The Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Group (SETIG) was a community created within the American Evaluation Association to provide a forum for ongoing conversation about the use of systems thinking and systems theory in evaluation.

SETIG developed from a series of sessions held during the 2002 AEA Annual Meeting in Washington DC that focused on systems theory and systems thinking. The TIG held its first planning meeting in Atlanta in 2004 (attendance: 4), and sponsored its first sessions in the 2005 AEA conference in Toronto.

SETIG focuses on the use of systems thinking and systems theory as a framework for evaluation planning, design, implementation, analysis, and reporting, across a wide range of content areas, and using a diverse array of evaluation approaches, research methods, and data collection and analysis tools.

Areas of interest to TIG members include:

  • Evaluation approaches that use systems theory to plan, design, and implement evaluation
  • Discussion about how to ground evaluation methods and approaches in systems thinking and theory
  • The contributions of diverse perspectives in understanding issues related to the use of systems thinking and theory in evaluation

TIG leadership places a priority on welcoming members at all levels of experience, comfort, and familiarity with systems thinking. We have a diverse membership of professionals from 35+ countries spanning a wide range of experience in systems thinking and in evaluation. Several members have published books focusing on systems thinking and evaluation, and a number of TIG members have served on the AEA Board, including 2014 AEA President Beverly Parsons.

A priority for the TIG has been to craft offerings and activities that are both interesting and accessible to all systems thinkers, whether novice or experienced. As a result, we’ve seen the focus of our conference sessions evolve along the following lines:

  • defining this thing called systems thinking
  • how we’re using systems thinking in our work
  • how we can support others in the use of systems thinking in evaluation practice
  • developing guiding principles for the use of systems thinking in program evaluation

The SETIG Leadership

The SETIG Leadership Team consists of multiple positions: co-chairs, co-program chairs, and connectivity leads. Each member of the leadership team holds a two-year term, with a previously elected member overlapping with newly elected members to allow a smooth transition. Each role includes the following responsibilities among others that individuals bring to the role: 

  • Co-Chair: lead the TIG by organizing the TIG business meeting at AEA conferences, hosting leadership meetings during the year, representing the TIG in AEA meetings  
  • Program co-chair: coordinate peer review process for AEA conference sessions and work with co-chairs to organize virtual networking and learning sessions between conferences 
  • Communications lead: keep website updated, send announcements to members, and use social media to connect TIG members 

Elections are usually held by online ballot, with the newly elected leadership being announced at the following SETIG Annual Meeting.

You may contact the leadership team through their individual emails, through systemsinevaluationtig@gmail.com, or through this form.

2024 SETIG Leadership

Brittany N. Dernberger, PhD, Co-Chair (2023-2025)
Senior Manager, Systems-Level Impact

I’m a friendly Midwesterner who now calls Washington, DC home, and I’m motivated by the power of data and storytelling to create social change. In my current role, I lead global initiatives to assess and scale solutions that address the root causes of gender inequality at CARE and am a part-time faculty member at George Washington University. As a Sociologist, I enjoy thinking about social problems from a systems perspective, and to wrestle with how we measure complex, intangible, systems-level changes and impact. I’m excited to meet—and learn from—others in the SETIG community!


Email: brittany.dernberger@care.org

Hayat Askar, MA, Co-Chair & Journal Club Lead (2023-2025)
Monitoring and Evaluation Section Head - State Organization / Jordan
Graduate of Public Policy and Program Evaluation / Carleton University

A passionate evaluator who is enthusiastic about learning and observing the impact of evaluation in our daily lives. Throughout my career, I have collaborated with a diverse range of stakeholders, including those from the public and private sectors as well as international donors. In addition to my full time job,  I am a research assistant at Carleton University contributing to an evaluation of the spending reviews process both in Canada and globally. Volunteering plays a significant role in both my professional and personal life, as I believe that every one of us has something unique to add and as groups we can build synergies. As the Journal Club lead, I am excited to bring together diverse perspectives from the Systems in Evaluation field and to facilitate discussions that can lead to deeper insights and hopefully foster a sense of community.


Email: hayat.askar@gmail.com

Tze-Chang Liu, PhD, Co-Program Chair (2023-2025)
Institute of Professional Development for Educators
Center of Teacher Education
National Chung Hsing University, Associate Professor

I have been a member of AEA for almost ten years. I'm currently working closely with the Taiwan Ministry of Education in digital learning and STEAM education. Therefore, I have conducted many evaluation practices and research. I also have experience in international collaboration.

Email: tcliu0215@gmail.com

Tanushree Banerjee, Co-Program Chair (2024-2026)
Doctoral Student, Research, Assessment, & Evaluation concentration, School of Education, Ph.D. program, Virginia Commonwealth University 

I am a doctoral student in the Research, Assessment, and Evaluation concentration, of the Ph.D. in Education program in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. One of the emphases of the Ph.D. program is to integrate theory and practice. As part of this program, I had the opportunity to work on a large-scale program evaluation of an Urban Residency Teacher Preparation Program. 

Traditionally, a program theory of change emphasizes a linear causal linkage to support intended program outcomes.  My doctoral research focuses on non-linearity and complexities of a program as part of a larger system.  This research examines how systems-thinking approaches to program evaluation are used and how the study interactions among multiple program components can guide program improvement and progress towards outcomes.   

Email: banerjeet@vcu.edu 

Tjip Walker, MPA, PhD, Co-Program Chair (2024 – 2026)

Director, The Systems Practice Lab

I am an international development thought leader, an accomplished systems practitioner, and currently the director of The Systems Practice Lab, a consultancy dedicated to applying systems thinking to complex social problems. 

Previously, I served in several senior positions over a 25-year career with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in Washington and overseas. One of my responsibilities was establishing USAID’s Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research and serving as its inaugural deputy director. More recently, I led the Agency’s efforts to articulate and implement the Local Systems Framework, USAID’s commitment to sustained development that puts systems change at the center of its workIn support of that effort, I worked across USAID to spread good systems practice by encouraging innovation, facilitating an internal community of practice with over 400 members, identifying promising tools and approaches, and integrating them into Agency programming. Identifying and disseminating ways to measure and evaluate systems change was an important—and challenging—part of that work. 

Email: tjipwalker@pm.me 

Luis Paganelli Marin, PhD, Webinar/TIG Cross Pollination Lead (2023-2025)
Research Writer, Evaluations 
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

I’m an evaluator in the Office of Community Healthy and Research at UAMS in northwest Arkansas. I've been an evaluator for nearly 16 months, and my training is in English studying multi-ethnic literature of the U.S. I continue to be fascinated by evaluations and look forward to learning from and sharing with this community.


Email: lpmarin@uams.edu