Jana Garay: CE Success Story
Who is the Credentialed Evaluator (CE)?
Jana Garay is a professional evaluator working in Prague, Czech Republic, as a part-time external evaluator with a consulting firm and as a part-time evaluation researcher for the Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses. Jana is an international member of the Canadian Evaluation Society and is a CE. She has worked in Canada, Mexico and the Czech Republic on regional, national, and international projects in all capacities of program evaluation. She has seven years of program evaluation experience.
Jana obtained an undergraduate degree in Social Policy and Social Work and Psychology from Masaryk University, Czech Republic, and a M.A. in Applied Social Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in 2012. She is fluent in four languages.
What was the initial situation?
Jana came to the U of S as an exchange student in 2008 and in a Master’s a year later. Her professors were Dr. Peter Grant and Dr. Karen Lawson. Dr. Lawson invited members of Jana’s class to become part of a Case Competition team early in her program. She participated on teams in 2010 and 2011 (winning). During this time, Jana decided that her career would be in the field of program evaluation.
Why did the CE want the credential?
The Professional Designation Program (PDP) was new when Jana enrolled at the U of S. Dr. Lawson introduced the students to the competencies, process, and potential benefits of the credential. Jana knew from her past experience that many people did not know what evaluation was and how it could be utilized across programs. She believed the credential would give her recognition and credibility as an evaluator.
What was/is the relationship of the credential to the CE’s work?
After her graduation, Jana planned to work internationally, and she was motivated to obtain her CE, which would speak to her experience and qualification in program evaluation and would improve her international opportunities.
Compared to Canada, evaluation in the Czech Republic is still not very developed and it is mostly being conducted only at the request of the European Commission (EC). The Czech Evaluation Society was founded in 2010 and has adopted a set of Formal standards to conduct evaluations (2013) that were inspired by the CES Program Evaluation Standards.
Jana was determined to obtain her CE as soon as possible to complement her qualification in evaluation. When she met the work experience requirements of the credential, she began to prepare her application by describing the competencies. Yet it was not until two years later that she officially initiated the application process. She does not regret postponing it as the additional experience she gained coordinating a monitoring project in Mexico had helped her develop her managerial competencies and provide more evidence of competence. It took her three months to complete the application. She often referred to the PDP sample responses and to the documentation she had accumulated since 2010. She obtained her CE in 2014.
In the Czech Republic, Jana’s associates see that she has the credential and she gets lots of recognition for it together with her Canadian experience and training. Czech evaluators are now aware of evaluation because of the EC guidelines. Colleagues sometimes ask her very specific questions about methodology. Jana was the organizer of a case competition in the Czech Republic last year and through the case study instructions, she ensured that students reflected on evaluation standards, code of ethics and some competencies while developing their proposal. Jana considers herself an evaluator, but she says “I am not the expert.” The credential is not the key reason for her success, but it is certainly an asset.
She is currently doing research and methodology development in the field of evaluation. She has a two-year research grant to develop methodology to better integrate four crosscutting themes of the Czech Development Cooperation into the evaluation of development projects.
The CE designation gives Jana confidence to present herself as a credentialed evaluator. She believes in the designation and wanted to share her perspective with other evaluators. When she was looking for an evaluation job in the Czech Republic, she would always get asked by her interviewers about the designation: “What is it? How did you get it? What did you need to do to meet the requirements?”
“CES should be proud of the credential.”