Winner, Award for Contribution to Evaluation in Canada, 1998

The Contribution to Evaluation in Canada Award is presented by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the theory and/or practice of evaluation in Canada. Nancy Porteous received this honour recently at the CES annual national conference in St. John's, Newfoundland in June.

The award recognizes Nancy's role in developing an educational resource for public health workers in Ontario called the Program Evaluation Tool Kit: A Blueprint for Public Health Management. A series of 2-day regional workshops introduced over 500 people to the Tool Kit and its practical, five-step guide to planning, conducting and using evaluation. Feedback on the resource and accompanying workshop has been overwhelmingly positive! Over 1000 copies of the Tool Kit have been distributed across the Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Several university instructors have requested permission to integrate Tool Kit materials into their evaluation course curriculum.

Ruth Sanderson, Kathryn Doré and Christian de Keresztes, members of the Ontario Chapter of the CES, nominated Nancy for this year's award. They said: "The CES has an exceptional member in Nancy, who truly exemplifies professionalism and displays that rare quality of being able to reach outside her own profession and make evaluation accessible to others. In short, Nancy is an outstanding example of how the leadership of one individual can significantly advance the practice of evaluation within a whole sector."

Nancy says she was thrilled to receive the award but is quick to recognize that development of the Tool Kit was "truly a team effort". The Tool Kit was co-developed by Paula Stewart and Barbara Sheldrick. Both Barb and Paula provided important insight into evaluation and Barb's background in adult education helped ensure the success of the initiative. As well, an interdisciplinary provincial advisory group and many other individuals provided invaluable assistance and direction. Development and dissemination of the Tool Kit was co-funded by the Public Health Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Teaching Health Unit Program of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton's Health Department.

Recognition of excellence is not new for Nancy. She received the James McGill Scholarship for academic merit and community involvement to attend McGill University in Montreal where she completed undergraduate studies in Sociology and won several awards for her outstanding undergraduate work. Following volunteer work in southern Africa and a year of international touring with the performance and community service troupe Up With People, she earned an M.Sc. in Social Research Methods from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, while studying as a Commonwealth Scholar.

Nancy began her career with Ekos Research Associates, an Ottawa-based applied social research firm. It is at Ekos that she worked with Shelley Borys and Benoît Gauthier, two experienced evaluators who she looks up to as role models in the field. She also credits Shelley, who in 1997 was awarded the Service to the CES Award, for introducing her to the Society's local chapter. Nancy has been an active member of the National Capital Chapter (NCC) of the CES since 1993 and assumed the role of Chapter President in June 1998 for a two year term. She has facilitated workshops and presented papers at both local and national CES conferences. She has also played a key role in nurturing the growth of the NCC's student Evaluation Case Competition.

Since 1994, Nancy has worked in planning, evaluation and performance measurement for the Region of Ottawa-Carleton, first with the Public Health Department then briefly on special projects in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer as well as in the Environment and Transportation Department. Since September 1998, Nancy has been with the Social Services Department where she leads a Planning and Performance Measurement Unit. The Unit facilitates departmental strategic and operational planning, conducts evaluations and audits, and is responsible for facilitating the development, reporting and use of performance measurement information.

Update: in 2002, Nancy has accepted a new position in the Population and Public Health Branch of Health Canada.