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Student Affairs Assessment, Research, and Evaluation

The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) nurtures innovation, the application of best practices, and program and service improvements through an established culture of evidence that values meaningful assessment, research, and evaluation practices. Meaningfulness comes from the alignment to university goals and student learning outcomes, from the division specific student learning outcomes, from unique and specific areas that programs and services plan to impact, and from our students own voices.

The following are ways in which the DSA asserts its commitment to assessment, research, and evaluation: 

Culture of Evidence

  • All departments in the division participate in assessment practices, leading to annual assessment reports, poster presentations, and scheduled program reviews
  • All departments have a person assigned to coordinate assessment within their department and to represent their department in the DSA Assessment Team.
  • Departments conduct numerous assessments each year because they are committed to learning about the impact they have on students learning and development, and to finding areas where improvements or changes are needed.

Assessment Structure

  • The AVP of Student Affairs Administration leads to assessment, research, and evaluation initiatives within the division and provides oversight to the Assessment Team, and soon to the Educational Learning and Assessment Specialist
  • The DSA's Assessment Team (formerly SADAC) is charged with leading and implementing divisional assessment and planning
  • The Assessment Team Chair organizes the team around planning and tasks that assist the division's accomplishment of assessment goals
  • A representative from each department is assigned to the Assessment Team to ensure that all departments contribute to the direction the division takes in relation to assessment, research, and evaluation practices
  • Student Affairs and Academic Affairs partner for the Stories of Successful Learning event, which is an assessment poster session presenting all work done across the university around SLOs

Assessment Plan

  • Capacity building-with the purpose of increasing knowledge and assessment competencies, the DSA has offered training sessions that build capacity among staff around assessment practices that tap into student learning and development outcomes, psycho-social and behavioral outcomes, and program and service outcomes
  • Information and resources- the DSA provided information and relevant literature online that supports staff in developing their knowledge about assessment, such as how assessment is defined, the assessment cycle, assessment terms, definitions, methodology, closing the loop, and more. Accessible online information and resources allow for staff to work at their own pace
  • Cycle of assessment- at the end of every school year, departments are expected to submit DSA assessment reports based on assessments that have been implemented throughout the year; in the beginning of each school year, departments are asked to produce assessment posters for the Stories of Successful Learning poster event
  • Cycle of program reviews- each year, a specified number of program reviews take place following an alternating schedule where all departments are expected to be reviewed at least once every five years (this will be less now that the division has fewer departments due to university wide-restructuring)
  • Diversity in assessment formats and presentation- assessment reports, assessment posters, and assessment presentations have been recurring ways through which the division shares information about assessment practices

Aligning with divisional SLOs

  • Through the assessment report template, staff are asked to identify how their assessment work aligns with divisional student learning outcomes, tying all work to the goals of the division

Closing the loop

  • Using assessment, research, and evaluation results to create change and make improvements is a divisional (and university-wide) priority
  • The assessment report template includes a "Next Steps" section that was strategically placed there to have everyone reflect and plan on how the results would be used to make changes or improvements, making this a natural step in the process for everyone

Robust database and respository

  • Assessment reports, posters, presentations, program reviews/evaluations, accreditation reports, and other information are collected from all departments and stored in a divisional assessment shared file, as well as uploaded to the website

Information sharing and transparency

  • The DSA shares assessment, research, and evaluation work and outcomes through its website, a poster session event (Stories of Successful Learning), and presentations
  • The division values information sharing and transparency with all stakeholders so they know what is working well and what is being improved, and are able to contribute to the conversation

Dedicated resources

  • The DSA has invested resources to enhance assessment in the division through the use of CampusLabs, an online data collection system and survey tool that provides access and consultation services to staff for constructing sound assessment projects
  • CampusLabs provides summary data that can be utilized for reporting and information sharing purposes, and allows for benchmarking with other participating institutions

Connecting assessment work with WSCUC

  • Information on the institutional review process is shared through the assessment website, emphasizing the importance of keeping the "big picture" in mind- how our work should be connecting to university goals and learning outcomes, and how we contribute to the achievement of such