AKEN Corrie Whitmore: 2013 President's Report

31 Dec 2013 5:00 PM | Anonymous
I’m Corrie Whitmore, the founding President of AKEN. I am very proud of our first year as an officially recognized American Evaluation Association (AEA) affiliate organization. At the beginning of the year, we had a mailing list, a newly elected board, and the start of by-laws. By the end of the year, we had held twelve meetings, taken on 39 official members, and presented a full slate of programming. 

AKEN has adopted a schedule of hosting five General Membership meetings around programs, one General Membership Business meeting, and six Board of Managers (BoM) meetings each year. 

February’s General Membership meeting focused on forming our Membership, Programming, and Nominations Committee. Over the course of the year, the Membership Committee developed our organizational website and social media presence (FacebookTwitterblog), created the forms and process for members to join the organization, and conducted the first AKEN Member Survey. The Programming Committee coordinated the content of our four program meetings and the Nominating Committee put together a slate of candidates for our 2013 Elections.

At April’s General Membership meeting, Alda Norris of UAF’s Cooperative Extension presented on Data Visualization Tools. This presentation is available in our Resource Library.

In May, we organized the “AKEN Week” on the AEA365 blog with posts by seven members. I introduced the Alaska Evaluation Network;  Amelia Ruerup posted on Understanding Indigenous Evaluation in an Alaskan Context;  Alda Norris discussed Interdisciplinary Approaches to Extension Evaluation in Alaska; Diane Hirshberg and Lexi Hill posted about Mixed Methods for Small Sample Sizes and Culturally Responsive Practices;  kas aruskevich wrote about Strengthening Itinerant Evaluations in Rural Alaska; and Vanessa Hiratsuka posted about Continuous Quality Improvement, Quality Assurance, Evaluation, and Research: Where does my project fit? Participating in the AEA365 blog was a great way to be part of the broader evaluation conversations that are taking place, while also getting our organization’s name out there.

In June, Karen Heath and Danielle Reed from UAA’s Center for Human Development presented on the Evaluation of Employment Projects at the General Membership Meeting.

At August’s General Membership meeting, Lexi Hill of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Researchpresented preliminary data from AKEN Membership Survey. We plan to repeat this survey in the future, now that we have baseline data from our first year.

In October, Diwakar Vadipailli of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research hosted a panel with Andrea Fenaughty, Bernita Hamilton, and Lisa Aquino, discussing the current and future state of evaluation practices in Alaska’s human service agencies.  This panel was well attended and sparked a great deal of discussion.

Later in the month, six AKEN members presented a panel entitled “The State of Evaluation in Alaska: Capacity Building in Alaska's Complex Evaluation Environment” at the AEA National Conference. Alda Norris of UAF’s Cooperative Extension presented on “Evaluation in the Last Frontier: Unique Aspects of Documenting Formal and Non-Formal Learning in Alaska;” Wendi Kanneberg, of Southcentral Foundation, spoke about  “Building Capacity for Culturally Competent Evaluations in a Tribal Environment;” and Susan Tucker (of Evaluation & Development Associates, LLC) Ed McLain (from theUAA College of Education), Lexi Hill, and I presented the “Theoretical Base and Design of the Alaska Evaluation Network Membership Survey” and “Lessons for Evaluation Capacity Building in Alaska: Learning from the Results of the Alaska Evaluation Network's Membership Survey."  The session was well attended by evaluators with Alaska connections and it was great to meet so many people interested in the evaluation in the 49th state!

In November, we elected a new Vice President, Doug Cost, and Treasurer, Iris Matthews, for 2014. I look forward to working with Doug and Iris on the Board of Managers in 2014.

December is the month of our General Membership Business Meeting. We revisited our by-laws to propose a few small changes, discussed next steps toward an AKEN Conference in 2015, and began recruiting members for the 2014 committees. I hope you will consider increasing your participation in AKEN activities or joining a committee this year, to help our organization flourish in 2014.

What a wonderful, full year we had in 2013! 

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