The 2016-2017 CES Annual Report is available for download. The report from the President outlines the extent and depth of CES' accomplishments over the past 10 months.
The year 2016-2017 has been an exciting year for CES. I became your President in July of 2016 and participated in the St. John’s annual conference as a President-in-waiting. It was a quick immersion in the affairs of the Society and an indication of how busy the job as President is. I quickly learned that the affairs of CES will take as much time as the President and Board care to give.
I want to highlight a few key themes of 2016-2017. One fundamental thread is that the Canadian Evaluation Society would not be the strong professional association that it is without the amazing dedication of an army of volunteers who believe that we are collectively doing something important. I was pleased to join a Board of Directors where the executive and members at large were strongly committed to the delivery of professional services through the several committees, the Board as a whole and specific activities of the society. Below I will refer to a few of the initiatives including the developing e-Institute, the Credentialing initiative, policy development, communications and publicity, and the organization of the national conference, a herculean evaluation community activity on its own.
On a day to day basis you can’t forget the Past President’s work in international evaluation and the day to day efforts of the Secretary, and Treasurer. Allow me to mention members of the Board of Directors, members of Board working groups (including the Credentialing Board, the International Working Group, the Sponsorship Working Group, the Diversity Working Group, the Survey Working Group, and the Web team). Equal mention goes to Presidents of Chapters and members of Chapter Boards, annual Conference host committee members, webinar presenters, and individual volunteers supporting specific activities which are all essential to help keep our organization going. Hundreds of individuals who commit their time to the promotion and the improvement of evaluation in Canada are the basis of our success and they can count on our highly committed staff: special thanks to Lynn Burgess, and Bonnie James, Nanci Lines and Marie Josée and the rest of the team at Megram Consulting Services, and to Rebecca Mellett, CES’ formidable Executive Director.
The e-Institute has been launched and will fill an important niche for online professional development. Three courses are in a trial phase with pilot testers who will provide feedback on the courses. These courses have been developed by evaluation professionals and reviewed by teams of experts in the particular field covered by the course. A full online platform has been developed, and while the catalogue is modest for now, it will and can grow exponentially as the possibilities for CES and partners are almost endless. CES’ commitment to top quality content and current topics is informed by member interests. More details will be announced at the full launch at Vancouver.
Our goal is to have the best possible evaluation training experience possible through an on-line platform. We look forward to hearing from you with respect to your needs and our offerings.
Professional development is the mainstay of the Society. This is reflected in our e-Institute, courses offered by the Chapters and the Credentialed Evaluators (CE) initiative. Gail Barrington, with the help of our Secretariat and our ED has lead this initiative. Gail and her committee are currently working on a revision of the competencies that are at the core of the CE program. CES’s status in this area is well known and I was asked to speak to the Europeans and the Americans on the professionalization of evaluation in Canada and the CE initiative. There is lots of interest out there so consider making this the year you become a CE!
Our Governance and Policy Process has continued to put in place guidelines for CES to facilitate the systematic organization and delivery of our programs. I have recently reviewed policies developed by this committee on the handling of complaints and our lobbying efforts. In this age of data privacy and confidentiality, the safeguarding of your personal information stored on various servers is a major concern. We have recently embarked on a comprehensive review of this issue for CES and our chapters.
In terms of communication and promotion of CES, I work closely with the Board, Chapter Presidents and the Executive Director on opportunities for outreach and advocacy of evaluation. I met many CES-Ontario members on the side of Board meetings which were held in Toronto last fall. I participated in the Ontario and Alberta-NWT Chapter AGMs, and am looking forward to meeting the Saskatchewan Chapter soon. I have travelled to Ottawa, Maastrich and Atlanta on your behalf. On these trips I was impressed by the role of CES on the global evaluation stage. Canadian evaluators are well known for their competence and international engagement. Evaluation plays an important role in Canada in government, non-government and private sector organizations. The new fee structure was an important change to open up opportunities for not-for-profit evaluators and those from the global south to participate as members in the Society, contributing important perspectives and experience to our community of practice.
My international interests have been supported by the past president Benoît Gauthier. Through our Past President, we have maintained an active international presence at the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation and EvalPartners (which also has its secretariat based at Meagram in Renfrew, ON). Benoît was very active in the international arena attending several conferences and co-chairing in one case.
The planning of the Vancouver conference has been a large undertaking with very active co-chairs (Sarah Farina and Chris Lovato), a program committee, volunteer coordinators and a professional conference organizer. Many of you helped review a record number of papers submitted for presentation at the conference. Workshops have been organized and are being presented under the able direction of volunteers from the west coast. Hotels have been made available for delegates and presentation rooms coordinated. A full social program has been planned for beautiful Vancouver.
It has been a busy and rewarding 10 months. I am pleased to have been selected to represent you and look forward to meeting you in Vancouver.
Harry Cummings, Ph.D., RPP