Since Caroline and I went to the American Evaluation Association (AEA)-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Summer Evaluation Institute, I have been thinking about writing of my love for AEA. Near the end of the Institute, my brain was bursting with so many new ideas, that I had to stop and thank AEA Executive Director Susan Kistler. This little blog post is a written appreciation of our love for AEA.

All the evaluators here at Via Evaluation are members of AEA. We also belong to several other national professional organizations, but AEA holds a special place in our hearts. With our AEA memberships, we receive access to: AEA journals, ongoing professional development opportunities, an evaluator listserv, a blog about evaluation, and an incredible annual conference for evaluators from around the world. We also have the privilege of being part of a community of evaluators who share resources and experiences.

In just the past few months, Via Evaluation staff members have participated in an e-study course on Developmental Evaluation with Michael Quinn Patton, attended the AEA-CDC Summer Institute, signed up for professional development workshops and the annual conference, attended Coffee Break webinars, discussed articles from New Directions for Evaluation and American Journal of Evaluation and AEA365 blog posts, and turned to the evaluator listserv for advice. We also have taken advantage of the many resources AEA provides about effective presentation of information, for formal presentations, client reports, and other types of reporting.

In an attempt to give back to AEA and the evaluators who have helped us, we are making several presentations at the annual conference. We hope our fellow evaluators will find these presentations useful and share their own ideas on the topics.

AEA has been a central building block of the company we are today. So, from a group of people who love evaluation, thank you AEA for fostering our development as evaluators and helping us provide great evaluation services to our clients. We are looking forward to connecting with other members and refilling our brains with evaluation information in Minneapolis next month!