President's Update, May 2016

The lake has thawed, proof positive that we are out of winter and looking at the 2016 Conference right in the eyes. In March and April, the Conference committees have been in high gear, announcing keynotes, selected presentations, available workshops, special activities organized by fellows, the complete program, the Twitter feed, and the launch of the conference app. Wow! That's a lot of volunteer work! Thanks to all organizers.

April and the National Volunteer Week gave us an opportunity to thank all CES volunteers without whom this organization would grind to a halt. Volunteers are omnipresent within the CES. Thank you all for your energy, motivation, and involvement.

The Case Competition team has announced the winners of Round 1 of the 2016 Case Competition; 20 teams took part in this first round. The three selected teams will meet at the Conference where they will each be given five hours to prepare a live presentation on a topic that they will discover right there and then. I love that competition. CESEF and the CES also announced the winner of the SEEK award, Sarah Sangster from the University of Saskatchewan, who we hope to hear in St. John's. CESEF also promoted its Silent Auction which is an important source of revenues for the Education Fund.

In addition to continuing to supervise the development of several intermediate training courses to be delivered on the CES online platform, the Professional Learning Committee has delivered an unprecedented number of webinars over the past two months: seven, including three in French! Thanks to the webinar presenters for informing us on "Learning circles for advanced professional development in evaluation", "Learning with Twitter", "Words of evaluation: a terminological dictionary to clarify communication in evaluation practice", and "Systemic evaluation in post-conflict situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo". Recordings of these webinars are available on the Web for members to access.

The CJPE Editor has announced the publication of the Volume 30 Special Issue on decolonizing international development evaluation. In my view, the content spans a wide array of important cultural issues; this edition should be a must read for all Canadian evaluators. The CJPE has also started to publish articles as they become available instead of waiting for whole issues to be ready. This will speed up publication for all members.

An important milestone has been reached with the publication of the independent evaluation of the Professional Designation Program. The report is an important read for CES leadership but for membership as well. It highlights strengths and challenges of the program, and points to some areas of required improvement. The Vice-President is working diligently with five sub-committees at developing a response and action plan. Meanwhile, the value of the CE designation was clearly demonstrated at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada where management has committed to defraying the application and maintenance fees for the designation, as well as the required CES membership fee for all permanent evaluators in its ranks who obtain the CE designation.

The Web team has also been very busy, publishing no fewer than 41 news items in March and April. The website is the CES' main conduit of information to members and to the evaluation community generally. It carries information about the Society and about the evaluation world. My thanks to the Web team for making this communication happen.

The Survey Working Group has selected a company to implement a survey of CES members. This survey is an important part of CES' membership strategy and will convey member views on what they want from their professional society. It will be launched in the fall as a bi-annual survey, and will be an important input into a number of our initiatives in 2016-2017.

On behalf of the CES, I have written to the Minister of Science in support of the creation of a Chief Science Officer of Canada. I wanted to emphasize that "science" includes social sciences and evaluation, and that the government should recognize the value of research based on scientific principles as well as well-established traditional knowledge.

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).