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October 4, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Join us for the 2017 Oregon Program Evaluators Network conference! This year’s theme is Encouraging Excellence through Evaluation Capacity Building, and we are excited to announce our keynote speaker, Jean A. King, who will be presenting on Transformative Evaluation Capacity Building: Mission Possible?

The day will also include breakout sessions, poster presentations, a book grab, an information exchange, and a post conference happy hour. This conference brings together evaluation users, practitioners, and funders to gain a better understanding of how to approach evaluation capacity building that will better inform our work. Jean King defines key terms as follows:

  • Evaluation Capacity: “The competencies and structures required to conduct high quality evaluation studies (capacity to do) as well as the organization’s ability to integrate evaluation findings into its decision-making process (capacity to use).” (Bourgeois, Whynot and Theriault, 2015, p. 47)
  • Evaluation Capacity Building: “Intentional work to increase the ability of an organization to conduct and use evaluation.” (Jean A. King)



Transformative Evaluation Capacity Building: Mission Possible?

Jean A. King, University of Minnesota

This keynote will seek to answer three questions:

  1. What- What exactly are evaluation capacity and evaluation capacity building (ECB)?
  2. So what- Why might evaluators want to lead ECB efforts?
  3. Now what- In what ways might ECB help to meaningfully transform social programs?

Recognizing the importance of grounding ECB practice in our field’s history, the presentation will review ECB research and, based on over 30 years of experience, provide practical ideas for bringing ECB to life in a variety of contexts.


Keynote Speaker

Jean King is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota where she has served as Director of the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) for over 20 years. A long-time writer on participatory evaluation, she is the author of several books and numerous articles and chapters. Her most recent book, Interactive Evaluation Practice (with Laurie Stevahn), was published in 2013, and, a former Board member, she currently chairs the Competencies Task Force for the American Evaluation Association. Professor King has received several awards for her work, including the Myrdal Award for Evaluation Practice and the Ingle Award for Extraordinary Service from the American Evaluation Association, three teaching awards, and three community service awards. Her proudest achievement is having supervised over 100 U of M doctoral students to completion.


Breakout sessions

Building a Culture of Evaluation

Chari Smith, President/Founder, Evaluation into Action and Elaine Charpentier Philippi, Executive Director, BEC

The capacity to do and use evaluation starts with an organization’s willingness to engage in the process. Are staff motivated to do the evaluation, or do they feel mandated to do so? Are staff able to collaborate on evaluation activities such as creating measurable outcomes or data usage, or do they operate in silo? Is the board motived? Do they value outcomes and see the connection between data and revenue? There are underlying factors that can help or hinder an organization’s ability to engage in evaluation practices. We will explore these issues through interactive activities, real life examples, tips and tools to build a culture of evaluation.

Understanding the assets and characteristics of culturally specific organizations: a Delphi-Consumer Voice approach

Alejandro Queral, Director, Community Investments at United Way of the Columbia-Willamette 

This presentation will provide an overview of Successful Families 2020, a collaborative of four culturally specific (CS) and one culturally responsive (CR) service providers in Multnomah County that aims to strengthen the social services safety net for people of color. Presenters will describe methods used to identify and validate the assets and characteristics of CS organizations and their staff, and will describe how we utilized former agency clients trained in research methods to engage current service users to understand the value of these elements. CS organizations may use this evidence as a self-assessment tool to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Listos para el kinder: Partnering to develop evaluation capacity

Mary Martinez-Wenzl, Senior Researcher, Education Northwest

Listos para el Kínder is culturally responsive early literacy program at the Multnomah County Library serving Spanish-speaking families. Education Northwest worked with library staff to develop, implement, and embed evaluation pre- and post-program parent surveys and child activities. These evaluation tools allow the program to collect consistent data on the extent to which parents increased their involvement in their children’s learning, and changes in kindergarten readiness skills among children participating in Listos. This session will describe our practitioner-evaluator partnership and how we successfully collaborated to develop culturally responsive, program-embedded evaluation components.

Making Sense of Logic Models

Kristi Manseth, Ph.D. and Steven Rider, Ph.D., Pacific Research and Evaluation

Logic models seem simple and straightforward when you are reading a good one, but try putting one together and you may find your head spinning a bit. In this session, we’ll discuss the purpose, benefits, and mechanics of creating logic models. Based on a variety of experiences facilitating logic model development, the presenters will discuss common stumbling blocks in the development process and their suggestions for moving past them. This session is targeted primarily towards evaluators who are early in their careers, as well as users of evaluation (e.g., funders, program staff).

Evaluation Capacity Building: Lessons from the front line

Steve Patty, Jessamyn Luiz, Dialogues in Action

Over the past few years, we have worked with teams from over 200 social sector organizations to develop their capacity for self-studying progress toward their outcomes.  Along the way, we have discovered significant lessons about what works and what doesn’t.  In this workshop, we will discuss insights from our experience helping teams of leaders develop the ability to clarify their intended impacts, design and deploy means to gather quantitative and qualitative data, make sense of the data, and respond to findings through program adjustments and experiments.  We will explore organizational dynamics, processes that encourage learning, supports that leaders need, critical elements in the arc of discovery, and the challenges of embedding habits of ongoing evaluation.

Abundance in Scarcity: Evaluation Capacity Building for Low-Resourced Nonprofits

Molly Pringle & Allie Dyer, Call to Safety

This workshop will highlight strategies for low-resourced nonprofits to evaluate their services and create positive impacts for participants in the process. Drawing on empowerment-based, participatory, and feminist evaluation frameworks, attendees will learn how Call to Safety, a Portland-based nonprofit, has grown a culture of evaluation and improvement that involves service users as meaningful decision makers in shaping services and programs. We’ll share Call to Safety’s experience redefining expertise and rigor within their responsive evaluation approach, placing the power of evaluation in the hands of participants. Discussion will center on identifying the unique value of participatory evaluation, practical strategies for prioritizing equity in participatory evaluation, and anticipating and overcoming challenges within participatory evaluation.

Making Evaluation Actionable: Lessons Learned from PSU’s Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Program Evaluation

Billie Sandberg and Eric Einspruch, The Nonprofit Institute at Portland State University

Recent research indicates that nonprofits struggle with building capacity for program evaluation. PSU’s Nonprofit Institute (NPI) launched a Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Program Evaluation in 2016 to build evaluation capacity among nonprofits in Oregon. In this interactive roundtable discussion, program participants and instructors will share their experiences from the program’s inaugural year. Discussion will focus on sharing lessons learned around building individual competencies to conduct program evaluations as well as developing a culture of evaluation in nonprofits. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of panelists and discuss their own experiences building a culture of evaluation in their nonprofits.

Theory of Change & Theory of Action to improve government evaluation capacity,

Elizabeth O’Neill, Research & Evaluation Program Supervisor, Multnomah County Dept of Human Services; Aging, Disability & Veterans Services Division and Julia Love, Senior Research & Evaluation Analyst, Multnomah County Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division

This interactive session will share how Theory of Change and Theory of Action has been used to articulate program assumptions and improve evaluation capacity for a local government social service system. Learn how program theory has fueled performance management by changing strategic planning, aligning funding, and increasing evaluation capacity.  This workshop will include an overview of the participatory process, examples of products that describe program and population outcomes, and an interactive component where workshop attendees will build a layered Theory of Change. The work centers on progress improving evaluation capacity at Multnomah County Department of County Human Services.  The session will have a theoretical overview and then a practical application of a performance management model build. It will conclude with the lessons learned instituting change through participatory methods.

Building Capacity through Partnership: The Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research,

John Watzke, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, School of Education, University of Portland

This presentation describes how the Multnomah County Partnership for Education Research builds capacity for a sustained research agenda focused on P-12 problems of practice by 1) establishing a multi-year rollout of infrastructure; 2) utilizing a self-sustaining financial model; 3) leveraging the resources of a non-profit research organization (NWEA), university (University of Portland), and six school districts; and 4) preparing doctoral candidates working within these districts. This session will provide information on how to establish such a partnership to provide real-time research, as well as build session attendees’ capacity to conduct program evaluation using examples of authentic, partnership projects.


Book Grab
Do you have evaluation and research methods books gathering dust on your office shelves? Are you ready to refresh your evaluation library with that amazing 2016 issue of New Directions for Evaluation focused on “Evaluation and Facilitation”? If so, gather up those books and journals and bring them to the conference to support our first annual Book Grab! If you’re looking to downsize your library, we’re here to help. And if you’re just getting started in your evaluation career, this might be your first stop at the conference!! Contact Kari Greene ([email protected]) if you have a particularly large library to donate and we can pick up your materials the week before the conference.

Information exchange

This interactive activity encourages participants to share with each other what they learned at their sessions. A great opportunity to learn, network, and share.


Post Conference Happy Hour 

Enjoy light appetizers and a no host bar. This is a great opportunity to socialize with colleagues, and unwind from the day. It will take place immediately following the conference in the Double Tree hotel lobby.



Early bird pricing (by 9/1/17)

  • Non-Member: $165
  • Student (with current OPEN student membership): $65
  • Member: $125

Regular pricing

  • Non-Member: $195
  • Student (with current OPEN student membership): $95
  • Member: $155



Gold sponsor: The Nonprofit Institute at Portland State University 


Sponsorship opportunities

Interested in sponsoring? Please contact OPEN Conference sponsorship coordinator Sandra Stalkis at [email protected].



Contact Conference chair, Chari Smith at [email protected].

Hotel Information

Coming from out of town? The Double Tree is fully booked for the date of the OPEN Conference. However, Hotel Eastlund and the Marriott Courtyard are close by.


October 4, 2017
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
$65 – $165
Event Categories:


Double Tree Hotel, Lloyd Center
1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR 97232 United States
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Who's Attending

93 people are attending OPEN 2017 Conference: Encouraging Excellence through Evaluation Capacity Building


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2017 OPEN Conference Non-Member Registration
Early bird pricing (by 9/1/17): $165<br> Regular pricing (after 9/1/17): $195
$ 195.00
123 available
2017 OPEN Conference Student Registration
Early bird pricing (by 9/1/17): $65 <br> Regular pricing (after 9/1/17): $95
$ 95.00
123 available
2017 OPEN Conference Member Registration
Early bird pricing (by 9/1/17): $155 <br> Regular pricing (after 9/1/17): $125
$ 155.00
123 available