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In evaluation, a good mentor can help you navigate the perplexing terrain of diverse schools of thought on what evaluation is about and how it should be done. Their guidance can help you avoid the pitfalls which can occur when you are translating a plan into practice. And their insight into where the profession of evaluation has been can help you shape where evaluation is going.

The 18 AES Fellows have over 550 years of experience between them. There is certainly a lot we could learn from them.

Over the next year, Anthea Rutter, an AES Fellow herself, as well as Research Fellow at the Centre for Program Evaluation, will be picking their brains on their influences, the challenges they’ve overcome, the skills evaluators will need now and into the future, how the discipline has changed, and where they think it is headed.

What can you expect? Here’s a taster of what’s up and coming on the AES blog:

Scott Bayley on evaluation questions: The hard part is actually identifying good questions to ask – questions that stakeholders care about; questions that reduce uncertainty, questions that support learning, collaborative relationships and better program results.

Sue Funnell on evaluator skills and competencies: Fleet footedness and adaptability while minimising compromises to quality.

Colin Sharp on voice: How do we enable evaluation to give a voice to the clients and consumers of human services, so they can talk to the politicians? How do we talk truth to power?

Penny Hawkins on overcoming challenges: The resilience needed to continually defend evaluations in the face of unhealthy challenges can require a lot of effort. This reality is not something that’s taught on evaluation courses but learnt though difficult experiences.

Join us next week as we go back to the founding of the AES with Anona Armstrong.

March 2019
by Anthea Rutter and the AES Blog Working Group