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Why We Need EC³

Evaluation, defined as “the process of determining the merit, worth, or value of something” has experienced significant growth since the 1960s, when it is recognized as becoming a formalized practice in the U.S. and Canada. During this time, evaluation practitioners and scholars have developed a wide array of approaches for practicing evaluation; invented new methods for evaluative inquiry; expanded training, both within and beyond the academy; created competencies for professional evaluators; and within Canada, established a means for formally credentialing professional evaluators. These examples highlight that efforts to strengthen the evaluation field to date have primarily focused on how to professionalize the field of evaluation and grow a cadre of well-trained and competent program evaluators. It is our belief that the time has now come to turn greater attention to strengthening the capacity organizations to promote and support high-quality evaluation practice – a practice more broadly recognized in the evaluation field as “evaluation capacity building” (ECB).

Currently, there are limited opportunities to learn about ECB. Additionally, though we have learned much about ECB in the past 20 years (Bourgeois et al., 2023) there is still much room to innovate and learn more about what effective ECB practice looks like. We created EC3 to develop the next generation of ECB scholars and practitioners while also contributing to our collective understanding about “what works” in ECB.

The Evaluation Capacity Case Challenge (EC3) will take place on May 24 and 25, 2024, at McGill University in beautiful Montreal, Quebec drawing in students, early-career professionals, and evaluation experts from Canada and the United States to generate creative, yet practical, solutions for an organization that desires to support and sustain its evaluation practice.


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