Another two months have gone by since my last President message. Much has happened in January and February.

The International Year of Evaluation is now in full gear. A few events have taken place already and bridges are being built around the world between politicians, managers, and evaluators. In Canada, CES received a letter of endorsement of the UN Resolution on Evaluation from Minister John Baird who expressed strong support for evaluation of development activities. We are expecting a response from the Treasury Board of Canada to our plea for support of federal evaluators to express their professionalism by becoming Credentialed Evaluators. Under the leadership of EvalPartners, an agenda for evaluation (designed globally, delivered locally) for 2016-2020 is being developed; we will discuss this at the Montreal conference. Our Past President has contributed to the work of EvalPartners and of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and acts as Treasurer for these organizations.

Speaking of the 2015 CES Conference, the host committee is analyzing the record 280 proposals for presentations, panels, posters, etc. Decisions will be communicated soon. Considering the extraordinary interest in the conference measured by the number of proposals and the inspiring crop of pre-conference workshops that was recently unveiled, the Montreal conference promises to be a resounding success. Make sure to be there! We are piloting a new "International Buddy Program" to connect international participants to local evaluators; check out the Conference Web site and register as one or the other. The Conference Sponsorship and Exhibition program is now in operation; refer to the Conference Web site to learn about opportunities to promote your products and services, and to support the Conference.

Years after CES decided to acquire the services of an Executive Director to support the Board of Directors and to ensure more and better services to members, we have finally completed the selection process. Rebecca Mellett is CES's Executive Director. Her appointment will help the organization deliver on its key priorities: the promotion of evaluation with decision-makers, the professionalization of evaluation, the value of CES to members, and rigour in managing the Society. The CES is very fortunate to have Rebecca on the team.

On the professional learning front, while chapters have been busy delivering in-person events, we have hosted a webinar on "Translating Evaluation Findings Into Action" provided by Kylie Hutchinson. We have also completed the competitive process that led to the selection of a firm charged with planning the development of some six intermediate level training seminars which will support the Professional Designations Program (PDP). There is still a lot of work to do before we can deliver these long-awaited professional learning opportunities but we are on the right path.

The call for nomination of candidates for the position of Vice-President of CES has been issued. This position is highly strategic: the VP is responsible for the PDP which is at the core of our professionalization effort. Consider your interest in this position. With more than one candidate, we will hold elections in April.

PDP was at the core of the Special Issue of volume 29 of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation that was recently published. Nine articles aim to provide an in-depth understanding of issues surrounding the inspiration, development, implementation, and continuous improvement of the PDP. These articles are truly interesting reading – and I am not saying that because I contributed to the issue.

Our Web team has been very active to keep you informed of all things evaluation and CES: over the past two months, 27 news items were posted on the Web site (always in both official languages) and 56 opportunities (jobs, contracts, collaborations) were added. Provalis Research has become a CES partner by offering a 10% discount to CES members on all of its analytical software products. Other member benefits are being assessed and will be announced soon. We are at the final stages of development and testing of our new membership management system: very soon, individual members will have the ability to control their contact information directly to ensure that we can stay in touch with them and to provide us with a clearer and more up-to-date picture of our membership.

The 2015 CES-CESEF Student Evaluation Case Competition has held its first round: 20 teams of students from universities and colleges across Canada participated in it. Competition judges are busy rating the submissions, providing individual feedback to each team, and selecting the three finalist teams who will compete during the Montreal conference.

As you can see, CES is on the move. As always, feel free to contact me to raise concerns, to offer advice, to volunteer your time, or simply to let us know that what we do matters. All CES Board members are volunteers and appreciate hearing from you.

 

Benoît Gauthier, President of the Board of Directors

Your Board of Directors: Janet Ivory (Vice-President), Simon Roy (Treasurer), Larry Bremner  (Past President), Réanne Kinsella (Chair, Communication and Marketing), Kathy Gerber (Chair, Professional Learning), Amy Richmond (Chair, Governance and Process), Sidiq Ali, Jacques Bérard, Robert Chatwin, Maureen Matthew, Sandra Sellick, Brenda Stead, Brenda Wedge, Kate Woodman