; Canadian Evaluation Society STRATEGIC PLAN
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

Canadian Evaluation Society STRATEGIC PLAN


  • pg 1

Canadian Evaluation Society
                            Canadian Evaluation Society
                             2011-2016 Strategic Plan
                                        APPROVED OCTOBER XX, 2011

Introduction: The Strategic Environment

The Canadian Evaluation Society is a non-profit, bilingual, professional association
supporting the practice of program evaluation in Canada. The CES has 11 regional chapters
and some 1,800 members representing government, non-profit, educational, and private

The first Canadian national evaluation conference was held in 1980, and the CES was
incorporated in 1981. In 1985 the CES began publishing the Canadian Journal of Program
Evaluation. Over the years, the CES has developed a range of member services including
professional development workshops, a literature database, award programs, and a weekly
electronic newsletter. Recently, the CES created a credentialing program. As of 2011, the
mission of the CES was “to advance evaluation theory, knowledge and practice through
leadership, advocacy and professional development for members and non-members.”

The CES has evolved in parallel with the evaluation field itself. Evaluation has become
rooted worldwide as a primary mechanism for assessing and enhancing value for money in
public programming. In Canada, the demand for evaluation is greater than ever, including a
recent requirement that all federal government programs be evaluated on a five-year cycle.
With growth come challenges including maintaining rigor and standards, adequately
training practitioners, providing support to evaluators in remote regions, keeping abreast
of international trends and playing a role in international initiatives, and determining the
overall directions that the field will take.

Strategic Planning Process

The CES National Council launched a participative process to develop a new strategic plan
to guide CES work over the next five years1. The independent consulting firm Goss Gilroy
Inc. was contracted to undertake a program of work that included:
     interviews with 11 chapter presidents and nine key stakeholders, including senior
       members of the Canadian evaluation profession and international evaluation
       leaders (see Appendix A: Interviewees);
     a survey of CES members (n=549, a 31.6 percent response rate);
     the facilitation of a one-day planning summit on April 29, 2011, in Edmonton, AB
       attended by CES National Council members, and, based on these elements;

    The plan covers the period from July 2011 through June 2016.

                  Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                      Page 1
       the assembly of a draft strategic plan.

Interviews and the survey, as well as the summit, followed an appreciative inquiry
framework built upon questions related to strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and
results (SOAR). A summary of responses from all sources to these questions is contained in
Appendix B2.

Vision, Mission and Strategy

Based on discussions at the April 29 planning summit, the following statements articulate a
refinement of the CES vision and mission:

CES Vision        CES is recognized in Canada and internationally for its support of evaluation
                 for the betterment of program sponsors, program beneficiaries, and society.

CES Mission CES, through advocacy on behalf of its members, the promotion of professional
            standards, the provision of training, and the facilitation of networking among
            Canadians and other strategic partners, advances the practice of evaluation in

In order to achieve the vision and mission, the CES will continue providing high-value
member services including3 the annual national conference, the Canadian Journal of
Program Evaluation, the CES national website and associated online resources/links, the
weekly electronic newsletter (including employment and contract opportunities), the
student case competition, and chapter professional development courses and other events.

In addition, the CES will enhance existing, or launch new, projects and initiatives in the
following four inter-connected domains:

        (1) Advocacy

        Strengthen influence with policymakers and academics. Emphasize evaluation’s role in
        societal improvement. This initiative will plan and implement measures to materially
        increase the role that the CES plays in determining evaluation-related policies in
        Canada. The focus is on government policies at all levels of government, and on
        strengthened policy-related links with post-secondary institutions both in terms of
        potentially influencing academic programs, and facilitating the role of academics in
        influencing public policy.

  Also available: two slide presentations used at the planning summit (one containing the findings from the data
collection activities, and a second outlining summit procedures), and a 90-page data compendium containing the raw
data from the interviews and survey.
  Services listed here were rated most highly by CES members. However this list is not necessarily exhaustive;
National Council may choose to continue providing other services as well.

               Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                                          Page 2
Improve the branding and marketing of evaluation. Bolster the CES’s role as public
spokesperson. This initiative aims to bring information about the value of evaluation
to the public, and/or to key stakeholders. It involves branding(i.e., clarifying and
simplifying our identity and role) and marketing ourselves, “getting out there.”

(2) Professional Standards

Support methodological excellence in Evaluation. CES aims to establish, on behalf of
its members, an appropriate share of the role of defining and disseminating the
state-of-the-art of evaluation in Canada. The Journal is an obvious vehicle for this
initiative, and the website could contain a repository of tools. This initiative is
naturally linked to credentialing and to advocacy. It includes reviewing and
maintaining the currency of the Competencies for Canadian Evaluation Practice.

Institutionalize credentialing to benefit the membership. The professional
designation, or credentialing program is up and running, but still in early days.
Enhancing the credentialing program involves continuing to improve the
assessment/selection process while ensuring that credentialing serves evaluation
practitioners, and does not become an end in and of itself. Canada's credentialing
initiative is being watched with great interest around the world. It is critical that it
be seen as a high-value-added, professional program (not a way by which to overly
mechanize evaluation or to foster a punitive culture), and a means to add greater
legitimacy to our role.

(3) Professional Development

Revitalize the professional development program through (1) partnerships with
academic programs combined with (2) creation of competency-based CES programs
focusing on intermediate and advanced levels, and linked to credentialing. A priority
for members and for chapter presidents, revitalizing an already good professional
development program will strengthen the ability of the CES to make available to
members intermediate and advanced training on key evaluation topics. This is to be
done through a combination of strategic partnerships with postsecondary
institutions and working with contractors to design/deliver targeted courses. This
initiative is linked to credentialing and the Competencies for Canadian Evaluation

Foster mentoring. Mentoring is seen as another important way to support
professional development of, particularly, newer members of the profession. A
mentoring initiative has been started by the Core Mentoring Group and needs to
continue to develop and implement practical measures to help link interested
evaluators to senior practitioners and academics who will act as mentors.

     Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                   Page 3
       (4) Networking and Strategic Partnerships

      Develop/enhance strategic partnerships with similar associations domestically and
      internationally, research institutes/think tanks, and academic institutions (including
      the University Consortium). This initiative aims to proactively identify and develop
      tangible working relationships with key strategic partners. CES will continue its role
      with the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE).
      Universities are implicated in several other initiatives and thus are high on the
      priority list of potential partners. Informal networking among members and
      between members and similar institutions should also continue to be fostered.

Infrastructure. Chapter presidents and National Council members also identified areas in
which the CES infrastructure needs to be improved. Improvements in infrastructure will
support all other CES activities and initiatives. Improvements were identified in the
following areas:

      Investigate and optimize administration (e.g., via contract and/or salaried staff). This
      initiative may be best carried out through an organizational review with a mandate
      to critically review the Society's administrative needs, research and identify options
      for meeting these needs, and make recommendations to the National Council.

      Membership drive to increase membership, diversity, and interest amongst non-
      evaluators. Membership will presumably increase naturally with the growth of the
      profession, and may further increase as member services are improved. Beyond
      this, a membership drive based on a national needs assessment would focus not
      only on general increases but also on areas of particular need.

      Investigate and institute measures to improve/create revenue streams. Council
      members in particular noted the importance of increasing revenues in order to
      support new initiatives. Efforts in this regard to could take the form of specific new
      revenue-generating activities and/or revenue-related enhancements to existing
      programs. This could be part of the organizational review.

      Enhance web platform for use in, among other things, training. The CES website has
      become a primary source of information and support for CES members. The current
      website is well regarded. The main enhancement sought at this time is to add web-
      based professional development tools/resources. This initiative is linked to the
      professional development initiative, above.

            Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                        Page 4
Operationalizing the Plan

This plan is the foundation upon which subsequent project planning and implementation
will occur. It lays out the broad strokes. From here, the work of the National Council and
members includes:

      clarifying project/initiative objectives and indicators;
      adding or modifying projects/initiatives as appropriate;
      sequencing the projects and initiatives to be manageable and to build upon one
      planning and implementing projects and initiatives including budgeting, assigning
       authorities and accountabilities, setting deadlines, and evaluating results.

This plan should be referred back to on a regular basis to ensure that the CES stays on
track, or if it changes direction, it does so intentionally. The strategic plan is depicted in
summary form on the page following.

             Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                            Page 5
             Canadian Evaluation Society Strategic Plan: 2011-2016
CES Vision. CES is recognized in Canada and internationally for its support of evaluation for the
betterment of program sponsors, program beneficiaries, and society.

CES Mission. CES, through advocacy on behalf of its members, the promotion of professional standards,
the provision of training, and the facilitation of networking among Canadians and other strategic partners,
advances the practice of evaluation in Canada.

                                               Member Services
Continue providing high-value member services including the annual national conference, the Canadian
Journal of Program Evaluation, the CES national website and associated online resources/links, the weekly
electronic newsletter (including employment and contract opportunities), the student case competition,
and chapter professional development and other events. Continue strategically determining and advancing
what is best for the profession of evaluation. In addition, enhance existing, or launch new,
projects/initiatives in the following inter-connected domains:

     (1) Advocacy              (2) Professional            (3) Professional           (4) Networking and
                                  Standards                 Development                     Strategic

 Strengthen influence        Support                 Substantially revitalize      Develop/enhance
  with policymakers and        methodological           professional                   strategic
  academics. Emphasize         excellence in            development program            partnerships with
  evaluation’s role in         evaluation.              through (1)                    similar associations
  societal improvement.       Institutionalize         partnerships with              domestically and
 Improve the branding         credentialing to         academic programs              internationally,
  and marketing of             benefit the              combined with (2)              research
  evaluation.                  membership.              creation of competency-        institutes/think
 Bolster the CES’s role                                based CES programs             tanks, and academic
  as public                                             focusing on                    institutions
  spokesperson.                                         intermediate and               (including the
                                                        advanced levels, and           University
                                                        linked to credentialing.       Consortium).
                                                       Foster mentoring.

 Investigate and optimize administration (e.g., via contracts and/or salaried staff).
 Membership drive to increase membership, diversity, and interest amongst non-evaluators.
 Investigate and institute measures to improve/create additional revenue streams.
 Enhance web platform for use in, among other things, professional development.

               Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                                       Page 6
Appendix A: Interviewees
Chapter Presidents/Chairpersons
Geraldine Cooney, National Capital Chapter
Nancy Russell, Ontario Chapter
Cheryl McClellan-Moody, Alberta and Northwest Territories Chapter
Dr. Wendy Rowe, British Columbia and Yukon Chapter
Larry Bremnar, Manitoba Chapter
John Marshall, Saskatchewan Chapter
Janet Ivory, Nova Scotia Chapter
Nicolas Toutant, Quebec Chapter
Monique Campbell, Newfoundland & Labrador Chapter
Cindy Wood, Prince Edward Island Chapter
Brenda Stead, New Brunswick Chapter

Senior Members of the Canadian Evaluation Profession
Bob Lahey, REL Solutions Inc.
Nancy Porteous, Executive Director, Evaluation, Public Health Agency of Canada
Linda E. Lee, Partner and VP, Proactive Information Services
Dr. John Mayne, FCES, Advisor, Public Sector Performance
Dr. Simon Roy, Partner at Goss Gilroy Incorporated, Treasurer of NC CES Chapter
Karyn Hicks, Program Advisor (program evaluation) Government of the NWT
François Dumaine, Past President of the CES, Director of Prairies Research Associates

International Evaluation Leaders
Jennifer Greene, President of the American Evaluation Association
Michael Quinn Patton, Former President of the American Evaluation Association

Kathy Jones, President The Willow Group

            Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                        Page 7
Appendix B: Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results (SOAR)

National Council members, chapter presidents, key players in the evaluation profession,
and CES members, were asked for direction respecting the next fives years for the CES. In
gathering opinions, an appreciative inquiry, “SOAR,” framework was used, soliciting
responses to four questions.

       (i) Strengths: What can be built on? Most of what the CES currently offers is
       appreciated by members. Exceptional strengths include the national conference, the
       Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, the CES national website and associated
       online resources and links, the weekly electronic newsletter (including employment
       and contract opportunities), the student case competition, and chapter professional
       development programs and other events. Interviewees spoke of the value of CES as
       a venue for identifying and channelling common goals, and showcasing the
       profession. The symbiosis of a national body that efficiently meets Canada-wide
       needs and regional chapters focusing on local concerns is seen as a key feature. The
       strong volunteer base of the CES was also recognized.

       (ii) Opportunities: What are our constituents asking for? Members report an
       appetite for more professional development, including a wider range of training as
       well as online opportunities. Members identified a need to advance evaluation
       theory and methodologies, as well as advocating for the profession (i.e., explaining
       to key audiences what evaluation is and how it can positively influence public
       programming). Members want to see more opportunities for networking, better
       support for regional and remote settings, stronger relations with postsecondary
       institutions, improvements to the credentialing program, better engagement of
       students, an expansion of membership diversity, and the promotion of strategic
       relations with other associations nationally and internationally. Evaluation leaders
       pointed to an increased emphasis worldwide on the use of evidence in public
       programming, a trend the CES would do well to take advantage of.

       (iii) Aspirations: What do we, collectively, care deeply about? The top aspiration
       or desire on the part of surveyed members was for greater advocacy by the CES on
       behalf of the evaluation profession in Canada. Interviewed experts also ranked
       advocacy as their top aspiration; chapter presidents ranked it third. Professional
       development was the second ranked aspiration for members and experts, and the
       top aspiration for chapter presidents. Members also expressed a desire for the CES
       to work to ensure high quality standards for evaluation in Canada, to promote
       networking, and to continue promoting credentialing. Chapter presidents expressed
       a desire for an improved evaluation infrastructure, both in terms of administration
       and membership. Council members echoed these desires, including a desire for

            Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                                      Page 8
improved online training, and for the CES to be a non-partisan centre of excellence
in evaluation across all sectors in Canada.

(iv) Results: How will we know we are succeeding? Members pointed to such
indices as higher CES membership numbers, greater member engagement, and
wider membership diversity. Members also mentioned service indicators such as
the range, number of, and participation rates in, events, and greater recognition by
stakeholders and society generally of the profession of evaluation. Council members
also expressed an interest in membership-related indices, including the number of
credentialed evaluators, as key indicators of success. Council members also want to
see demonstrably closer links between the CES and evaluation policy-making, and
stronger strategic partnerships. Finally, Council members expressed an interest in
seeing a more formalized organizational structure.

     Canadian Evaluation Society

                                                                               Page 9

To top