Week 32: 2015 is EvalYear

We’ve all been hearing that 2015 has been designated EvalYear – the International Year of Evaluation. It’s hard to believe that it’s been only 50 years since evaluation has truly been considered a field. The intention of EvalYear is to bring new thinking into evaluation and create new synergies across disciplines…inclusion, innovation, and strategic partnerships.

In order to ensure I can make a contribution to EvalYear, here are some specific resolutions I make to get involved, and hopefully it will help you think of ways you can participate too:

Stay connected through social media – I admit that I’m relatively new to blogging, but I’m committed to staying with it throughout 2015, hopefully sharing some ideas to make evaluation more useful and learning how to improve my own work through the blogs I read. I haven’t gotten involved in Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc., but I will read at least one evaluation blog post each day and hope to hear feedback from many of you on what we are writing each week!

Explore ideas with other evaluators – I resolve to spend time not just networking with other evaluators at meetings and conferences, but also asking critical questions to push our thinking and building on each other’s ideas to potentially lead to innovative ways to design, use, and benefit from evaluation.

Teach about evaluation – I resolve to teach my clients about the process, intention, and impact of evaluation so they can take that knowledge and apply it to other areas of their work. I resolve to teach my graduate students, those who are planning to be evaluators and those who are not, how to incorporate evaluative thinking and processes into their own work.

Share about evaluation in unusual spaces – I admit, sometimes when I’m not wearing my evaluator hat, I like to just cheer at a football game, go to a musical performance, visit a museum, etc., and not think about evaluation at all. However, evaluation is all around us. If I am to live the principles of EvalYear, then I need to be thinking strategically how to include others in evaluative innovations. While I also don’t want to be that lady who talks about evaluation all of the time, I resolve to be more intentional in posing challenging questions that may lead to others thinking differently.

DR. TACKETT’S USEFUL TIP: You don’t have to be part of a large-scale governmental evaluation, work at an international evaluation firm, or keynote one of the major evaluation conferences to make a contribution to the evaluation field in 2015. Make your New Year’s resolution related to EvalYear and contribute in your own way!