Last Updated: October, 2011

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January 2011    November 2010    July 2010    February 2010    November 2009    

The following represent the Board-level policies of the association. Current status:

Note that the most recent changes appear highlighted in yellow.


The American Evaluation Association seeks to act in ways that embody our mission, vision, and values in pursuit of our defined policies and goals.

MISSION: The American Evaluation Association’s mission is to improve evaluation practices 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.

VISION: The American Evaluation Association’s vision is to foster an inclusive, diverse, and international community of practice positioned as a respected source of information for and about the field of evaluation.

VALUES: The American Evaluation Association values excellence in evaluation practice, utilization of evaluation findings, and inclusion and diversity in the evaluation community.

  1. We value high quality, ethically defensible, culturally responsive evaluation practices that lead to effective and humane organizations and ultimately to the enhancement of the public good.

  2. We value high quality, ethically defensible, culturally responsive evaluation practices that contribute to decision-making processes, program improvement, and policy formulation.

  3. We value a global and international evaluation community and understanding of evaluation practices.

  4. We value the continual development of evaluation professionals and the development of evaluators from under-represented groups.

  5. We value inclusiveness and diversity, welcoming members at any point in their career, from any context, and representing a range of thought and approaches.

  6. We value efficient, effective, responsive, transparent, and socially responsible association operations.

I. GOALS POLICIES - As amended, January 2011:

1. Evaluators: AEA will provide and increase access to resources, and contribute to communities, that enable and support evaluators to:

A. become knowledgeable, effective, culturally competent, and ethical professionals;

i. provide resources that support rigorous education regarding history, methods, and theories of evaluation

ii. provide resources for teaching evaluation standards, ethics and culturally responsive practices

B. use a multicultural lens to inspire excellence and rigor in evaluation theories, methods, applications, and practices, specifically to:

i. expand our understanding of multiculturalism and enhance our ability to confront oppression in various forms.

ii. promote international solidarity among evaluators and openness to additional diverse social, cognitive, and political perspectives that can influence how we think about and practice evaluation.

C. develop, disseminate, and transfer knowledge about evaluation;

D. engage diverse communities in evaluation practice;

E. use culturally responsive evaluation models to contribute to inclusiveness in society and to enhance social justice and equity for persons of color and others from underrepresented groups;

F. contribute to building evaluation capacity within the communities and organizations in which they work;

G. facilitate meaningful feedback mechanisms from evaluation consumers/public at all stages of evaluation;

H. engage in the field and profession of evaluation and in the life of the association;

I. engage in other fields and associations that are related to or aligned with the field of evaluation;


Specifically, AEA has taken steps towards achieving the above Goals Policies through the following activities and programs:

1.1. Annual Conference: AEA will have an Annual Conference

1.1.1 Content for the Annual Conference is primarily identified through a member-driven peer-review process

1.1.2 Content for the Annual Conference is also identified by the President or her or his Designee for a thematically-focused Presidential Strand

1.2. Awards: AEA will have an Awards Program

1.2.1 The AEA Awards Program will recognize excellence in the field of evaluation.

1.3. Diversity Focused Programs: AEA will offer diversity-focused programs and services

1.3.1 AEA’s diversity-focused programs will be aimed at expanding the diversity of the membership and of those practicing and teaching in the field.

1.3.2 AEA will offer a Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program

1.3.3 AEA will offer a range of other diversity-focused programs for students and professionals

1.4 Internationally Focused Programs: AEA will internationally-focused programs and services

1.4.1 AEA’s internationally-focused programs will be aimed at supporting our international members, evaluators working in international contexts, AEA’s networking with other associations, and the field as it expands internationally

1.4.2 AEA will designate a representative to a major international organization

1.4.3 AEA will offer a joint membership program with the Canadian Evaluation Society

1.4.4 AEA will offer a range of other internationally-focused programs

1.5 Journals and Peer-Reviewed Content: AEA will offer peer-reviewed content

1.5.1 AEA will offer New Directions for Evaluation as part of membership

1.5.2 AEA will offer the American Journal of Evaluation as part of membership

1.5.3 AEA will select journal editors: AEA journal editors will be nominated by an ad hoc task force convened by the AEA Board of Directors that represents a range of methodological and philosophical perspectives regarding evaluation.

  • The AJE nominating task force will begin no later than 12 months prior to the end of the current editor's term.

  • The NDE nominating task force will begin no later than 18 months prior to the end of the current editor's term. The editors nominating task force will solicit nominations, review nominations, interview nominees, and identify a single nominee for recommendation to the Board. The search process will include efforts to identify a range of diverse candidates (in accordance with AEA's values, by-laws, and policies). Criteria for nominees will include: membership in AEA for at least three years, demonstrated commitment to AEA values, and a track record of publishing in peer reviewed journals. Preferred characteristics include previous editorial experience. The task force will forward its nomination to the Board along with a brief explanation of their recruitment and selection process and reason for recommending this nominee. The Board will make the final appointment.

1.5.4 AEA will take a variety of approaches to increasing access to other peer-reviewed content.

1.6 Practitioner-focused content: AEA will offer practitioner-focused content

1.6.1 AEA will offer association-sponsored publications with practitioner-focused content

1.6.2 AEA will increase access to other materials including electronic resources for evaluation practitioners

1.7 Professional Development: AEA will offer professional development

1.7.1 AEA will offer professional development workshops as part of the annual conference,

1.7.2 AEA will offer an Evaluation Institute

1.7.3 AEA will offer a range of other professional development opportunities.

1.8 Standards and Principles for the Field: AEA will serve as a leader in the setting and vetting of Standards and Principles for the field

1.8.1 AEA will develop and maintain Guiding Principles for Evaluators Maintenance of the Guiding Principles will include a periodic review. The review process will be initiated at least every five years from the time of the publishing of the final report of the previous Review of the Guiding Principles. The review process will ensure that the Guiding Principles continue to support appropriate, effective, and ethical evaluator decision-making; and are adapted to address and reflect on-going developments in the field. The review process will cultivate stakeholder awareness and commitment to the Guiding Principles; and increase ownership and use of the principles by the AEA membership.

1.8.2 AEA will send a Representative to the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (JCES)

1.8.3 AEA will be involved in the vetting process for new standards in the field

1.8.4 AEA will also support other programs that promote and advance ethical practice in the field.

2. Evaluation Users: AEA will provide and increase access to resources, and contribute to communities, that enable/support evaluation users to:

A. have an appropriate knowledge about multiple ways of doing and using evaluation;

B. hold positive and realistic views about the role evaluation can play;

C. make evaluation a standard practice in their organization’s operations;

D. be sensitive to the ethical issues that are involved in the doing and using of evaluation.


Specifically, AEA has taken steps towards achieving the above Goals Policies through the following activities and programs:

2.1 Influencing of Evaluation Policy: AEA will strive to influence the setting and use of evaluation policy

2.1.1 AEA will strive to influence United States federal evaluation policy AEA will strive to do this primarily through outreach via a paid consultant Guidance and direction for the consultant will come through a Task Force of the Board of Directors The consultant and guiding Task Force may advocate, in relation to the U.S. federal sector, on behalf of the association for the following items in these or analogous terms:

  • A broader and more routine application of evaluation requirements to public programs generally;

  • The assurance of adequate and consistent funding for evaluation over time and across subject areas;

  • The flexible targeting of the size and scope of evaluations to the context, specific policy questions, and individual stage of development within the lifespan of a particular program;

  • A clearer understanding of the need for evaluation not only to determine whether a program is promising, but also to determine the criteria for scaling up or transferring a promising program to new and different locations or contexts;

  • More consistent use of qualified, experienced evaluators for both the performance of evaluations and the planning and application of evaluation policy;

  • The more frequent provision, by evaluators and agencies, of evaluation designs in which the major rationale for the choice of methods lies in their appropriateness for answering the policy questions posed;

  • Stronger support for the independence of the evaluation process as a whole, and of the evaluators conducting it; and

  • A greater commitment to the transparency and use of the evaluation results.

2.1.2 AEA will work to influence evaluation policy more generally through other activities

3. Public: AEA will provide and increase access to resources so that the public will:

A. be more aware of the concept of evaluation;

B. understand and appreciate the value of evaluation;

C. expect and demand evaluation;

D. use evaluation appropriately.


Specifically, AEA has taken steps towards achieving the above Goals Policies through the following activities and programs:

3.1 Public Statements: AEA will issue public statements on issues of importance to the field

3.1.1 AEA public statements will be member-developed

3.1.2 AEA public statements will be member-approved

3.2 Public Presence: AEA will project a public presence by having association officials and/or appointed designees represent us at select meetings and conferences.

4. Organization: AEA will contribute to society through:

A. building and sustaining a respectful, welcoming, inclusive, fun community;

B. acting, and encouraging members, partners, and vendors to act, in a socially responsible manner;

C. collaborating with actors that align with its values towards the furtherance of the evaluation profession.

D. becoming known as a professional organization that is exemplary in its strategic, operational, and normative commitments to diversity and multiculturalism through:

i. adopting a broad commitment to multiculturalism and promoting the practice of applying a multicultural lens to every aspect of the association;

ii. promoting justice and excellence by committing to reach out to people of color and others from underrepresented groups and to maintain organizational openness and acceptance for all evaluators within the association;

iii. fostering and regularly evaluating representation from multicultural groups across the spectrum of AEA leadership positions, both elected and appointed, and requiring that all task forces, committees, and groups within the organization demonstrate a commitment to multiculturalism.

Specifically, AEA has taken steps towards achieving the above Goals Policies through the following activities and programs:

4.1 Community and Member Engagement: AEA will engage its members through a variety of mechanisms

4.1.1 AEA will have Topical Interest Groups AEA members may belong to up to five TIGs at no additional cost as part of their AEA membership. AEA will place no limit on the total number of TIGs recognized by the association TIGs cannot collect dues independently of AEA Those wishing to become a TIG will submit a petition to the Board, indicating:

  • the TIG’s purpose and rationale/need for the TIG target populations

  • organizers/conveners

  • planned activities

  • starting chair and program chair

  • evidence that the proposed topic is not adequately addressed by the existing TIGs

  • the signatures of at least 20 AEA members who wish to become members of the new TIG The Board will approve new TIGs based on review of the TIG proposal In order to maintain TIG status, each TIG will:

  • Hold an annual business meeting at the AEA Conference or via some alternative means

  • Elect a Chair and Program Chair, each to serve no more than three years

  • Maintain membership of at least 25 members

  • Review proposals for the annual meeting

  • Submit an annual progress report If a TIG fails to meet the above maintenance expectations for two consecutive years, the TIG will be sunsetted

4.1.2 AEA will have structured member involvement outreach

4.1.3 AEA will undertake a range of community-building and member-involvement efforts.

4.2 Communications and Website: AEA will develop and maintain multiple communications vehicles and materials that allow AEA to pursue its Goals Policies

4.2.1 AEA will have an extensive website

4.2.2 AEA will have a field-wide discussion list

4.2.3 AEA will have other communications vehicles and materials

4.3 Local Affiliates. AEA will value and actively support Local Affiliates within the scope of the goals policies detailed below.

4.3.1 Formation of Local Affiliates. Any group of AEA members that has convened, reached out to others in its catchment area, has goals and values compatible with the goals and values of AEA, and functions as a professional development and networking entity can petition to become a Local Affiliate. Typically a new Local Affiliate would be in a region where one does not exist. If a new Local Affiliate has an overlapping region with an existing Local Affiliate, the relationship between the overlapping entities needs to be explained and justification given for a new Local Affiliate. There is no particular organizational structure required to be a Local Affiliate, other than a clearly indicated point of contact and open membership for all those who share its goals and pay dues if appropriate. The Board approves an organization as a Local Affiliate. An organization can apply to be an AEA Local Affiliate at any time during the year.

4.3.2 Membership in Local Affiliates. A Local Affiliate establishes its own criteria for membership. Local Affiliate members need not be AEA members.

4.3.3 Legal and Financial Connections. Local Affiliates are 100% stand-alone organizations. There are no legal or financial ties to AEA, and such Local Affiliate tasks as setting and collecting dues, maintaining finances and data, and monetary flows are all completely separate from AEA.

4.3.4 Renewal of Local Affiliate Status. Local Affiliate status will be reviewed by the Board based on each Local Affiliate’s annual self-evaluation and a report from the AEA Executive Director.

5. Priority areas for the Association Management Company for FY2012 (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) will be as follows:

A. Priority: A priority for new efforts will be outreach to evaluation users and the public to increase the value of evaluation to society at a budgetary allocation of up to a total of $50,000 across FY2011 and FY2012.

B. Priority: A priority for new efforts will be 1a-f, engage diverse communities in evaluation practice and contribute to inclusiveness and diversity through evaluation, through engaging the board, committees, broader membership, and staff taking into consideration the report from the multicultural task force at a budgetary allocation of up to $40,000 across FY2011 and FY2012.

C. Priority: A priority for new efforts will be strengthening our organizational goal (4A) by actively building bridges across methodological divides and advancing methodological pluralism within AEA at a budgetary allocation of up to $5,000 across FY2012 and FY2013.


1. GLOBAL EXECUTIVE CONSTRAINT: The Executive Director (ED) shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision, or organizational circumstance that is unlawful; in violation of commonly accepted business and professional ethics or that endangers the association’s nonprofit status; or is in conflict with the association’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Limitations on the actions of the Executive Director with regard to any policies may be waived in specific instances by a vote of the majority of the Board.

A. FINANCIAL PLANNING: Financial planning for any fiscal year or the remaining part of any fiscal year shall not deviate materially from the Board’s Goals Policies, risk fiscal jeopardy, or fail to be derived from a multi-year plan.

i. The ED shall not plan in a manner that fails to include credible projection of revenues and expenses, cash flow, and disclosure of planning assumptions.

ii. The ED shall not plan for less than a ratio of 1:1 income to expenditures for the overall recurring (schedule I) budget within any given fiscal year.

B. ACTUAL FINANCIAL CONDITION AND ACTIVITIES: With respect to the actual, ongoing financial condition and activities, the Executive Director shall not cause or allow the development of fiscal jeopardy or a material deviation of actual expenditures from Board priorities established in Goals Policies.

i. The ED shall not make a single purchase of greater than $200,000 for events or $50,000 for all other activities without the approval of the Treasurer or President.

ii. The ED shall not commit the association for multiple years for obligations in excess of 3% of the currently available (operating plus general) reserves without the approval of the Board, except as explicitly stipulated in the Goals Policies.

iii. The ED shall not allow to be spent for Schedule I & II combined net revenue less expenditures nonrecurring (schedule II) items more than 20% of the general reserve within a given fiscal year as identified at the beginning of the fiscal year nor allow the general reserve to fall below 25% of the operating reserve at any time without notifying the Board and identifying whether the Board wishes (a) to allow for fee increases in subsequent years, or (b) to change Goals Policies in subsequent years.

iv. Introduction and removal of revenue and expenditure items on Schedules I and II.

a. New programs and initiatives must be trialed first on Schedule II.

b. Neither expenditure nor revenue items may be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II.

c. No expenditure item and no revenue item may remain on Schedule II for more than three years, except those that represent ‘pass throughs’ of funds.

d. New expenditures may not be added to either Schedule I or Schedule II without Board approval if they are in excess of 5% of the previous year’s schedule I budget.

v. The Executive Director shall not neglect to present Schedule I and Schedule II together as “The Whole Budget” any time the budget is discussed.

vi. The Executive Director shall not commence expenditures during a fiscal year without Board approval of the budget for that fiscal year, with the exception of pre-approved pre-payments.

vii. The Executive Director shall not fail to provide the Treasurer a complete draft budget for the following fiscal year no later than three months prior to the start of that fiscal year.

C. EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COVERAGE: In order to protect the Board from sudden loss of ED services, the ED will not fail to provide a written emergency plan and identify one or more other persons who would be able to step-in in case of emergency. Any person who assumes the position/or any responsibilities of the ED will be held accountable to the Board under all applicable policies.

D. DECISION MAKING: The ED shall not develop or implement programs, initiatives, or policies, without weighing (a) alignment with the association’s mission, vision, values, and goals, (b) input from the board, (c) input from members and relevant member groups (e.g. TIGs, relevant task forces), (d) evaluative data, and (e) short- and long-term ramifications. The ED shall not implement new programs, initiatives, or policies without first informing the Board about the AMC’s plans. If a majority of the Board does not believe that the plans are a reasonable interpretation of Board policy, the ED shall not implement the plans without reconsideration of Board policy.

E. ASSET PROTECTION: The ED shall not allow association assets to be unprotected, inadequately maintained or unnecessarily risked. The ED shall not:

i. Fail to insure against liability losses to Board members and the organization itself in an amount no less than the average for comparable organizations.

ii. Pay for any significant amount of products, services, or contract or project staffing, at rates higher than average rates paid for or by relevant comparables.

iii. Fail to protect intellectual property, information (including member databases) and files from loss or significant damage nor breaches of confidentiality.

F. COMMUNICATION TO THE BOARD: The ED shall not withhold information or misinform the Board.

G. TREATMENT OF MEMBERS: With respect to interactions with members or those applying to be members, the ED shall not cause or allow conditions, procedures, or decisions that are unsafe, untimely, undignified, unethical, or unnecessarily intrusive. Further, without limiting the scope of the foregoing by this enumeration, the ED shall not:

i. Elicit information for which there is no clear necessity.

ii. Use methods of collecting, reviewing, transmitting, or storing client or member information that fail to protect against improper access to the material elicited.

iii. Fail to establish with members a clear understanding of what may be expected and what may not be expected from the service offered, and the opportunities available to them.

iv. Fail to inform members of this policy or to provide a way to be heard for persons who believe they have not been accorded a reasonable interpretation of their protections under this policy.

v. Fail to incorporate the association’s values as a key consideration throughout the process of identifying operational volunteers.

H. TREATMENT OF VOLUNTEERS and CONTRACTORS: With respect to the treatment of volunteers or contractors, the ED shall not cause or allow conditions that are unfair, undignified, or unethical.

IIII. DELEGATION POLICIES - As amended January 2011:

1. GLOBAL DELEGATION POLICY: The Board’s official connection to the operational organization, its achievements and conduct will be through the Executive Director (ED).

2. UNITY OF CONTROL: Only officially passed policies of the Board are binding on the ED.

A. Decisions or instructions of individual Board members, officers, or committees are not binding on the Executive Director except in rare instances when the Board has specifically authorized such authority.

B. In the case of Board members or committees requesting information or assistance without Board authorization, the ED can refuse such requests that require, in the ED’s opinion, a material amount of staff time or funds or are disruptive to carrying out operations.

C. The ED will develop and maintain operational policies as needed to carry out the business of the association. These must be differentiated from Board policies. The operational policies will guide the work; the Board policies guide decision-making, priority setting, monitoring and evaluation.

3. ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The ED is the Board’s only link to operational achievement and conduct, so that all authority and accountability of staff, as far as the Board is concerned, is considered the authority and accountability of the ED; consequently, the Board will view ED performance as identical to operational performance, so that reasonable progress towards Board stated Goals and adherence to Executive Limitations policies will be viewed as successful ED performance.

4. DELEGATION TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The Board will instruct the ED through written policies which prescribe the organizational Goals to be achieved, and describe organizational situations and actions to be avoided, allowing the ED to use any reasonable interpretation of these policies.

A. The Board will develop policies instructing the ED to achieve specified results, for specified recipients at a specified priority or cost. In the absence of specifying a priority or cost, the ED may use any reasonable assumption of the appropriate allocation of resources within the restrictions identified in the Executive Limitations Policies. These policies will be developed systematically from the most general level to more defined levels, and will be called Goals policies.

B. The Board will develop policies that limit the latitude the ED may exercise in choosing the organizational means. These policies will be developed systematically from the broadest, most general level to more defined levels, and they will be called Executive Limitations policies.

C. As long as the Executive Director uses any reasonable interpretation of the Board’s Goals and Executive Limitations policies, the ED is authorized to make all decisions, take all actions, establish all practices and develop all programs. Such decisions of the ED shall have full force and authority as if decided by the Board.

D. The Board expects the ED to maintain and improve upon the existing baseline activities of the association as defined by the specific examples provided within the Goals Policy.

E. Within resources available, the Board expects the ED to develop and trial new programs in pursuit of the Goals Policies within the constraints defined under the Executive Limitations Policies.

F. The Board may change its Goals and Executive Limitations policies, thereby shifting the boundary between Board and ED domains. By doing so, the Board changes the latitude of choice given to the ED. But as long as any particular delegation is in place, the Board will respect and support the ED’s choices.

G. Evaluation for monitoring: Monitoring will enable the Board, other association leadership groups, and the Association Management Company (AMC) to assess the quality and effectiveness of association programs and activities, in terms of their design (e.g., efficiency, relevance, reach); implementation (e.g., usage); and short-term outcomes. Monitoring responsibilities are delegated to the AMC for use in ongoing administrative management and decision making regarding association programs and activities. Monitoring data will be collected according to the discretion of the Executive Director or by request of the Board, and in order to fulfill the following reporting responsibilities of the AMC:

i. The Executive Director will gather monitoring data on all startup programs while in their trial phase and all major association programs within the full annual cycle, as well as on other programs and association activities as deemed relevant by the Executive Director or as requested by the Board. A definition of a major program is one that meets any of the following three criteria: (a) involves more than $20,000 in annual expenditures; (b) has likely political ramifications and has come under publicly voiced criticism with founded concern, or has been recommended by the Board for additional monitoring; and (c) the Executive Director intends to cut the program based on existing monitoring/evaluation data regardless of its cost.

ii. Monitoring data on association programs will regularly include member input and the input of appropriate association leadership groups (e.g., Priority Area Teams (PATs), Task Forces, Topical Interest Groups (TIGs)), as deemed relevant by the Executive Director or as requested by the Board.

iii. Monitoring data will be shared with members, PATs, the Board, and other association groups, as deemed relevant and appropriate by the Executive Director or as requested by the Board.

iv. As appropriate, monitoring data will include information on the connections between the program being evaluated and the association’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

5. MONITORING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PERFORMANCE: Systematic and rigorous monitoring of Executive Director job performance will be solely against the only expected ED job outputs: progress towards the general Goals Policies and execution of the major activities noted in the Goals Policies within the boundaries established in Executive Limitation policies on Executive Limitations.

A. Monitoring is to determine the degree to which Board policies are being met. Data that does not do this will not be considered to be monitoring data.

B. The Board will acquire monitoring data by any of a number of methods, including: (a) by internal report of the ED, (b) the independent report of the volunteers serving under the ED, (c) by external report, in which an external, disinterested third party selected by the Board assesses compliance with Board policies, (d) by direct Board inspection, in which a designated member or members of the Board assess compliance with the appropriate policy criteria.

C. In every case, the standard for performance shall be any reasonable ED interpretation of the Board policy being monitored. The Board is final arbiter of reasonableness, but will always judge with a “reasonable person” test.

D. All Executive Limitations policy violations will be noted and, if there are no mitigating circumstances, will contribute to a negative appraisal of the ED’s performance. The Board will however view violations of financial policies as especially serious.

6. ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT COMPANY (AMC) CONTRACT: The Board will hold a contract with the AMC and the ED and Board will be bound by that contract and the contract will stipulate adherence to these policies.

A. AMC contract shall be reviewed by the following:

i. The Executive Committee (EC) shall have the responsibility to review and discuss the existing contract, including any future amendments or additions to the existing contract as presented in the renewal contract process, for presentation to the Finance Priority Area Team;

ii. The Finance Priority Area Team shall review all fiscal matters pertaining to the AMC contract and raise questions to the EC and AMC as deemed appropriate in preparation for presentation to the Board;

iii. The Association’s lawyer shall review all legal matters prior to presentation to the Board;

iv. The Board will review and discuss for vote to renew (or not).

B. The timeline for the review of the AMC contract shall be as follows:

i. The review will begin 18 months in advance of the contract expiry date;

ii. The EC’s review will be completed for presentation to the Board within six months from the start date of the review.

iii. The Board will make a final decision regarding the contract within three months of receiving the report from the EC.

IV. GOVERNANCE POLICIES – As amended January 2011:

1. BOARD of DIRECTORS: AEA will be governed by a Board of Directors, elected to represent the organization as a whole, that sets and refines policy, evaluates progress towards policies, engages members, and is selected through a careful and systematic nominations and elections process.

A. The Board will consider and vote on the budget as forwarded from the Treasurer, no later than one month prior to the start of the fiscal year.

2. GLOBAL GOVERNANCE LIMITATIONS: The Board shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision, or organizational circumstance that is unlawful; in violation of commonly accepted business and professional ethics; endangers the association’s nonprofit status; or is in conflict with the association’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

3. GLOBAL GOVERNANCE-MEMBER CONNECTION: The Board serves the organization membership. It draws its authority from and is accountable to the members. As such, its role is that of servant-leader to and for that group.

A. MEMBER INPUT: The Board will gather input from members, employing a variety of mechanisms, as needed to understand the membership’s needs and priorities.
B. ACCOUNTABILITY TO MEMBERS: The Board will ensure that members are informed about Board decisions and actions.

4. GLOBAL GOVERNANCE-MANAGEMENT CONNECTION: The Board’s official connection to the operational organization, its achievements and conduct will be through the Executive Director (ED).

5. AGENDA PLANNING: The Board will follow an annual agenda which (a) annually completes a review of all Board policies for relevance to current issues in the discipline and in society, responsiveness to membership interests, and other criteria as appropriate, (b) monitors ED performance on reasonable progress towards Goals, and (c) continually improves Board performance through Board education and enriched input and deliberation.

A. Time will be set aside at each Board meeting for consideration of policy changes, introduction of new policies, and review of outstanding policy issues.

B. The Board will utilize evaluation data in its responsibility to regularly review policy.

6. EVALUATION: The Board and the Association Management Company (AMC) will use high-quality evaluation processes to ensure that AEA operations and governance are well designed, well implemented, effective and efficient. Evaluation in AEA has three functions. First, evaluation for monitoring purposes involves ongoing, routine processes of gathering and analyzing data about the quality of the design, implementation / usage, and short-term outputs and outcomes of association programs and activities for use in administrative improvement and decision making about the designated evaluands. Second, evaluation will assess progress toward fulfillment of AEA’s overall goals including programs and initiatives. Third, evaluation will determine the quality and effectiveness of association governance.

A. All association evaluation work will be conducted in accordance with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.

B. Evaluation of progress toward association goals: This function will include evaluation of both issues and programs.

i. Each year, the Board, with input from other association groups and from members, will determine which issues merit evaluation in service of assessing progress toward association goals based on: (1) currency of issues involved, (2) adequacy of existing data that bear on the issue, (3) the financial, and human resources implications of the issue; (4) cost of evaluation needed, and (5) the recommendations of the Executive Director. In service of this function, evaluation will focus on high impact, high visibility, systemic, and cross-cutting issues that are directly relevant to association goals. These issues may be enacted in programs, in other initiatives within the association, or in multiple strands of the association’s organization, programs, and activities.

ii. Each year, the Board, with input from other association groups and from members, will also determine which association programs merit evaluation studies based on: (1) the centrality of the program to the association’s mission, vision, and goals; (2) the financial, and human resources cost of the program; (3) the cost of an evaluation of the program; (4) the need for information to inform the decision about continuation or sustainability of the program; (5) the interest in or demand by members for data on a particular program; and (6) the recommendations of the Executive Director.

iii. Once the Board has identified issues and/or programs as evaluation targets, the Board will establish the purpose and key evaluation questions and refer these to a Board Task Force comprised of Board members for each evaluation. The Board Task Force will employ a Board-approved evaluation brief template to prepare a brief for the Board. The Board will review and approve the brief.

iv. The Board Task Force will convene an Evaluation Task Force to oversee the evaluation process and will serve as the liaison between the Evaluation Task Force and the Board.

v. As possible and without conflict of interest, all association evaluations will be conducted by association members through a volunteer or an open and transparent contracting process.

vi. Evaluation of new initiatives: All major Schedule 2 programs and initiatives will include an evaluation plan and budget with a timeline that will provide findings in time to inform a decision about whether or not to move the initiative to Schedule 1, and to record learnings. The scale of the evaluation plan should be commensurate with the size of the investment, the risks involved, and the relevance of learnings from this initiative for future policy and operational decisions.

C. Evaluation of association governance: Based on member and board input, the Board will determine annually if evaluation is needed of any aspect of governance.

i. Once the need for evaluation is identified, the criteria for judging the quality and effectiveness of association governance include: the extent and depth of member involvement in association business; the extent to which members involved well represent the full diversity of the association’s membership; the extent and character of member satisfaction with their opportunities to provide input and be consulted; the extent and character of the Board’s ability to focus on policy; the workability of existing policies; efficient and effective use of resources; and the extent to which the association is accomplishing its goals and is advancing evaluation’s contributions to society.

D. The results of evaluation that is undertaken to inform the Board will be disseminated widely to the membership, within parameters of confidentiality and propriety. Major evaluation results will also be disseminated to a broad range of AEA stakeholders on an annual basis, at minimum, as determined by the Board with member input.

i. The Board will use the findings from evaluation to learn what is going well, what is not, and how the Board and the Executive Director can make improvements in governance and operations, as well as policy making and strategic planning.

ii. The Board will also use the findings from evaluation activities to demonstrate accountability to members.

7. BOARD PLANNING AND PRIORITY SETTING CYCLE: The Board will plan and budget on a cycle that takes account of the fiscal year and the rotation of Board members.

A. The Board will identify its annual priorities during the first quarter of each calendar year in order to prepare for a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30.

B. Guided by the Treasurer, and informed by discussion with the Executive Director, during the first quarter of each calendar year, the Board will establish a Board budget for its own activities (e.g. Board meetings, auditing, Board training, evaluation) to be included within the overall Schedule I budget for the coming fiscal year.

8. BOARD BUDGET: Guided by the Treasurer, and informed by discussion with the ED, the Board will establish a budget within Schedule I each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) for its own activities (e.g. Board meetings, auditing, Board training, evaluation of the Board and Association).

9. PRESIDENT’S ROLE: The President, a specially empowered member of the Board, assures the integrity of the Board's process and sets the agenda at each meeting consistent with the Board’s annual agenda, with input from the Board members, and chairs the meeting.

A. CHIEF EXECUTIVE: The President is the Chief Executive Officer of the association with the following roles and responsibilities:

i. The President is the public face of AEA.

ii. The President sets the Presidential Theme for the annual meeting.

iii. The President Chairs the Executive Committee.

iv. The President addresses emergency issues working along with the Executive Director.

v. The President is the primary association official with direct responsibility for managing the Association's relationship with the Executive Director.

a. The President is the association official who signs the AMC contract on behalf of the Board.

b. The President is responsible for assuring that the Board reviews the performance of the Executive Director and the association’s operations.

vi. The President Chairs the Board of Directors’ meetings with the following roles and responsibilities:

a. The President is responsible for setting the agenda for Board meetings with consultation and input from the Board.

b. The President presides over Board meetings and enforces procedures and processes that assure the meetings proceed in a collegial and business-like fashion (using a form of Robert’s Rules of Order as a guideline).

c. The President is responsible for assuring that any Board Task Forces, Committees, or Groupings, or other volunteers who work on behalf of the Board, have adequate direction from the Board.

d. The President is responsible for assuring that the Board provides adequate training and orientation of new and returning Board members.

vii. The President Chairs the AEA Annual Business meeting with the following roles and responsibilities:

a. Ensuring that a report is made regarding the status of the association;

b. Ensuring that a report is made regarding the current Board volunteer leadership support structure;

c. Ensuring that a report is made regarding the financial state of the association by the Treasurer or duly-authorized Board-appointed agent.

viii. The President serves as the second signatory on all AEA Bank Accounts.

a. The President shall periodically monitor balances of each Association account.

ix. The President makes appointments or nominations for individuals to serve on external groups.

a. An open call will be issued to the membership for recommendations for nominees/appointees.

b. The President will consult with the President-elect when making a nomination or appointment.

10. PAST-PRESIDENT: The Past-President is a specially empowered member of the Board with the following roles and responsibilities:

A. The Past-President is the Secretary to the Board with responsibility for assuring that all Board records are up-to-date and sufficiently archived.

B. The Past-President is an Ombudsperson to the Board, responsible for assuring that complaints or issues of Board Members or serious complaints or issues of members of the association receive a clear and proper hearing of the Board.

C. The Past-President is the Parliamentarian to the Board and is responsible for assisting the President in the management of discussions at Board meetings.

D. The Past-President has a special role as mentor to new Board members and is responsible for assuring that they are integrated well into the life of the Board.

E. The Past-President is a member of the Executive Committee.

F. The Past-President serves as the acting President in the event that the President and President-Elect are unable to fulfill the position.

G. The Past-President works with the President as needed to set the agenda for Board meetings.

11. PRESIDENT ELECT: The President-Elect is a specially empowered member of the Board with the following roles and responsibilities:

A. The President-Elect works with the President to set the agenda for Board meetings.

B. The President-Elect meets with the current President and ED at least once for a detailed briefing on the current state of the association and of the Board.

C. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee

D. The President-Elect serves as the acting President if the President is unable to fulfill the position.

12. TREASURER’S ROLE: The Treasurer is a specially empowered member of the Board whose responsibilities in consultation with the Board and ED are, at minimum:

A. The Treasurer assures that draft budgets meet Board policies.

B. The Treasure preserves financial assets for core operations of the association.

i. AEA should protect its current assets with fully federally insured investments so that it could meet all regular financial obligations for 12 consecutive months without any income. No more than 20% of the general reserve may be invested in low-risk instruments and the remainder must be invested in fully federally insured investments.

ii. In consultation with the Finance Priority Area Team, and with the approval of the Board, the Treasurer will make the investments described above on behalf of the Board.

C. The Treasurer ensures that adequate self-insurance is maintained for the association against potential disasters.

D. The Treasurer serves as educator to the Board on association financial issues.

E. The Treasurer provides signatures on financial matters on behalf of the association (except for those matters directly related to the Treasurer).

i. The Treasurer shall periodically monitor balances of each Association account.

F. The Treasurer ensures that ED monitoring includes attention to fiscal issues as delineated in the Executive Limitations Policies.

G. The Treasurer serves as a key liaison with the association’s accountant and auditor.

H. The Treasurer facilitates the Board in monitoring the fiscal health of the association.

i. The Treasurer oversees regular external review of AEA’s finances.

ii. The Treasurer will report monthly to the Finance Priority Area Team, and at each Board meeting, on the status of investments and all other AEA financial assets.

I. The Treasurer chairs the Finance Priority Area Team.

i. The Treasurer ensures that the Finance Priority Area Team forwards to the Board its recommendations regarding the budget no later than two months prior to the start of the coming fiscal year.

J. The Treasurer maintains direct contact with the ED regarding the association’s budget and expenditures.

K. The Treasurer, or duly-authorized Board-appointed agenda reports to the membership regarding the financial state of the association at the AEA Annual Business Meeting.

L. Within one week of receiving contact information for the Treasurer-elect the current Treasurer will initiate the following steps to acclimate and educate the incumbent regarding her or his responsibilities and operational capabilities, as necessary:

i. Complete paperwork to add the Treasurer-elect as a signatory on the Association's account(s), allowing the incumbent to begin viewing, investing, and signing instruments such as checks on behalf of the Association at the start of their term (currently January 1 following the election),

ii. Provide the Treasurer-elect with all paper and electronic files and correspondence relevant to the incumbent's role, no later than the start of their term.

iii. Include the Treasurer-elect in all communications and meetings with the Executive Director, and of the Finance Priority Area Team (F-PAT).

iv. Meet monthly with the Treasurer-elect through December 31, to explain and discuss in detail the following:

  • Association Bylaws relevant to financial operations,

  • Association policy regarding financial operations,

  • Generating monthly financial reports of the Treasurer to the F-PAT and Board,

  • Creating the annual Treasurer's report to the Association, presented at the annual Business Meeting,

  • Current budget and investments of the Association,

  • Current plans regarding future budgets and investments of the Association, and

  • Other matters brought up by either the incumbent or current Treasurer.

v. The former Treasurer also will participate in all F-PAT meetings for the first three months following initiation of the Treasurer-elect’s term, to answer questions and provide guidance.

vi. The former Treasurer will be available for at least the first three months following initiation of the Treasurer-elect’s term for consultant and advice.

13. BOARD MEMBER AT LARGE: Board members are specially empowered members of the association who have the duty to ensure appropriate governance and performance. All members of the Board have the following roles and responsibilities:

A. Fulfill four primary roles:

i. Serve as the link between AEA as an organization and its membership.

a. Engage the membership both to understand their interests and needs and to communicate Board policies and practices.

b. Develop and review policies that are member- and organization-driven rather than constituency-driven.

ii. Actively engage in the ongoing development and priority-setting of written governing policies that address the broadest levels of all organizational decisions and situations, including:

a. Goals Policies that define desired organizational outcomes.

b. Executive Limitations Policies that define constraints on executive authority and establish the prudence and ethics boundaries within which all staff executive activity and decisions must take place.

c. Governance Policies that specify how the Board conceives, carries out and monitors its own work.

d. Delegation Policies that specify the ED’s role, authority and accountability, and how the ED performance is monitored.

iii. Fulfill the evaluation responsibilities as specified in written Governance Policies.

iv. Exercise fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the financial health of the association.

B. Serve as public ambassadors of the association.

14. BOARD MEMBER CODE OF CONDUCT: The Board commits itself and its members to the highest ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct, including proper use of authority and appropriate decorum when acting as Board members.

A. Dedication to Governance: The Board will invest in its governance capacity through appropriate and thorough individual preparation for meetings, individual and group training and capacity building, and provision for and insurance of avenues for member input. Board orientation for new members, especially with reference to policy governance, will be a routine activity.

i. Professional Role: The Board will be prepared, conscientious, and professional in its role.

a. Sign Letter of Agreement to abide by the principles so delineated by the Board member roles and responsibilities.

b. Declare any potential conflict of interest.

c. Learn the governance procedures of the Board.

ii. One voice: The Board’s authority is a group authority rather than a summation of individual authorities. While there may be disagreement among Board members, duly-reached Board decisions are supported by the Board as a whole.

iii. Confidentiality: Board discussions will be kept confidential and not shared with association members except through formal vehicles such as minutes or reports unless otherwise decided by the Board.

iv. Promote and uphold the Guiding Principles: The Board will conduct all association evaluation work in accordance with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.

v. Board evaluation and training: The Board will set its own agenda for training and evaluation of itself.

15. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: The Executive Committee is a specially empowered subgroup of the Board that consists of the President, Past-President, President-Elect and Treasurer with the following roles and responsibilities”

A. The Executive Committee may be Convened by any member of the Executive Committee.

B. Emergency Decision-Making: The Executive Committee is convened in situations where immediate action or decision-making is needed and it is not feasible to convene the whole Board. In these situations, the Executive Committee may be convened by any member of the Executive Committee or by the Executive Director. The Executive Committee or ED will notify Board members of the situation, and seek and consider any input provided in the timeframe needed for the decision. The Executive Committee will notify the Board upon making a decision.

C. Advisory Role: The Executive Committee may be called upon by the President to advise on Board work such as the determination of agendas, resolution of conflicts or strategic directions for the Board.

D. Representation: The Executive Committee may be called upon to represent the Board and AEA membership in matters pertaining to the association and its functioning.

16. BOARD COMMITTEES: A committee is a Board committee only if its existence and charge come from the Board. The sole responsibility of Board Committees is to provide policy guidance to the Board.

17. BOARD COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Board committees commit themselves and their members to the highest ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct on behalf of the association.

18. BOARD COMMITTEES: In accordance with our Mission, Vision, and Values, currently there are five priority areas for policy-making:

  • Finance

  • Knowledge and Professional Support

  • Leadership

  • Public Engagement

  • Values

A. For 2011, the former Board Standing Committees work within Priority Area Teams established by the Board as follows:

  • Finance Team: Finance Committee

  • Knowledge and Professional Support Team: Annual Conference Policy Committee, Publications Committee, Professional Development Committee, Membership Committee

  • Leadership Team: Nominations and Elections Committee

  • Public Engagement Team: Public Affairs Committee, International Committee

  • Values Team: Diversity Committee, Ethics Committee, Awards Committee

B. The sole responsibility of Priority Area Teams is to provide policy guidance to the Board. They work on advising Board policy under a written charge from the Board. This charge is reviewed at the beginning of a new Presidential term and revised as needed.

i. Coordinator: Each Priority Area Team is coordinated by one of the Standing Committee Chairs.

ii. Leadership Team: The chairs of the Standing Committees will serve as a Leadership Team for the priority area.

iii. Board Liaison: Each Priority Area has a primary Board Liaison appointed by the President, selected from one of the standing committees’ liaisons of the committees in that priority area. The other Board liaisons support the work of the Lead Priority Area Liaison.

C. All communication to the Board on committee work comes through Priority Area Teams.

19. BOARD TASK FORCES: The Board may appoint time-limited Board Task Forces for specific tasks such as exploring particular policy issues, following up on evaluation study recommendations, and other tasks that are typically of an immediate nature and/or require particular expertise.

A. Charge: A Board Task Force receives its charge from the Board and reports to it as progress is made and its task is accomplished.

B. Term: The term of each Board Task Force is set by the Board. Board Task Forces must have a specified term of no more than three years.

C. Establishment: The Board may establish a Board Task Force by a two-thirds vote. Alternatively, the President may establish a Board Task Force for a term corresponding to the President’s term in office.

D. Chair: The Board will identify the Chair for any Task Force that it convenes. The President will identify the Chair for any Task Force that she or he convenes. The Task Force Chair will serve a term corresponding to the term of the Board Task Force.

E. Liaison: Should the Chair of a Board Task Force not be a current Board member, the President will appoint a Board liaison each year to the Task Force, otherwise a Board member on the Task Force will serve as the liaison.

20. SPECIAL LEADERSHIP POSITIONS: Special leadership positions may be specified by a two-thirds vote of the Board, and shall be noted in the policies.

V. GLOSSARY – As amended June 2011:

Association Activity: An association activity is a process or event intended to contribute to association operations.

Association Program: An association program is an intentional intervention designed to directly contribute to association goals.

Excellence Imperative (from the BDI phase I evaluation report): The excellence imperative is to raise the standard of excellence in evaluation practice by integrating multicultural commitments. The excellence imperative reflects individual and collective desires to build upon, broaden and strengthen—through responsiveness and connection—our theories, methods, approaches and practices with wisdom and excellence.

Justice Imperative (from the BDI phase I evaluation report): The justice imperative is to promote justice and equity in evaluation practice. It is motivated by individual and collective commitments to justice – equity, fairness, respect, inclusiveness, and acceptance – and to promoting unity among evaluators while redressing past harm.

Redressing past harm refers to recognizing and correcting oppressive policies and actions and balancing majority privilege.

Illustrative ways this may be accomplished in AEA include through:

  • Relating or enhancing communication about multicultural issues and working respectfully to design, implement, and monitor policies, projects, and activities that strengthen multicultural representation, voice, and cultural competence within the association.

  • Restoring or taking action to recognize past harm and making changes (e.g., policies) to ensure that multiculturalism remains a central value of the association and is reflected in AEA policies, structure, and activities; recognizing and correcting oppressive actions.

  • Acknowledging or learning from the past and seeing diverse groups with new understandings and balancing majority privilege.

Multiculturalism (adapted from the Building Diversity Initiative (BDI) phase I evaluation report): Multiculturalism concerns the process of recognizing, understanding and appreciating the cultural background of others as well as one's own. It stresses an appreciation of the impact of difference in social location based on the variety of demographic characteristics that describe our differences and our similarities, including race/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, class/level, age, sexual orientation, religion, physical/mental ability, immigration status, language, military experience, and geographic location.

Net Assets: Net Assets are the difference between the association’s total financial assets and total financial liabilities (accounts payable and debts). AEA divides its net assets into two categories, the Operating Reserve and the General Reserve

  • Operating Reserve: The operating reserve is an unrestricted fund balance set aside to stabilize our finances by providing a cushion against emergencies or large, unexpected fluctuations in income. AEA sets aside a minimum of 85% of the Schedule I budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and 100% of the Schedule I budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and beyond, as its operating reserve. The Operating Reserve is identified at the beginning of each fiscal year and is defined as the highest of either the current year’s estimated Schedule I budget or either of the immediate past two year’s actual Schedule I expenses. The Board sets policy that establishes parameters on accessing the funds within the Operating Reserve.

  • General Reserve: The General Reserve is an unrestricted fund balance representing those funds available for programs and services. The General Reserve is identified at the beginning of each fiscal year and is defined as subtracting the Operating Reserve from the Net Assets of the Association at the close of the fiscal year. The Board establishes policy that sets parameters on accessing the funds within the General Reserve

People of color: People of color in the contemporary United States context refers to people from racial and ethnic groups that [continue to face] discrimination, prejudice, and injustice within the American context.

Public Engagement: Public Engagement is the coordinated set of activities that AEA conducts outside our own association in order to (a) present to, (b) learn from, and (c) collaborate with other relevant organizations and individuals, both within the United States and internationally.


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