As spring is fast approaching (call me a dreamer), I hope that 2016 is bringing you happiness, health, and success. And I hope the same for evaluation practice in Canada and elsewhere.
In January and February, there has been a flurry of activity on the professional learning front. Early in January, the CES signed a contract for an online training platform with Velsoft, a Nova-Scotia based software and training company. This new resource will be instrumental in a fundamental shift in CES' approach to professional learning: while Chapters will remain active in organizing in-person events, the new electronic delivery of training will extend CES' reach everywhere in Canada (and elsewhere) and will break barriers to access and connect with professional development in evaluation. The CES Professional Learning Committee is working on a strategy for the next few years but we are already implementing decisions made in June 2015: we have let three contracts for the development of intermediary-level courses by June 2016; and with the help of a dedicated volunteer, we expect to migrate the Essential Skills Series to the on-line environment by then as well; plus we have the development of four more courses on the books for 2016-2017. On-line learning opens the door to a variety of new opportunities for members and for the Society; we intend to profit from all of them!
Kristine Hoyak conducted a fabulously interesting webinar in February on Wayfinding Complex Adaptive Systems for Evaluators. We plan for four more webinars in March and April. Stay tuned. Note that the recordings of past webinars are available to members at any time.
The organization of the St. John's conference Evaluation on the Edge is in full gear: hundreds of proposals for presentations were received and reviewed, and the Host Committee is finalizing decisions concerning the detailed program which will be available early March. Other aspects of the conference are proceeding as scheduled, with exciting plans in the mix! I look forward to a rich, thought-provoking conference in Newfoundland and Labrador. Registration is opened; be sure to reserve your accommodations early as hotel rooms are scarce in St. John's at that time of the year.
We have officially launched the CES Mentoring Initiative. The CES Mentoring Initiative is a continuation of the former Evaluation Mentoring Canada, now offered as a bilingual service for the benefit of CES members, including affiliates of the American and Australasian Evaluation societies.
The consulting group which handled the evaluation of the Professional Designations Program has presented its final report to the CES. It is a constructive report that highlights successes and areas for improvements. The complete report will be shared with all of you as soon as the French version is ready. In the mean time, the Vice-President has been setting up work groups to build an evaluation response plan that will be presented to the Board of Directors in the coming weeks.
Thanks to the relentless work of the Governance and Process Committee, we have published bilingual versions of our new set of governance and operating policies. This is the result of a much needed cleaning of a number of policies developed over the 35 years of existence of the CES, and of the addition of a few documents that we were lacking. I hope that the CES be an exemplary evaluation society that can inspire other associations to structure as solidly as we have.
The CES also renewed the contract of its Executive Director, Rebecca Mellett, until June 2018. Rebecca has been instrumental in the delivery of many CES products and services over the past year and she has made fruitful contacts with a variety of people and organizations. Now that the learning curve is behind us, Rebecca will take on an increasingly important role in the organization.
On January 28, I had the pleasure and the honour of being invited to attend and present at the CES-New Brunswick event entitled Evaluation and its applications in the economic and social fields. Some 40 evaluators and other specialists interested in evaluation gathered to discuss how evaluation can contribute in various areas, and to get to know each other. It was a great opportunity for the Chapter to demonstrate its dynamism and to extend its reach. Bravo!
The nomination period for the (extraordinary) position of President of the CES will close very soon. I look forward to informing you of the fine individuals who have shown an interest for the job.
As usual, 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, 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).