, consultants, students, grantmakers, government officials, and more who are brought together by a common interest in the field of evaluation. Given this blend of learning, sharing, and connecting, I try to make it out to these conferences whenever circumstances allow.
The next Canadian Evaluation Society conference will be taking place in Vancouver from April 30 to May 3, and I’m excited for a couple of reasons – not least because Vancouver is a beautiful city to visit, relatively close (well, close by Canadian standards, at least) to my home base of Saskatoon, and home to several evaluation colleagues and friends. What really piqued my interest is an initiative for the conference that’s being led by one of those colleagues and friends, Sarah Farina of Broadleaf Consulting. Evaluators are being encouraged to blog on the conference theme (Facing Forward: Innovation, Action and Reflection) in the months leading up to the conference. It’s a neat way to start the conversation well in advance of the meeting itself, and hopefully have it continue afterwards! Continue reading
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 Continue reading
I’m delighted to be Co-chairing the 2017 CES conference with Chris Lovato. My first introduction to CES was at the 2010 conference in Victoria. I’d been working in evaluation for many years, including conducting training in monitoring and evaluation. At that time, though, I wasn’t familiar with evaluation as a discipline.
What struck me most about the conference was how collegial attendees were, and how curious they were to learn. I enjoyed the sessions I attended, and more than that, I savoured the open and exploratory conversations that took place throughout the event. Almost every session made me feel like I’d finally come home. People were friendly, used a language I understood, and talked about topics I cared about. I felt from that time that I was joining a community of people working in the same realm, though the boundaries were still being worked out. Continue reading