Chi Yan Lam: CE Success Story
Who is the Credential Evaluator (CE)?
Chi Yan Lam is an early-career professional evaluator working in the Ontario Ministry of Education. He is a member of the CES Ontario Chapter and is a CE. He is a data collector, coordinator of evaluations, and does research on evaluation in his current role. He currently has five years of experience in program evaluation.
He obtained a PhD in program evaluation from Queen’s University and obtained his CE in 2014 while in graduate school. By working on various evaluations contracted to Queen’s Assessment and Evaluation Group, he had the opportunity to hone his expertise and gain the equivalent of two years’ experience while studying.
What was the initial situation?
While in graduate school, Chi determined early in his studies that he wanted to make a career of research and evaluation. He attended a CES conference in 2013 and attended a session on credentialing lead by Keiko Kuji-Shikatani, then CES VP responsible for the Professional Designation Process (PDP). At that time, he decided to commit to the credential and channel his learning and experience to meet the requirements.
Why did the CE want the credential?
Chi realized in 2010 that the credential would give him recognition and would signal to employers and clients the value he could bring to his work.
What was/is the relationship of the credential to the CE’s work?
In graduate school, Chi realized that completing the credentialing process and understanding the requirements gave him a framework to shape his studies, to supplement the competencies, and to seek opportunities to gain experience.
At 29 years of age, he was able to gain employment in the Ontario Ministry of Education through his acquisition of the credential, his professional connections, and support from a CE board member. His employer recognized the value of the credential and realized Chi’s capacity to do good work – based not necessarily on years of experience alone but on the merit of his competencies in program evaluation. Because he had acquired the credential, he was operating at a professional level that his employer understood.
Chi manages several internal evaluations involving student learning and student achievement in Ontario. There is a significant need to understand the impacts of programs as well as to how to improve the programs.
At the time that Chi applied for the credential, he found the process to be quite smooth and clear. He did not find it particularly onerous. The online support materials were useful and the examples were great. He would have appreciated more support and intentional, timed encouragement to complete the process. He had the benefit of a colleague who provided support and further information.
Chi is successfully employed in an area that he always wanted. Today, it is a challenge to get into the workplace without considerable experience. The credential offers extra recognition and is a benefit to the employer. He credits his success on his focus, his education, the credential, and his support structure (CES and peers). In his day-to-day work, he can say to people “I am credentialed in program evaluation” just as others would in similar professions.
An important facet to his professional practice is his ongoing research agenda in evaluation. “I do research on evaluation. Pursuing that means that I am always thinking about the implications of my work. The close linkage between the credential and research on evaluation is critical. It defines my practice as a professional.”