The CES Annual Report for 2015-16 is now available. The Annual Report includes the President’s Message and a synopsis of activities and achievements, including reports from the Treasurer, the Professional Designations Program and key committees. Brief chapter reports highlighting the chapters’ events and activities during the last year are also included.
The President's report follows.
The year 2015-2016 has been exciting for the CES. Charged up after the Montreal Conference, we attacked the second half of EvalYear and its aftermath with a flurry of projects and packed action plans. And we delivered.
In this note, I want to highlight a few key themes of 2015-2016. One fundamental thread is that the Canadian Evaluation Society would not be the striving professional association that it is without the amazing dedication of an army of volunteers who believe that we are collectively doing something important. Our call for volunteers in the fall of 2015 was highly successful. Allow me to mention members of the Board of Directors, members of Board working groups (including the Credentialing Board, the International Working Group, the Professional Learning Committee, and the Web team), Presidents of Chapters and members of Chapter boards, conference host committee members, webinar presenters, individual volunteers supporting specific activities, etc. Hundreds of individuals who commit their time to the promotion and the improvement of evaluation in Canada. They are the basis of our success and they can count on our highly committed staff: special thanks to Nanci Lines, Lynn Burgess, and Bonnie James of Megram Consulting Services, and to Rebecca Mellett, CES' formidable Executive Director.
Officer and chapter representative reports tell a detailed tale of our year. To me, the CES action in 2015-2016 has focused on the credentialing program, professional development, communication with members, advocacy, international presence, and governance.
While continuing to manage the Credentialed Evaluator program in an effective and efficient manner, the Vice-President has contracted and supervised an independent evaluation of the program. The evaluators have identified strengths and challenges of the program and we have worked on an action plan to take the CE program to the next level.
The Professional Learning Committee has delivered an unprecedented number of webinars, developed an online platform for the delivery of training, piloted the development of four courses (with more to come), and maintained harmonious relationships with the chapters on the professional development front. These are major projects that will redefine the availability of relevant training of quality for evaluators, here and elsewhere. Members will benefit the most through reduced price access to training offerings.
Related to professional learning, the Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter, with support from CES National, has organized a fabulous annual conference, with an intriguing theme that is anchored into the local geography and culture. The 2016 conference has attracted delegates from several other countries and has been an opportunity to reflect, question, compare, and, well, learn.
Under the leadership of Robert Schwartz, the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation published high quality articles and practice notes, with great regularity. The CJPE now publishes articles on the CES website as they become available instead of waiting for full issues to be ready.
The CES Mentoring Initiative was launched. A continuation of the former Evaluation Mentoring Canada, it is now offered as a bilingual service for the benefit of all CES members.
Communications with members have been regular and improving. Website communications have significantly improved with the finalization of the development work started in 2014-2015. All CES resources are now located on evaluationcanada.ca, using a development platform that will allow for evolving services. Members have access to a number of reserved resources, commensurate with the investment they make when they pay their membership fees. The Communication and Marketing Committee has also organized scheduled communications with members regarding membership and credential renewals, and is working with the secretariat to improve telephone service, including bilingual service.
On the advocacy front, we have capitalized on every opportunity to promote evaluation. We steer-handled the publication of four texts in the December 2015 issue of Canadian Government Executive Magazine and maintain a relationship with this magazine for further publication; we made presentations about the CES work at various venues in Australia and in the United States, as well as with EvalConnex; we wrote to various officials (Prime Minister of Canada, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, Minister of Science of Canada, Executive Director of the Quebec Bureau de la révision permanente des programmes) and met with some other ones (e.g., senior provincial representative).
Through our Past President, we have maintained an active international presence at the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and EvalPartners. Larry has been a driving force behind the creation of the EvalIndigenous group of EvalPartners. We also held a successful call for expression of interest in international work and volunteering, thereby opening new doors for a number of members. We have continued our support to the Thailand Evaluation Network.
CES as an organization also needs attention. We have completed a strategic plan for 2015-2018. As part of this exercise, we have adopted an inclusive definition for evaluation. The Governance and Process Committee has spent the year cleaning up the CES governance and operational policies and creating new policies and terms of reference where they were lacking. All of this work was collated in the first ever CES policy manual, a reference from now on in the management of the Society (and for many other evaluation societies, I would venture).
Finally, I am glad to leave the Society in the hands of its new 2016-2018 President, Harry Cummings. Harry will bring to the CES a solid connection with the academic world as well as a deep understanding of evaluation work. I leave the CES in good hands.
Benoît Gauthier, CE