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Jessica Oyler Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives Weber State University ASSESSMENT IN STUDENT AFFAIRS (AND BEYOND)

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Presentation on theme: "Jessica Oyler Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives Weber State University ASSESSMENT IN STUDENT AFFAIRS (AND BEYOND)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Jessica Oyler Director of Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives Weber State University ASSESSMENT IN STUDENT AFFAIRS (AND BEYOND)


3 THINGS THAT HAVEN’T CHANGED Assessment has been a national discussion for almost 30 years. For community colleges overall: Accreditation is still a driving factor Followed by interest in improving learning and institutional commitment The heart of assessment is still the same… Improving student learning and development

4 ASSESSMENT TRENDS Everyone does assessment Portfolios, badges Direct assessment Strategic planning Incorporating student learning into program review

5 AND MORE TRENDS… Performance funding Making higher education accountable for results Institutional learning outcomes Lots and lots of tools.

6 WHAT INSTITUTIONS SPEND ON ASSESSMENT Institutions spend approximately $160,000 on assessment activities (although $108,000 is in salaries) 57% of institutions spend less than $25,000 on assessment resources including national surveys, exams, and books 65% of institutions use assessment software while 54% pay for that software.

7 OBSTACLES What do you believe are the primary barriers to engaging in outcomes-based assessment?

8 CategoryProperties Time competing priorities; added responsibility; unsure how to re-allocate responsibilities; a feeling of being overwhelmed when trying to approach doing this Resources professional development; time; rewards for engaging in outcomes-based assessment Knowledge and Skills do not know what assessment is or how to do it, do not know how to compose outcomes; do not know how to select and implement evaluation methods; anxiety over not knowing creates more anxiety Coordination of Processno central person to coordinate division efforts or to coordinate committee Conceptual Framework for Assessment having to overcome traditional and/or historical definitions of assessment; addressing Student Affairs' role in assessing student learning and development; unclear connection of process to academic processes and accreditation processes; unclear expectations for engaging in assessment Collaboration with Faculty faculty do not collaborate with student affairs folks and vise versa; faculty involvement is limited Trust varying levels of conceptual understanding for assessment across various levels of leadership; varying expectations across various levels of leadership; how will evidence be used; who will see evidence; varying degree of expectations for role of student affairs professionals in evaluating student learning and development Managing Expectations acknowledging what the goals of a program may be verses (a) how a program can actually deliver those goals; (b) the capacity of the staff to deliver the goals; (c) the knowledge of the staff to be able to deliver those goals; (d) therefore determining what the actual outcomes really are; clarifying the different between passion for what the outcomes should be and what they really can be (Banta, 2002; Bresciani, Moore Gardner, & Hickmott, 2009; Bresciani, 2006; Bresciani, Zelna, & Anderson, 2004; Palomba & Banta, 1999; Suskie, 2004; Upcraft & Schuh, 1996). OBSTACLES

9 TIME There is no “new” time Reallocating time based on priorities Implementing faculty release time and/or workshops and trainings at all levels.

10 Can be easily addressed through professional development workshops, the assistance of an assessment coordinator, or professional reading and applications Ensuring that everyone is on the same page (or at least in the same book) Making sure departmental, division, and institution goals and priorities are clearly articulated. UNDERSTANDING OF ASSESSMENT

11 RESOURCES Be very specific about what resources are required Ensure that they are really necessary Be creative with regard to where the resource need can be met Students Faculty Colleagues Implement rewards structures where possible.

12 COORDINATION OF THE PROCESS Develop a plan for assessment within your division or department Designate an individual or committee of individuals to help guide assessment processes Incorporate assessment into strategic planning and program review processes Consider incorporating assessment into job descriptions.

13 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSMENT Create clear expectations of purpose of engaging in assessment Articulating how planning at all levels fit together and what is being done with data Discussing how academic and student affairs collectively contribute to student learning Define what excellence looks like.

14 TRUST Enhanced by leadership commitment, transparency, and articulation of values Educate student affairs professionals regarding the use of data Educate faculty about student affairs professionals’ contributions to student learning Focus on what you have control over.

15 COLLABORATION WITH FACULTY Faculty Members Genuinely interact with faculty/staff and utilize feedback to improve the process Faculty /Administrators must have ownership of the process Show how this impacts the learning in the classroom Provide professional development opportunities Include assessment in the annual performance review Share the results of assessment and how they’re being used

16 Peers Share examples with each other Work together; oftentimes, we are assessing the same things Students Incorporate students in all facets of assessment planning and implementation, if your program is ready Community Members and employers. Remember that collaboration is a process of give and take. COLLABORATION WITH OTHERS

17 MANAGING EXPECTATIONS Acknowledge that our values may not be measurable Focus on the components of what we value that are measurable Acknowledge that we don’t always find what we think we will

18 SPECIFIC CHALLENGES FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES Varying student characteristics Much learning takes place outside of the university Less professional support Large numbers of adjunct faculty

19 THINGS TO CONSIDER Learning must be facilitated We are doing a LOT of assessment. We must make sure to disseminate results and keep the process transparent Make sure that you are willing and able to change that which you assess Keep it simple Every department and institution is different Maintain flexibility and structure

20 THINGS TO CONSIDER Identify and celebrate success Know the culture of your institution Have patience Start with those who are excited Consider both short and long term goals Discuss why you are engaging in assessment

21 THINGS TO CONSIDER Keep a pulse on staff engagement and knowledge Look at what you’re learning from your assessment plans Use assessment results to inform future decisions Don’t leave the plan on the shelf Ask stakeholders if they’re seeing what they expect Revise the assessment process


23 REFERENCES American Association of College and Universities. (2007). College learning for the new global century. Retrieved from Banta, T. W., & Associates. (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Bresciani, M. J. (2006). Outcomes-based academic and co-curricular program review: A compilation of institutional good practices. Sterling, VA: Stylus. Bresciani, M. J., Moore Gardner, M. M., & Hickmott, J. (2009). Demonstrating student success: A practical guide to outcomes-based assessment of learning and development in student affairs. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. Bresciani, M. J., Gardner, M. M., & Hickmott, J. (Eds.). (2009). Case studies in assessing student success. New Directions for Student Services, 127. Boston, MA: Jossey-Bass. Cooper, T., & Terrell, T. (2013). What are institutions spending on assessment? Is it worth the cost? Retrieved from nt%20Final.pdf Hanover research. (2013). Best and innovative practices in higher education assessment. Retrieved from Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J. A., Bridges, B. K., & Hayek, J. C. (2006). What matters to student success: A review of the literature. Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success: Spearheading a Dialog on Student Success. Retrieved from _report.pdf _report.pdf Nunley, C., Bers, T., & Manning, T. (2011). Learning outcomes assessment in community colleges. Retrieved from Schuh, J. H., & Gansamer-Topf, A. M. (2010). The role of student affairs in student learning assessment. Retrieved from

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