In 2011, the Student Academic Support Services cluster initiated an assessment pilot study of its 4 departments to learn assessment methods from one another and to provide a professional development for its directors. After the success and growth in assessment knowledge, the cluster proposed a division-wide assessment effort.

The Assessment Initiative was founded and the Student Affairs Assessment Team (SAAT) was officially convened in 2014. SAAT’s goal was to formally launch the Division of Student Affairs’ Assessment Initiative and build capacity for a consistent level of assessment competency across all 29 departments. Training, collaboration and the implementation of an assessment activity would serve as the foundation for a comprehensive assessment effort and communication plan for Student Affairs.

Assessment Initiative: “Weaving Assessment through the Fabric of Student Affairs.”
Michael D. Young March 2014

Assessment Initiative was established to develop a comprehensive assessment effort and communication plan for the division. Student Affairs departments were actively practicing assessment and evaluation. The missing piece was the avenue to formally report the findings back to each other and to the campus. Closing the loop on assessment is an important step in the assessment cycle and for understanding and sharing the impact of department and division efforts. Assessment areas include the impact of services on student learning, engagement and development and the efficiency of operational and IT services to support student and campus needs.

Participation in department and division assessment activities provides staff and managers the opportunity to practice the core principles of assessment and evaluation. Theoretical frameworks that can be utilized by Student Affairs include the competencies for the profession as outlined in national organizations, such as NASPA, ACPA, WASC Senior College & University Commission and Council of Advancement of Standards for Higher Education, including our very own UC core competencies.

In a review of Student Affairs’ assessment studies, ongoing training and assessment activities were found to be necessary for staff to continue to grow and practice assessment and evaluation skills. Regular training is designed to meet the goals of the Academic Initiative and keep the division staff active in learning. The elements of the Initiative’s design are noted below.

A Communication Plan to the campus, division and stakeholders through the sharing of department assessment efforts and findings:

  • gives evidence of the impact of Student Affairs’ diverse services
  • gathers the information necessary to improve its services and
  • works toward greater efficiency and collaboration.

An Annual Report was chosen as the method for the Division of Student Affairs to practice an assessment effort together, increase collaboration and share assessment findings.

Community of Practice (COP) on assessment related themes was introduced to extend professional development to interested staff and to keep assessment embedded in everyday Student Affairs’ practice.

Mentorship is provided to each department by SAAT members who partner with department liaisons to assist with assessment outcomes, measures and communication.