Thought Leaders

What is it?

Are you an AEA member? Click here to go directly to the Thought Leaders Discussion!

The AEA Thought Leader Discussion Series connects thought leaders in our field with AEA members, new and old alike. It is one of many ways we strive to build bridges among members and foster a sense of community. Most months, we host an asynchronous (not in real time) online exchange over the course of a week using AEA’s discussion forums. During each exchange, an established evaluator or theorist contributes daily to an online dialogue around issues of importance to the field and to our professional practice. As a participant, it is up to you whether to sit back and watch the exchange or become an active contributor, asking questions of the speaker and your participant colleagues or providing insights based on your own background and experiences.

Upcoming Thought Leader Discussions

Kathryn Newcomer and George Julnes
November 12- 19, 2014 

Join Kathryn Newcomer and George Julnes as they discuss the work of the AEA National Academy Task Force! The National Academy Task Force supports evaluation as a profession through a highly respected cadre of evaluation theorists, researchers, and practitioners that exemplify its value for generating theory and knowledge about effective, socially responsible human action in the public interest.   


George Julnes
, Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, has been teaching and conducting evaluations for 25 years.  He is currently a AEA board member and a section editor (Professional Values and Ethics) of the American Journal of Evaluation.  He is also on the editorial boards of New Directions for Evaluation, Evaluation and Program Planning, and the International Review of Public Administration.





Kathryn Newcomer
is the director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University.  She teaches graduated courses on public and nonprofit program evaluation, and research methods. She routinely conducts program evaluations for U.S. federal government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and conducts training on program evaluation in the U.S. and internationally.

Dr. Newcomer has published five books, including The Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (1994, 2nd edition 2004, 3rd edition 2010), and Transforming Public and Nonprofit Organizations: Stewardship for Leading Change (2008), and numerous articles in journals including the American Journal of Evaluation and Public Administration Review.  She serves on the Board of the American Evaluation Association, and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. She received her BS and MA at the University of Kansas and her PhD in political science at the University of Iowa.


How to Participate and Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens during the Discussion Series?

    A host will share information, via an email to the discussion list, about the week’s thought leader to provide background and context for the discussion. The thought leader will supplement that with her or his own emailed contribution to the list and then open up the forum to questions and dialogue. The participants and host are encouraged to share their reflections and questions. The thought leader and host will check emails throughout the week, and respond at least daily, to move the dialogue forward.

  • How does one sign up?

    The exchange takes place electronically via the AEA Thought Leaders Forum. AEA members may click here to go to the forum (you'll be prompted to log in if you are not already, or may select "Thought Leaders Discussions" from the Members Only menu at any time. You can read the discussion online, or we recommend using the "My Subscriptions" button on the left of the forum page to subscribe and receive the exchange via email.

  • If I sign up for one discussion, am I permanently registered for all of them?

    When you sign up to the Thought Leaders Forum, you will be in the discussion venue until you choose to remove your subscription or until your membership expires. If you choose, you may stay on from one to the next, or you may unsubscribe and resubscribe as discussants interest you.

  • May I participate if I am not a member?

    The Thought Leader Discussion Series is for members only. If you are not a member, we invite you to join AEA today and you will be able to participate in any discussion scheduled to start at least one week hence.

  • What should I do if I have questions or encounter problems?

    If you have any challenges signing up, or questions about participating, send your inquiry to the AEA office at and we will help you to get subscribed.

Thought Leaders Forum

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