Canadian Government Executive - Volume 23 - Issue 07

26 / Canadian Government Executive // October 2017 Jacob M. Johann, M.A.P. Wayne MacDonald Rebecca Mellett Association Spotlight Once Hidden: Now Revealed Emerging from obscurity Like many fields, program evaluation has its ebbs and flows. At the moment, there is momentum. This is largely due to the Trea- sury Board of Canada Secretariat 2016 “Policy on Results”, results- based management and the rise of social impact measurement. As a professional discipline, with its agreed upon Standards and Competencies , program evaluation is easy to locate. It may be an explicit function or division within an organization. Or, it can also be an amorphous facet of projects, analyses or planning pro- cesses. Unquestionably, the face of evaluation is multi-disciplin- ary. It relies on multi-method approaches. What differentiates it from research or audit is that it is fastened to a broader system- atic assessment of value; how intentions are played out in reality, which inform future choices. Back in December 2015, Canadian Government Executive Mag- azine showcased “Program Evaluation: The New Generation” (Vol. 21, Issue 10). The issue came at a time when the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) and evaluators everywhere were in the final month of celebrating 2015 as the International Year of Program Evaluation. Today, CES actively involves 1,750 program evaluators from across Canada, including over 300 members who have acquired professional designation as “Credentialed Evalua- tors” (CE). Yet, this is only a modest estimate of the full scope of evaluation talent and expertise available. Like any profession, responding to the external and internal opportunities, program evaluation continues to look ahead. Evaluation trailblazers have long recognized that continuous renewal and capacity building of core competencies are essential to establishing the next co- hort of professionals. Within the evaluation community there is a consensus that to move forward, CES must redouble its efforts to engage, grow and diversify membership, advance profession- alization, and increase the value of evaluation to client-users. This is good news not only for evaluators, but also for readers of this magazine who frequently consume the latest evaluation research and results. What do program evaluators expect? Reinforcing the above trends is a continuing need to stretch and grow as a profession, and the CES as a professional organiza- tion. With this in mind, the first ever General National Survey of CES Membership (2016), attempted to assess CES members’ satisfaction with the variety of professional development, educa- tion and training-related activities, networking events and other CES program and services available at the national and regional levels. The data highlighted specific needs not only of CES mem- bers, but those of other stakeholders. Members’ expectations, concerns and priorities going forward are fundamental to CES’ membership strategy. Infographic 1 – Canadian Evaluation Society - Who We Are Evaluation is the systematic assessment of the design, implementation or results of an initiative for the purposes of learning or decision-making. If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — Canadian Evaluation Society working definition (2016) Infographic 1 Canadian Evaluation Society - Who We Are