(Past-)President's Update, July 2016

In this last bi-monthly report to members, I would like to highlight some great news of the past two months, starting with the resounding success of the annual conference!

We held our 37th annual conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, from June 5 to 8, 2016. The Conference theme was “Evaluation on the Edge” which refers to the aim of the conference to explore the leading edge of approaches and methods, technology, professionalization, influence, and culture. It was also a wink to the fact that St. John’s is the easternmost point of North America. Presentations, keynotes, panels, breakfasts, etc. were geared to sharing lessons learned from practice, exchanging tools for building evaluation skills, breaking the mold through innovation and experimentation, and hearing how non-evaluators are using evaluative thinking to advance their organizations.

The Conference attracted 387 attendees mainly from Canada but representatives from all continents were present. Ideas were exchanged, as well as contact information, smiles, and war stories. With upwards of 150 presentations, there was a lot to choose from. The Host Committee demonstrated their welcoming reputation and very successfully offered a glimpse of Newfoundland culture through many well selected social events. I can share with you that early results of the post-conference survey of delegates indicate that 88% rated the conference as good or very good.

Pictures taken by Ivan Petrov at the conference were recently posted. Conference presentations are being assembled in the CES Grey Literature Database that is available to all members.

We have written to Minister Bennett to make the CES position on reconciliation public and to state that, because of the crucial importance of the values of respect and cultural relevance in the practice of evaluation, the CES will be actively pursuing action to include these values in its strategies, plans, and activities. We sincerely hope that other professional associations in Canada will follow our lead. Thanks to the Diversity Working Group for their efforts.

The Board of Directors has given its full support to the EvalAgenda 2020. The EvalAgenda 2020 already lines up well with the CES strategic plan. Each of the Board standing committees will also identify one new initiative that it will implement between now and 2020 in support of the EvalAgenda.

Looking back at the entire 2015-2016 year, I am proud of what we have accomplished together. The CES Annual Report provides a summary of a multitude of initiatives that have been initiated, worked on, or completed. All of them are related to improved service to members in one way or another. I sincerely hope that you, CES member, have felt the impact of some of these collective actions and that your professional life has been made better somehow, thanks to the unrelenting energy expanded by our small but motivated staff (Rebecca Mellett, our Executive Director; Nanci Lines, our Member Service Specialist; Bonnie James, our Director of Finance and Administration; Lynn Burgess as Client Manager, and other staff at the secretariat) and by our many dedicated and driven volunteers.

We welcome Harry Cummings as the new CES President for 2016-2018. Harry brings with him a strong international network, an in-depth understanding of the academic world, and renewed energy to implement initiatives for members. Harry knows that he can count on my total support in his new responsibilities.

The composition of the 2015-2016 CES Board of Directors is reproduced in the signature block below. I would like to thank all Board members for their relentless efforts to improve services to members, to promote evaluation, and to promote the professionalization of the practice (the three pillars of our strategic plan). I also want to thank them for making my life as President very easy, constructive, and fun. There will be very little turn-over in the Board in 2016-2017; this is a testament to Board member commitment. Please feel free to contact any Board member or the Executive Director to let us know what your concerns are and how we can better support evaluation and evaluators across Canada and elsewhere.

Benoît Gauthier, Past-President of the Board of Directors

Your Board of Directors: Gail Barrington (Vice-President), Simon Roy (Treasurer), Robert Chatwin (Secretary; Nova Scotia), Larry Bremner (Past President), Réanne Kinsella (Chair, Communication and Marketing; Newfoundland and Labrador), Kate Woodman (Chair, Professional Learning; Alberta and NWT), Brenda Wedge (Chair, Governance and Process; Prince Edward island), Sidiq Ali (Ontario), Denise Belanger (Manitoba), Johann Jacob (SQEP), Kathy Gerber (National Capital), Maureen Matthew (Saskatchewan), Sandra Sellick (British Columbia and Yukon), Wayne MacDonald (New Brunswick), Rebecca Mellett (Executive Director).