Winner, Award for Contribution to Evaluation in Canada, 2003
Acceptance speech by Kaireen Chaytor for Canadian Evaluation Society Award for Contribution to the Theory and Practice of Evaluation in Canada, Vancouver, June 3, 2003
Thank You. I am indeed honoured to be recognized by my peers. Thank you to the Nova Scotia Chapter for nominating me.
Yes, I have spent a lot of time pushing the boundaries of evaluation – promoting, encouraging, and yes badgering -- Whether it was getting agency or government staff to participate in learning, fighting for an evaluation budget for a project, or getting friends to present on their work at conferences such as this. Constantly pushing on the boundaries sometimes makes you a burden, so it is a nice recognition when your peers say your effort was necessary to make a difference.
I want to take one minute to report on what I think is an interesting time for evaluation in Nova Scotia. I believe this is the first time the award has gone to Atlantic Canada so we must take advantage of this opportunity.
A new provincial act, The Act to Restructure Government, introduced about two years ago, is calling for a greater look at value for spending. At the same time, our provincial government undertook an interesting contract with Dalhousie University to offer A Masters in Public Administration specifically for provincial government employees. The last two courses they take are program evaluation and human resource management. No connection!! Several participants from the program now work for our Provincial Treasury and Policy Board and have the mandate to advance the evaluation agenda for all initiatives. One of the MPA graduates has the responsibility for developing the evaluation capacity within the provincial government and he serves on the Nova Scotia chapter executive of CES. We have an intensive Department in-services on evaluation underway right now. There is a plan to conduct management training in another Department confirmed. Our chapter will have the deputy minister for the Treasury and Policy Board speak at our chapter AGM. There have been times when I thought the progress was very slow but now I see a lovely connection between many pieces so I am very encouraged with the role of evaluation in public sector management.
I have been involved with the Canadian Evaluation society for a number of years. I commend you on some great initiatives that promote evaluation and help those working in the area. There is still a lot to be done and I hope the focus can be on that which is important to membership.
I am not retired. You haven't gotten rid of me, so I want to put in a plug for an "emphasis" for CES. I will leave you with just one idea. As was noted in the introduction, I teach evaluation in a number of settings. It is not an easy subject to teach. It is like getting your arms around an octopus. There is work to be done on the teaching of evaluation and I encourage CES to take a greater role in this area. I have had many conversations while at this conference on the need to increase the teaching, learning, organizational capacity building role for evaluation. I would like to see a conference just on the teaching of evaluation, with broad representation and broad support. I brought this up at AEA as a respondent to a presentation on a research project on graduate education. At this conference I have spoken with Harry Cummings and with Brad Cousins, both felt they should talk to Anita Myers about writing a proposal to a funding agency such as the Kellogg Foundation. Please give thought to this.
At the panel presentation this morning, on "The Analysis of the Situation of Program Evaluation", which by the way I found to be excellent, I felt there was considerable evidence to support the emphasis on teaching and learning about evaluation. Several panelists noted the need for management orientation to the evaluation function, especially as it is required by all levels of government and funding agencies. I believe we can 'make a difference' if we can improve the teaching and learning strategies and opportunities.
So, While we have accomplished a lot over the last few years, we still have much to pursue. There are a lot of you who deserve this award. Thank you again for selecting me this year.