2008 Annual CES Conference
Sharing Heritages

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Conference theme

Sharing Heritages

On the occasion of Quebec City's 400th anniversary, the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) invites evaluators from the Old World and the New, from the North and South, to take part in its 28th Annual National Conference, which will take place in historic Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Quebec City, where recently excavated 16th century archeological remains have shed new light on some of the earliest contacts between Europe and North America, evaluators from every continent will have the opportunity to join in this tradition of sharing in a spirit of ever-increasing openness to knowledge diversity. The 2008 CES Conference theme, Sharing Heritages, speaks to the principle, if not the fact, that each nation, each region, and each cultural community possesses specific knowledge, know-how, and approaches.

CES members and non-members are invited to share their local heritages in either of Canada's official languages (English or French). The Conference is also an opportunity for evaluators to better structure "world evaluation heritage" by taking into account a diversity of viewpoints on various themes promoting rich and stimulating discussions for both the present and future, rather than by forced consensus.

Conference objectives:

  1. Share your recent evaluation experiences, with a focus on methodology and practices.
    Once again this year, the CES Annual Conference offers delegates from near and far the opportunity to discuss their recent work. While the results and conclusions of the work usually generate great interest among public policy and program decision-makers and stakeholders, the CES Conference is a significant opportunity for evaluators to discuss the methodological and practical issues that present particular challenges to their knowledge and skills.

  2. Take an objective look at your practices in order to promote evaluation development.
    The CES Conference also provides an opportunity to broach a yearly theme aimed at taking an objective look at practices in a way that promotes evaluation development. Some of the issues inspired by our Sharing Heritages theme include the following:
    1. Taking stock of your evaluation practices
      1. Given your particular context, do you have the proper human resources to perform quality evaluations? Is the available training appropriate?
      2. How is evaluation funded in your jurisdiction? Are there other potential funding sources?
      3. Do the evaluators in your regions have the necessary regulatory framework to ensure sound practice? Are there any plans for creating a professional body? Should the authorities standardize evaluation practices? What kinds of institutions should evaluators turn to-political, administrative, or academic? Have the various evaluation charters that exist worldwide made an impact?
      4. Do evaluators in your province or country work in a vacuum? Do they have a stable communication network?
      5. Is evaluation contaminated by political interference, or is it too self-absorbed? Has globalization helped the development of evaluation practices? Are these practices consistent from one continent to another? Have demands for good governance fostered the development of evaluation?
      6. What role does evaluation play in your organizations? How independent or interdependent is evaluation with respect to other management functions?
      7. What is the career path of evaluators in your regions? Do they see themselves as professionals performing specialized work or generalists developing skills as they could in any other branch of their organization?
    2. Reviewing trends in evaluative thinking, the factors that influence it, and modes of action
      1. Is evaluation theory progressing? Has there ever been a theory? Can we speak of the theoretical imperialism of one region of the world on others? Could epistemological conflicts between constructionists and positivists take up too much energy?
      2. What are the latest trends in the practices of your communities? Are they passing fads or solid foundations for real progress?
      3. Is evaluation methodology specific to each case? Does it serve decision-makers, civil society, or citizens? How is it chosen? How does it change or how is it required to change in the political context? Should it develop alone or in sync with intimated expectations?
    3. Qualifying, comparing, and imagining evaluation support structures
      1. Does evaluation serve political and program managers? Does it serve elected officials, citizens, or stakeholders? Who is the actual client? Who should it be?
      2. Which institutions are necessary for evaluation? Are there institutions serving the evaluation community? What kind of institutional support can evaluators count on?
      3. How did evaluation structures develop in your region? How can this development be explained? Is there an evaluation management learning process?
      4. What are the structural factors that help or hinder evaluation development (e.g., culture of secrecy, power relationship)?
      5. Should evaluation be locally based or are there universal principles regarding expansion of the practice? Should one particular structure be defined for each community? Is there a more universal solution to this potentially universal problem?
      6. What roles do international organizations play in the development of evaluative abilities? Is there an institutional import-export process?
    4. Defining a world evaluation heritage agenda
      1. What have we learned up to now? What major advances have been made in evaluation theory and practice throughout the world? What are the main flaws in evaluation heritage?
      2. In which direction should we now head? Should our heritages be developed? If so, how? What are the major challenges to be met and the best strategies to implement?
      3. How can we move forward? Do we need an agenda for the continuous progress of evaluation heritage? If so, should this agenda be a shared, global agenda or should it branch out according to countries, world regions, or intervention sectors? What should be done next?


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