I spent the earlier part of the week (June 15-17) in Atlanta attending the AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Institute and, as usual, came away with some great information. I’ll be adding some separate blog entries about the sessions I attended, but I thought I would give a rundown on this particular event. The Summer Evaluation Institute is conducted jointly by the American Evaluation Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so many presenters and attendees were from the CDC – but those of us who attend the AEA conference or other evaluation training events found familiar names on the roll of presenters. The Summer Evaluation Institute differs from the AEA conference in that it is totally training-oriented – offering a limited number of educational sessions between 8:30 and 4:00 pm over 2.5 days. So you don’t feel conflicted over all the options of a conference and you have plenty of downtime to meet and network with colleagues. As you might expect, there is an emphasis on health-related evaluation in many of the sessions, but that emphasis appears more in the examples used by instructors – the evaluation techniques themselves are applicable across disciplines. The cost is reasonable. This year, the cost was $395 for AEA members (and CDC employees) and a little more for non-members. (Sorry I can’t be more specific: the fee is no longer listed at the AEA Web site now that the event is over). That fee includes three keynote speeches, a choice of training sessions each morning and “breakout” sessions in the afternoon. (I’m not sure how “training sessions” differed from “breakout sessions,” other than length of time – the training sessions were about an hour longer than the breakout sessions). It also includes breakfast and lunch on most days. Beginner workshops were offered on June 14 for an additional cost: “Quantitative Methods for Evaluation;” and “Introduction to Evaluation.” The Summer Evaluation Institute is held annually, so if you think you might be interested in the 2010 event, check out the AEA web site (eval.org) starting in March.