Speaking Truth to Power - and Evaluation: Brief Reflections on the 2018 AEA National Conference

Each year, the American Evaluation Association’s annual conference theme is chosen by the current AEA President. This year it was Dr. Leslie Goodyear who has a long and deep commitment to equity and justice both personally and professionally. The theme Speaking Truth to Power means different things to different people, based on positional authority, identities, professional training, etc.

For us evaluators, in full transparency, it is something we need to think more about. Evaluators have a tremendous amount of power as our work is that of judgment and valuing. We need to do a much better job of naming the belief systems which our work privileges, whose knowledge matters most, and why at the end of the day, we do this work at all.

Last week in Cleveland, evaluators from across the globe explored the theme in many different ways. It was refreshing, relevant and in some cases revolutionary.  The Presidential Strand sessions are blind selected and chosen for greatest alignment with theme and contribution to evaluative practice. EEI made the cut: current Practice Partners Oregon Community Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation and The Kresge Foundation along with Sierra Health Foundation shared how they were rethinking power in relationship to evaluative practice.

To see all those in the Presidential Strand, search for “Presidential Strand” under the track name here.