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Local Evaluation News and Happenings

       Do you have news or events to share? Send an email to info@mneval.org. 

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  • 19 Feb 2024 8:39 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)


    Dear MNEA Community, 


    I hope you are sliding into 2024 with renewed energy and a positive outlook for all this year has in store for you! I am Alissa Jones, the 2024 MNEA president. Before I dive into MNEA updates, I’d like to share a little bit about myself. Firstly, in my free time I love to snuggle with my senior dog (Moxie), read, and play Sudoku- the latter of which are usually done in conjunction with the first. I am a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership, policy, and development with a focus in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota. My research focuses on reflexivity and how its use in evaluation can address social justice issues. I work full-time and hope to defend in the fall and officially focus on only work-life harmony. I started my dream job two years ago as the Associate Director of Operations at Wilder Research, a division of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. In addition to leading our central operations for research and evaluation team, I enjoy working with clients on data-informed strategic plans and supporting our culturally responsive and equity-focused work. I describe myself as “someone that takes their work seriously, but does not take themselves seriously”. Now, enough about me, let’s get to MNEA!


    MNEA Board Updates

    A big SHOUT OUT to our outgoing 2023 board members, Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro (Past President) and Spectra Myers (Communications Co-Chair)! Thank you for your gifts of leadership, talent, and time!

    A huge WELCOME to our new board members: Jennifer Aranda (Communications Co-Chair), Ashley Estrella (Membership Co-Chair), Molly Illes (Program Co-Chair), Ivory Love (Student Representative), and Kylie Nicholas (President-Elect). Looking forward to doing amazing things with you all!

    An enormous THANK YOU to our continuing board members: Carolina De La Rosa Mateo (Communications Co-Chair), Molly O’Connor (Past President), Robin Phinney (Secretary), Veronica Seifert (Membership Co-Chair), Sam Stork-Post (Treasurer), and Ava Yang-Lewis (Program Co-Chair). Couldn’t be happier to continue this journey with you. Buckle up!

    Please check out our board member bios to learn more about the wonderful people serving MNEA! 

    Lastly, it’s never too early to consider joining the MNEA board in 2025! Elections will open in fall 2025. Check out the board member descriptions and reach out to MNEA (info@mneval.org) if you have questions!


    What can you expect from MNEA in 2024? 

    We are still getting our loons in a row, but here is a glimpse of what you can expect:

    • Our programmatic addition this year is Hot Pocket Topic! I will facilitate this monthly series, which  provides members with an opportunity to ask questions and share perspectives/experiences about current evaluation-related topics. Content for these meetings is sourced from AEA365 posts, evaluation blogs, and from members like you! The first event will be held on February 29th and focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Sign up here to join! If you want to learn more about AI, check out Introduction to Chat GPT4 provided by The Evaluators’ Institute at Claremont Graduate University, March 28-29.

    • Molly O’Connor will continue to host Making Connections events aimed at community-building.

    • We will get together at AEA’s Amplifying and Empowering Voices in Evaluation 24 in Portland, Oregon. We will aim to find a time that works well between October 23-25. There’s still plenty of time to consider submitting a proposal (deadline is March 22)!

    • We’ll close the year with an in-person end-of-the-year celebration and a virtual annual business meeting. 

    Our programming aims to meet your needs and interests, so please consider suggesting a topic or volunteering to speak or host an event.  Keep an eye on your inbox for event invites or checkout upcoming events on the MNEA website.


    Membership

    MNEA has experienced a drop in membership after the free COVID-19 free membership was discontinued, and we now have approximately 340 members. We have raised the professional and organizational membership by $10, and student membership continues to be $10 a year. We are also offering a community-funded membership, which is available for 10 members experiencing financial hardship and/or interested in learning about evaluation. Check out our membership prices and benefits and encourage your colleagues to consider joining MNEA!


    Thank you for continuing to support MNEA, and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!


    Best,

    Alissa L. Jones

    MNEA President 2024


  • 19 Feb 2024 8:30 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)
    Last year we conducted research on evaluation commissioning for a course at Claremont Graduate University. As part of the course requirements, we designed an online community, Kopanya. We would like to share the key findings of the study, and encourage you to sign up here to attend one of two scheduled sessions dedicated to sharing the research findings. 

    From the study, it is evident that we need to re-envision the challenging dynamic between commissioning agencies and external valuators, if we wish to design quality evaluations that are truly impactful and taking advantage of the skills and competencies evaluators offer. 

    Kopanya is an online community that focuses on improving the working dynamic between the parties, while simultaneously making the commissioning process more collaborative and efficient for both. Click here for some compelling reasons why changing the commissioning process is long overdue and necessary.

     As we implement Kopanya to evaluate its real world appeal and value to the evaluation community, we encourage you to join its next exciting phase of development by signing up here. Signup is free for evaluators. Commissioners can sign up for a free, mahala package or contact us here should they be interested in a personalized signup discount. 

    As part of the implementation process, we have invested some time to make the change process easier and less daunting by documenting what you can expect from Kopanya. We have developed seven short "how-to" commissioner videos and four evaluator videos to offer a brief but complete overview to use the Kopanya platform. The videos range between one and six minutes. Don’t wait! Sign up and join the Kopanya community. 


  • 13 Dec 2023 11:00 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    Baltimore Area Evaluators presents: Hands-on Data Viz Makeovers

    December 13 | 11-noon CT | virtual

    Do your charts and graphs need a makeover? Do your data visualizations create more questions than they answer? Join Baltimore Area Evaluators for a practice session where we will transform real world examples and take participant questions on how to communicate more clearly with your images. Bring your own graphs for live coaching and your questions! All skill levels welcome, anyone with Google Sheets, Excel, Powerpoint, or Canva can make a great data visualization.

    Free to register and get the Zoom link:

    https://bit.ly/3QY9YCL


  • 28 Apr 2023 8:08 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    The Black Collective Foundation MN has partnered with the Center for Evaluation Innovation with contributions by Philanthropy for Racial Equity (PRE) to release our first research report. Join them for a free online event on Tuesday, May 23th from 12:30 to 2:00pm.

    The report integrates MN specific philanthropic data with voices across local philanthropy and Black-led change-makers exploring the definitions and impact of racial justice, Black-led change, and anti-Blackness. The report highlights local and national philanthropy’s investment in racial equity and justice to offer a baseline understanding of our funding landscape and center Black lives as we usher in a new kind of philanthropy that is accountable and inspired to be in power-shifting solidarity with Black-led change.  Register here.

  • 26 Apr 2023 1:30 PM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    Thank you to all of the Minnesota Evaluation Association (MNEA) members and our all volunteer board of directors who made 2022 a great year! The MNEA board of directors aimed to support our members, fellow board members, and the broader evaluation community (and adjacent/evaluation-curious colleagues) through a centering of reflexive practice to uplift connection, wellness, and rest; and I am really proud of how this was put into practice through the opportunities and communications from and within the MNEA community.

    It has been such a joy to be the MNEA President and a member of this board. I truly admire the thoughtfulness, commitment, and support offered by my fellow board members, as well as the engagement and energy from our MNEA community. This report summarizes the year by highlighting our activities, our opportunities for growth, and reflecting on what this means as MNEA continues to evolve and expand.

    Read the full report


  • 21 Mar 2023 11:00 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    This special event is free, but space is limited! Please register at: https://tinyurl.com/4v8apbea
     
    When we focus on equity in our evaluations, we help to gather the insights needed to address systemic inequalities and we help to ensure that programs and policies are having a positive impact. As we are in the months of February and March, where we recognize the World Day of Social Justice, the International Day of Women, and the U.S. Black History Month, we want to ask ourselves and each other how we can provide valid and trustworthy data about initiatives in order to abolish poverty, racism, gender and sexual identity inequality, unemployment, and also support human rights, and social protection. How can evaluation embody the values of a more just society? How can we center equity in our work and in the world?

    The EnCompass Learning Center  panel on equity and program evaluation, moderated by Dr. Ayesha Boyce, will feature evaluators from the Aspen Institute, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Food Programme (WFP). These experts will share: the ways in which their organizations are centering equity in their evaluation work; the role of data and technology in advancing equity; opportunities for strengthening the focus on equity and culturally responsive evaluation practice; and advice for those who are interested in being more mindful of equity in their work. So come prepared to not only listen, but to actively engage. Bring your experiences and your questions. Together we hope to be inspired to continue this good work.

    Moderator

    Ayesha Boyce, ELC Faculty and Associate Professor at Arizona State University

    Panelists

    Winston Allen – Agency Evaluation Officer, United States Agency for International Development

    Nanette Antwi-Donkor – Senior Program Manager – Data, Equity and Impact, Aspen Institute

    Grace Igweta – Senior Evaluation Officer, World Food Programme

    Erika Rissi – Senior Advisor for Strategy and Evaluation, National Science Foundation

    Please note that this event will take place online via zoom. The login information for the event will be emailed to registrants at least one week prior to the event. The session will be recorded and shared (for a very limited time) with people who have registered. This is to enable access to those who may not be able to join us live on the 21st.

     

    If you have any questions, please reach out to us at learningcenter@encompassworld.com.


  • 02 Nov 2022 7:49 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    Baltimore Area Evaluators (BAE) invites you to join our virtual Post-AEA Conference Sharing Circle on November 17, 2022 from 11-12 pm CT

    Come get all the highlights from the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference. ALL are welcome. If you attended the conference, come share what wowed you. If you did not attend, come catch up on what you missed. This is an informal session to share resources and catch up on the industry!

    Register at https://bit.ly/3DdnMRD

  • 05 Oct 2022 5:30 PM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    Leah Goldstein Moses, Founder and CEO of The Improve Group, has stepped down as CEO and into an advisory role.

    The Improve Group is a St. Paul-based evaluation, research, and strategic planning consulting firm with a staff of 21 people. The organization is dedicated to helping nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure their work contributes to a better, more equitable world.

    Read more about Leah's journey and hopes for the future in her letter.

  • 03 Oct 2022 4:12 PM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    The Colorado Evaluation Network invites MNEA members to a one-hour discussion with Dr. Martha Brown titled Why Should Evaluators Be Trauma Informed? The Zoom event will take place on Wednesday, October 12, from 1-2p CT.They ask affiliate members to pay a reduced rate of $5. Learn more and register.

  • 11 Aug 2022 10:00 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

    The Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet) is hosting a one-day virtual conference featuring a variety of national and local leaders in our field. AZENet has offered reduced pricing of $50 per registration for members of MNEA. Visit the For Members section of the MNEA website for the registration code and further details.

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