October 2018 Newsletter

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Systems in Evaluation TIG

October 2018 Newsletter



Leadership Team Notes

Hello, Systems in Evaluation TIG Members!

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you face-to-face during the AEA 2018 conference in Cleveland at the end of October.  This newsletter includes a listing of the excellent sessions on offer at the conference plus information about our annual business meeting and social gathering.  Thanks to all the members who participated in the review process to make the AEA 2018 program a success!

The SETIG Principles Project hit a major milestone recently with the release of a draft set of principles. Many members contributed to this project during 2017 and 2018.  Read about our TIG’s progress on this important work later in this newsletter.

And, last but not least, the TIG is holding elections for the TIG Co-Chair and Program Co-Chair positions. Consider getting more involved by joining this collaborative and collegial team. See the article below for details or check the SETIG website.

Best wishes,

The Systems in Evaluation TIG Leadership Team

Heather Britt, Co-Chair
Marah Moore, Co-Chair
Brandon, Program Co-Chair
Pablo Vidueira, Program Co-Chair


Election Time for TIG Officers

Change is in the air. Here in the high desert of New Mexico, a few leaves are just beginning to turn, signaling the beginning of Autumn and the changing of seasons. The SETIG is looking at a new season as well – we will be saying goodbye to Heather as TIG Co-Chair and to Brandon as Program Co-Chair. That means we are looking for nominations to fill these positions for three-year terms. Nominations or self-nominations are due by Sunday, October 7, 2018. New chairs take office on January 1, 2019.

If you would like to submit either a nomination or self-nomination, please send an email to jan.noga@pathfinderevaluation.com by 11:59 pm (Eastern US time) Sunday, October 7, 2018. Please include the following with your email:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address and phone (for contact only, will not be published on ballot)
  • Position(s) nominated for (see positions descriptions below)
  • A brief statement (150 words or less) on what you, or the candidate you are nominating, would like to bring to the role and to leadership of the TIG. This statement will be included in the slate of candidates for voting.
  • A headshot to be included in slate of candidates


TIG Co-Chairs are responsible for convening the TIG Business Meeting at the annual conference.  They are also responsible for overseeing the planning and development of any TIG activities outside of the annual meeting. The TIG Program Co-Chairs are responsible for managing the submission and review process each spring and for working in consultation with the TIG leadership team to plan the TIG’s business meeting during the annual conference.

All nominations and self-nominations will receive a follow-up email confirming willingness to have their name placed on the ballot.

The election will be held via online survey from Tuesday, October 9 through Monday, October 22, 2018. On October 9, TIG members will receive an election notice that will include a link to the ballot. Please note: only TIG members may vote in the election. An election announcement will be posted to the SETIG website but the actual link to the ballot may only be obtained through email. If you do not receive your link to the ballot, contact Jan Noga to receive a link.

This is a great way to get more deeply involved with the work of the TIG and AEA more generally, continue to learn and help others learn about Systems in Evaluation, and share your enthusiasm. Please consider nominating somebody (with their permission, of course), or even nominating yourself!


Update: Systems Principles Project

More than two years of deep engagement by SETIG members has resulted in a draft document entitled Principles for Effective Use of Systems Thinking in Evaluation.  The current version of the principles was shared with TIG members during the online event on July 12th of this year. Information from that event, including the presentation, the principles, and a recording of the discussion was shared in a member email following the event. The primary focus was to encourage SETIG members to test the draft principles through application to their own work and provide feedback. A revised draft was then sent out to members in early September.

Next steps

Continual and full inclusion of the TIG membership has been important throughout the Principles Project. The SETIG Leadership Team is committed to continuing to cultivate the collaborative process of study and dialogue that gave rise to the Principles. The Leadership Team is making plans for continued study, dialogue, and engagement around the Principles. Watch your email for information as it becomes available. Currently, the following activities are taking place or planned for this year:

MEMBER SURVEY Members have been asked to complete a short survey on whether and how they have used the principles – if you have not already done so, please take the time to complete this survey! If you want more information, contact Marah Moore.

THINK THANK DURING THE 2018 AEA CONFERENCE The survey will inform the SETIG-sponsored think tank session titled “Applying Principles for the Effective Use of Systems Thinking and Complexity Science in Evaluation” (session 1186) at the AEA 2018 conference. This session is scheduled to take place November 2, 2018 from 5:45 PM – 06:45 PM in the Hilton Hotel, Veterans Meeting Room A.

The session will begin with a gallery walk of content generated by TIG members during the online launch of the principles in mid-July 2018.  Participants will then join one or more small groups exploring a specific application of the principles.  Each small group will be a two-way conversation, providing and gathering examples of practice. Illustrative topics include the use of the Principles to:

  • Teach/communicate systems in evaluation core concepts
  • Inform evaluation design and management
  • Draft and review evaluation reports
  • Facilitate stakeholder engagement
  • Improve quality and fit of proposals submitted to the SETIG
  • Other ideas as suggested by SETIG members


SETIG Activities During Evaluation 2018

Business Meeting and Multi-TIG Reception

TIG business meetings will be held across two time blocks on Thursday evening. Our TIG business meeting is taking place Thursday, November 1st, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm in CC-15. AEA is again holding multi-TIG receptions between the two blocks of meetings. The reception for our group will be held immediately preceding our business meeting from 6:45 to 7:30 in CC Exhibit Level Foyer 18-24.

SETIG Social Event

Join us immediately after the SETIG business meeting on Thursday as we head out for an evening of Bocce Ball (https://backyardbocceflats.com). Connect with friends, new and old, grab some dinner and a drink from Dante’s Inferno Flats on site (https://infernoflats.com/), and relax after our long conference day. We’ll gather starting at 9:15. Cost for bocce, as well as food and drinks, will be up to individuals. Please drop by and have some fun with fellow SETIG members!

Where: 1059 Old River Road, Cleveland (in the Flats District)
When: Thursday, November 1st, 9:15 until you leave or they close (which is 1 am)


SETIG-Sponsored Conference Sessions

We’re sponsoring an exciting array of sessions at AEA this year – please put these on your calendar and come out to support your fellow systems evaluators as we explore the implications of speaking truth to power through a Systems in Evaluation lens.

Wednesday, October 31

Poster Reception and Meet-the-Authors, 6:30pm-8:00 pm:

2236:Carrot on a Stick – Adaptive Aspirations and Donor Regulations at Odds in Peacebuilding Programming?

2658:Evaluation in the Science of Team Science: The Challenges of Complexity

2120:Seamless Evaluation: How to Integrate Evaluation in Program Activities to Enhance the Client Experience

Thursday, November 1


1906:Systems Approaches for Organizational Development


1785:Measuring What Emerges: Developmental Evaluation of an Innovation Ecosystem Pilot Program

1936:Principles-Focused Evaluation for Robust M&E Frameworks: Examples from countering violent extremism


1915:Working with micro-narratives for monitoring, evaluation and decision-making in complex systems: A demonstration of the SenseMaker approach


1875:Using Transformative Evaluation perspective to evaluate system changes that promote racial equity and healing and address structural racism


Multi-TIG Reception Group 2, CC Exhibit Level Foyer 18–24


TIGBM54:Systems in Evaluation TIG Business Meeting

Friday, November 2


1457:Are We Part of the Problem or Solution?: Using Systems Approaches to Speak Truth(s) to Power(s) for Better or Worse  (Presidential Strand Session)

1550:Seeing Patterns and Setting Conditions for Speaking Truth to Power: A Human Systems Dynamics Model of Generative Engagement

1852:Working with Assumptions: Understanding how Evaluators Make Decisions about Capturing Reality/Context


2325:Breaking News: We Can’t Control Everything! – Using Systems Thinking to Understand Context in Development Projects


2125:Introducing a structured systems-thinking approach to uncover ongoing supports and barriers in a network of family planning activities

2669:Negotiating Power and Equity Systems Change Evaluations

2610:WASH and Learn: Using Systems Thinking to Improve the Sustainability of WASH Service Provision


2408:Building, Evaluating, and Measuring Collective Capacity to Speak Truth to Power

1466:Mixing Methods to Capture Complex Truths: Case-based Conversations between Systems & Mixed Method Evaluators


1186:Applying Principles for the Effective Use of Systems Thinking and Complexity Science in Evaluation

SE1:Systems Approaches to Speaking Truth to Power

2740:Systems Thinking as a Frame for Speaking Truth to Power?

Saturday, November 3


2225:Should complexity-aware theories of change be problem-centric? Insights borrowed from system dynamics modeling


2009:Leadership Development as a Systems Intervention to Advance Equity: Critical Considerations for Evaluators


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