The American Evaluation Association (AEA)’s 2011 Annual Conference was held in Anaheim, CA this year November 2-5th just a few blocks away from Disney World. So how was it?! Rainy! Well, outside of the rain I was able to meet up with a few of my favorite people, my fellow GEDIs from the Evolution Cohort (AEA internship) and my fellow social work colleagues.
I presented on my volunteer work with the State of Black Gay America (SBGA) Summit evaluation…
Session Title: The Measurement of Issues Affecting the African-American Population: Uncovering the Value
Presentation Title: Creative Interventions: Use of an Evaluation Team to Move the State of Black Gay America (SBGA) Summit Agenda Forward
I also got to meet members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Topical Interest Group (TIG) during my participation in the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) roundtable. That was awesome!!! There were so many rich stories about policy and evaluation and getting past barriers with government and schools systems, very powerful stuff!
Roundtable Title: Moving “The Movement” Forward: Evaluation as a Critical Tool in Furthering the Work of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community and Programs
I posed many questions (i.e. How do I make my sexual identity categories more inclusive on surveys, etc.) The question that led to the biggest take away for me was regarding making my evaluations culturally responsive if I do not have a member of the LGBT community on my evaluation team. Everyone agreed that I pretty much had to be “in it to win it” so my goal for future evaluation activities will be to include more qualitative data collection methods in various settings to assist me with the learning process.
Somewhere in there I managed to co-lead the Social Work TIG business meeting, and what a riveting business meeting it was! The members present agreed that we may be small in number but we are SO LARGE in value to the field of evaluation and to the Association. I hope to provide you with some updates on our progress towards making 2012 our year to shine!
After our business meeting we hung out with the Human Services TIG at Rutabegorz …a local restaurant with 1,000 food options…I’m being so serious! Fun Times!
All in all it was a great trip overall, jet lag and all!