Frequently Asked Questions: Registration and Background

a When may I register for Evaluation 2003?
a How much does it cost to attend Evaluation 2003?
a  What is included in my registration fee?
a  How are professional development sessions different from conference sessions?
a How much does it cost to enroll in a professional development session for 2003?
a  Do I need to sign up for sessions in advance?
a  What is the Presidential Strand?
a  What is the Conference Committee Strand?
a What is a TIG and what do they do?

Frequently Asked Questions: On site at the Annual Conference

a What should I do when I arrive at the conference?
a May I register or make purchases on site?
a How can I meet people?
a What if I have questions during the conference?
a What are those ribbons everyone is wearing?

 Frequently Asked Questions: The Association Itself

a  How long has AEA been around?
a  What is the mission of AEA?
a  Why should I become a member?
a  Where can I turn with professional questions?
a  What is a TIG?
a  What is a Local Affiliate?
a How can I get involved?
a Where should I turn with questions?


Frequently Asked Questions: Registration and Conference Background

When may I register for Evaluation 2003? Registration has begun!. The forms for online registration are posted on this site and the registration forms have been sent via landmail to AEA members. 

How much does it cost to attend Evaluation 2003
? Registration fees are: early conference registrations, completed with full payment received before October 1 - $135 for members, $215 for non-members, and $60 for full-time students. After October 1, the fees rise to $175 for members, $255 for non-members, and $70 for full-time students. Please note that annual membership in AEA is $80 and thus we recommend that non-members consider joining and take advantage of the discounted member rates while receiving member benefits, including AEA's two professional journals, throughout the coming year. There are separate fees for the Friday and Saturday luncheons, and the professional development workshops that precede and follow the conference.

What is included in my registration fee? Standard conference registration includes admission to all of the sessions held after 3:30 pm on Wednesday through 5:00 pm on Saturday with the exception of Friday’s and Saturday's luncheons which require separate tickets. This includes over 390 conference sessions consisting of plenaries with nationally and internationally known speakers, panels, demonstrations, poster sessions, paper sessions, and roundtables. Registration also includes receptions Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, although drinks at the reception are through a cash bar. Meals are not included, but beverages are available in the foyers each morning before and after the plenary and each afternoon before the penultimate session. Your conference registration fee also does NOT include registration for the professional development workshops that precede and follow the conference.

 

How are professional development sessions different from conference sessions? Professional development workshops precede and follow the conference. They are scheduled on Monday, November 3 and Tuesday, November 4, 2003 from 9:00 to 4:00 pm (full day sessions only), on Wednesday, November 5, between 8:00 am and 11:00 am and noon and 3:00 pm, as well as on Sunday, November 9, between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon (half day sessions only). These workshops differ from the ones offered during the conference itself in at least three ways: 1) each is longer (either 3, 6, or 12 hours in length) and thus provides a more in-depth exploration of a skill or area of knowledge, 2) presenters are paid for their time and are expected to have significant experience both presenting and in the subject area, and 3) attendees pay separately for these workshops and are given the opportunity to evaluate the experience.

 

How much does it cost to enroll in a professional development session for 2003? Half-day professional development workshop registration for members is $75, for non-members is $100 and for students is $40. The fee for full-day sessions is double that for half-day sessions. Please register as early as possible as spaces in professional development sessions are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Many sessions will fill during the summer or early autumn.

 

Do I need to sign up for sessions in advance? The professional development workshops that precede and follow the conference require a separate registration and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All other sessions held during the conference are open to all registered attendees. You may attend any session by arriving at the appropriate room before the session begins. We make every effort to ensure that the room size is adequate for the attendance; however, occasionally, a session’s seating will fill. If there is a session that is of the highest priority for you, it is a good idea to arrive at the beginning of the break rather than at the end.

 

What is the Presidential Strand? The Presidential Strand is a set of sessions highlighting the year’s conference theme: Methodology. There is one Strand session during each timeslot, plus plenary, or general sessions, that open the conference as well as first thing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. The plenaries showcase the very best national and international speakers selected especially for their insight into the Strand theme.

 

What is the Conference Committee Strand? The Conference Committee Strand is a set of sessions, one per timeslot whenever there are concurrent sessions, that highlight cross-cutting issues or issues of professional practice.

 

What is a TIG and what do they do? AEA has 32 Topical Interest Groups, or TIGs. One of the major activities of each TIG is to review conference proposals and sponsor conference sessions. Under each session in the program you will see the sponsoring group. Checking the TIG sponsor will give you an idea as to the topical bent of the overall session. Each TIG also holds a business meeting during the conference, and attending one is a great way to connect with others who share your interests and to learn of the TIG’s plans for the coming year. Many TIG members can be identified by ribbons attached to their nametags stating TIG affiliations. Pick up ribbons showing your topical interests when you check in at the registration desk and look for others throughout the conference who share your interests. 


Frequently Asked Questions: On site at the Conference

What should I do when I arrive at the conference? Begin by checking in at the AEA conference registration desk on the conference floor of the Nugget.

May I register or make purchases on site? You may register for the conference, or add to your existing conference registration, on site at the conference registration desk. On-site registrations are processed at the standard registration fee. If possible, consider registering and paying online or via mail by October 1 – the registration fees will be lower. You may enroll in any open professional development sessions, but many will have filled before the conference (in 2002 half of the workshops were closed prior to November 1). Lunch tickets for the Friday awards luncheon are usually available through noon on Thursday. There are a limited number of t-shirts available for on site purchase as well.

How can I meet people? One great way to meet colleagues is to attend the Information Fair and Reception on Wednesday evening and take the opportunity to speak with some of the field’s writers, or attend the Poster Exhibition and Reception on Thursday evening and speak one-on-one with the presenters about their work. Mid-day Friday brings the awards luncheon. Purchase a ticket and sit with colleagues to enjoy a good meal and great company while honoring the best in the field. Friday is topped off by a reception and silent auction hosted by the International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation TIG. Meet attendees from around the world and bid on a range of items from texts to talismans. If you are a student, don’t miss the exclusive student reception with the AEA Board held Thursday evening in the President’s Suite. Ask at the registration desk for the room number. Finally, attending a TIG business meeting will help you to connect with people who share your disciplinary interests.

What if I have questions during the conference? Please feel free to come to the registration desk at any time. We’re happy to answer your questions, give a little advice, or point you in the right direction. When out and about, look for attendees with “Board Member” or "Ambassador" ribbons attached to their nametags. These Association leaders serve you and will be happy to help. Be sure to attend the first time attendee’s orientation session held from 6:10 to 6:40 on Wednesday evening to learn more about the Association and the Conference.

What are those ribbons everyone is wearing? The Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) sponsor ribbons that may be attached to your nametag to indicate your Topical Interests. You need not belong to a particular TIG to select its ribbon to show your interest in its topical area – conversely, you need not wear ribbons from each of the TIGs to which you belong. It is up to you. The ribbons are a great networking tool. They offer a way to ‘break the ice’ and locate others with a common affinity. A few people also have other ribbons to indicate that they are Board members, staff, or volunteer leaders. 


Frequently Asked Questions: The Association Itself

How long has AEA been around? The American Evaluation Association (AEA) came into being in 1986 out of the merger of two existing evaluation groups: The Evaluation Network and the Evaluation Research Society.

What is the mission of AEA? AEA’s mission is to:

* Improve evaluation practice and methods

* Increase evaluation use

* Promote evaluation as a profession, and

* Support the contribution of evaluation to the generation of theory and knowledge about effective human action.

Why should I become a member? Membership in AEA signifies to yourself and to others that you consider yourself an evaluation professional. The Association’s two journals, subscriptions to both of which come with full membership, provide you with up-to-date information on current theory and practice. The American Journal of Evaluation includes articles on topics of current interest, information about upcoming conferences, book reviews, and more. Published quarterly, New Directions for Evaluation focuses on various aspects of a single salient topic with each issue. AEA members receive EvalNews, our electronic newsletter, three times per year (hardcopy is available upon request), plus a member directory and informational materials. Finally, AEA members enjoy considerable discounts on conference and professional development workshop registrations.

Where can I turn with professional questions? EVALTALK is the official listserv of AEA. Subscribers to EVALTALK engage in lively, sometimes heated, usually thought provoking discussions of topics related to evaluation. EVALTALK can be received in real time via ongoing emails throughout the day, or as a digest so that you receive one email each day that includes the indexed, full discussion from the past 24 hours. The AEA office can direct you to information on how to sign on to EVALTALK or check the AEA website at www.eval.org. Another option for your professional questions is to connect with a Topical Interest Group either through attending TIG-sponsored sessions at the annual conference or communicating with the TIG leaders.

What is a TIG? AEA’s 32 Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) span the methodological, disciplinary, and ideological gamut. These subgroups of the Association allow members to connect with others who share their interests as well as provide a forum for sharing knowledge and skills during the annual conference. Some TIGs are very active and produce a newsletter, manage their own website, and solicit and develop special conference sessions. Other TIGs focus primarily on providing reviewers for topical presentations for the annual conference. AEA members may be members in up to five TIGs and may change their TIG choices at any time by contacting the AEA office or making the changes on your membership renewal form.

What is a Local Affiliate? AEA’s Local Affiliates (LAs) are independent associations that provide a regional home to evaluators. You do not need to be a member of AEA to join an Affiliate and you do not need to participate in an Affiliate to be a member of AEA. Affiliates provide their own programming and outreach activities, yet share with AEA a focus on serving evaluators and the evaluation community. A list of local affiliates may be found online at www.eval.org or provided through the AEA office.

How can I get involved? AEA is a professionally run, volunteer lead association. The most obvious way to get involved is to participate: submit a proposal to present at the conference, vote in AEA elections, nominate a colleague for an award. Share your knowledge by submitting an article to The American Journal of Evaluation – manuscript guidelines can be found online or through the AEA office. Become a leader by attending a TIG business meeting at the annual conference, or emailing a TIG leader, and offering your services. TIGs are seeking people to do everything from design websites to write newsletters to review conference proposals.  Go to a local affiliate meeting and make your voice heard about your professional development needs. If you want to influence the actions of the Association, consider running for office on the AEA Board or connecting with an AEA Board member, committee chair, or TIG leader. Only members may serve on the AEA Board or as Topical Interest Group leaders.

Where should I turn with questions? A good place to start is with Susan Kistler or her staff in our AEA office. Susan can answer most administrative, member services, or policy questions and will point you in the right direction for other resources. She has guidelines available for starting a TIG or Affiliate if that should be of interest to you. If you have a concern about the Association or the service that you receive, please connect with the AEA Past-president who serves as Association Ombudsperson. Our current Ombudsperson is Molly Engle (Ombudsperson@kistcon.com).