Shelley Borys

Spring

Learning Circles for Advanced Professional Development in Evaluation

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Pages:
87-96

Studies of Canadian evaluators have consistently shown them to be dissatisfied with opportunities for advanced training, suggesting a need to diversify the forms of professional development available to seasoned evaluators. This article reports on a trial implementation of an alternative learning model: learning circles for advanced professional development in evaluation. This model is grounded in approaches drawn from self-directed learning, self-improvement movements, adult and popular education, quality improvement, and professional journal clubs. Learning circles bring together experienced practitioners in structured collaborative learning cycles about topics of mutual interest. We experimented with an evaluation learning circle over several cycles, and report on what we learned about purpose, process, and outcomes for professional development. We hope that this model will be of interest to other evaluators, especially in the context of the competency maintenance requirements of the CE designation.

Spring

CES Student Essay Award: Student and Professor Perspectives

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Pages:
97-99

Special Issue

Evaluation practice in Canada: results of a national survey

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Pages:
1-42

This article reports on the results of a national survey that describes the professional and practice profiles of program evaluators in Canada, their views of their working conditions, and their sense of belonging to the field of evaluation. The data were collected between May and July 2005 via a Web survey, and 1,005 respondents filled out questionnaires. Among them, 647 indicated that they were internal or external evaluation producers, the others being evaluation users, students, or researchers. The results raise several issues. First, much of the evaluation work being done in Canada appears to be driven by accountability requirements, and secondarily by an appetite for program improvement or reconsideration. Second, voluntary certification, while quite widely supported, may create or encounter significant challenges in attempting to achieve professionalization goals. Third, the survey documents the need for professional training and the low levels of satisfaction with the training received to meet the requirements of evaluation positions. Finally, based on the current configuration of the population of active evaluators, on the intent of a majority of young evaluators to leave the field in the next few years, and on the training required in evaluation, the profession is not currently in a position to sustain itself through the renewal of a stable, capable, and committed workforce. Taken together, these results suggest a need for reflection and action on the future development of the profession.

Special Issue

The CES Professional Designations Program: Views from Members

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Pages:
98-133

CES members were surveyed in April 2014 regarding professionalization issues and the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) program (a component of the CES Professional Designations Program). Analysis reported here is based on 654 completed questionnaires. Results suggest that members' attitudes and perceptions about the program are generally positive. Credentialed Evaluators appear to attribute improvements in their practice to the credential, and the sense of belonging to a profession is increasing. Factors other than the credentialing program may have influenced the variables of interest. The study points to some crucial challenges facing the designations program for reaching its entire intended community.