Join us in congratulating

Kate McKegg, Debbie Goodwin, Judy Oakden & Jacqui Henry
2019 AEA Outstanding Evaluation Award Winners

and Jane Davidson
2019 AEA Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award Winner

On Friday 15th November, the American Evaluation Association recognised nine individuals and one team for their outstanding contributions to evaluation theory, methodology, and practice, and their dedication to furthering the disciplines of evaluation and the association. Awards are provided only to recognise truly exemplary performance.

This included our very own Kate McKegg, Judy Oakden, Debbie Goodwin, Jacqui Henry, and Jane Davidson.

What an incredible achievement! The AEA awards are considered the most prestigious evaluation awards in the world with an extremely competitive pool of nominees.

Kate, Judy, Debbie, Jacqui, and Jane received two of the six awards presented this year. This groundbreaking representation reflects the significant impact kiwi evaluators are having on the world stage.

Kate McKegg, Debbie Goodwin, Judy Oakden, Jacqui Henry
Waikato Regional Council
2019 AEA Outstanding Evaluation Award

Waikato Regional Council invested in a Developmental Evaluation as part of a collaborative stakeholder process to successfully agree on ways of managing water quality and use for diverse populations. This high-stakes evaluation was a trailblazing, three-year journey working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders in a highly contested setting. Significant for the evaluation field this project demonstrates high quality and effective Developmental Evaluation using an evaluation-specific methodology.

Kate McKegg led the evaluation in partnership with Judy Oakden and Debbie Goodwin. All are experienced independent New Zealand evaluators from the Kinnect Group and Tuakana Teina Evaluation Collective. Each brought unique skills to the project. Kate specializes in supporting evaluative thinking and practice, skillfully navigating complex settings where people innovate to create systems change. Judy built on complexity theory models and methods and systems thinking approaches to choose wise actions in ambiguous settings. Debbie Goodwin (Ngai Tūhoe,Whakatōhea) brought a crucial kaupapa Māori lens ensuring a Māori worldview was included in all aspects of the evaluation.  Jacqui Henry (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Wairere, Ngāti Maniapoto, NgātiPourahui) Senior Social Scientist at Waikato Regional Council provided an essential bridge between the evaluators, the Collaborative Stakeholder Group and the internal Waikato Regional Council team supporting the process to help drive the project forward.

“For Waikato Regional Council, winning the award affirms that our investment in evaluation for the collaborative stakeholder process was absolutely the right thing to do. We are extremely proud to be associated with the Kinnect Group and Tuakana Teina Evaluation Collective. We relied on their guidance and expertise, together with our Senior Social Scientist, Jacqui Henry, who maintained oversight of the program through many difficult twists and turns.

The evaluation award demonstrates to the organization, alongside River Iwi (tribes) and all stakeholders involved in the policy process, the value to be gained from evaluation as a key component of any project. We are thrilled to represent the academic and research expertise that is available in Aotearoa/New Zealand and stand proudly on the world stage and be acknowledged in this way.”

Jane Davidson, Ph.D. Principal, Real Evaluation LLC
2019 AEA Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award

Jane Davidson is best known for pioneering the increasingly popular Evaluation Rubrics Methodology, which guides evaluation teams and stakeholders to make their evaluative reasoning systematic, transparent, culturally responsive, credible, and valid. She has also developed a number of practical methodologies and approaches for the systematic synthesis of findings to form higher-level evaluative conclusions, as well as causal inference for qualitative and mixed methods. Dr. Davidson is the author of the Sage text, Evaluation Methodology Basics, which covers the methodologies that are distinctive to evaluation and typically missing from training in applied social science research. She is currently working on several new books, including one on Rubrics-Enhanced Evaluation.

Dr. Davidson is former Associate Director of The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University, where (alongside Dr. Daniel Stufflebeam) she designed, launched, and directed the world’s first fully interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation. After an 11-year stint back home in New Zealand working across multiple sectors, she is excited to have moved back to the States and is now based in Seattle. Dr. Davidson is sought after internationally as a keynote speaker, evaluation coach, workshop and webinar presenter, and creator of awesome evaluation frameworks and tools. You can find her at

“I am so humbled and honored to receive this high award, and also excited that AEA has recognized the importance of making evaluation actually evaluative. We all know Michael Scriven’s definition of evaluation as the determination of merit, worth, or significance, but there was never much guidance on exactly how that evaluative reasoning should be done, and as a result, it seldom was. In two and a half decades of developing rubrics methodology for program, policy, strategy, personnel, and proposal evaluation with some amazing colleagues, between us we have amassed a deep repertoire of practice-based theory, including which values should be front and center (and why), and how evaluative reasoning is validly done.”