The Division of Student Affairs maintains a robust assessment portfolio focused on enhancing student learning, satisfaction, retention and success through co-curricular programs and services. Our framework includes seven types of assessment and is carried out by the members of our Division and the Student Affairs Assessment Council, with support from the University.
The authors of Student Affairs Assessment: A guide for practitioners describe different types of assessment based on the level of assessment complexity (Upcraft and Schuh, 1996). Our division uses these types of assessment as a framework to guide our initiatives and engages in activities to address each of these areas. Our framework is supported and sustained by our assessment infrastructure, which provides the means for carrying these activities. Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, equipment, software, policies and procedures, assessment plans, assessment scheduling, professional development opportunities and other assessment resources.
|Alignment with Professional Standards||Benchmarking/ Comparison Studies||Outcomes Assessment (Learning)||Campus Climate||Student Satisfaction||Student Needs Assessment||Utilization Data|
Several professional organizations have developed standards to guide the practices of their members. For the Division of the Student Affairs, the majority of these standards are created by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS); however, individual departments may follow standards set by their respective professional organizations (e.g., National Association of Colleges and Employers). Some departments within the Division of Student Affairs also have the option of pursuing formal accreditation for their specific area and have chosen to do so (e.g., Department of Counseling and Psychological Services).
This type of assessment involves comparing aspects of the home institution (e.g., organizational structures, staffing, programs, services, spaces, policies) to other universities and colleges. These studies can be particularly helpful in orienting new leaders, informing strategic plans, and determining whether or not to pursue new initiatives. The success of benchmarking studies depends on the extent to which each peer institution is comparable to the home institution's characteristics (e.g., student population, location, organizational structure). Assessment and institutional research staff are often involved in benchmarking studies and can provide support in creating a tailored list of peer institutions.
Often referred to as "assessment" by faculty, this type of project looks at the level of learning that occurs inside and outside of the classroom. National organizations have published frameworks to guide the development of learning outcomes in higher education (e.g., Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, Association of American Colleges and Universities, National Association of Colleges and Employers). There are typically four levels of learning outcomes: university, divisional, department, and program.
This type of assessment focuses on the quality of a person's experience but is not limited strictly to satisfaction. The term "campus climate" is often used when studying topics such as diversity and inclusion, behavior/conduct, and space layout and design.
Satisfaction assessments look at the quality of a particular aspect of the college experience. These types of assessments may be focused on overall experiences, technology, facilities, programs, services, processes and more.
This type of assessment is used to determine what students need in order to be successful. Topics might include, but are not limited to, health and wellness, academic support, diversity and inclusion, facilities, accommodations, safety, parking, dining, housing, and more.
Utilization studies involve data regarding participation in programs, events, services, etc. This type of data can be combined with a variety of other data to assist staff in better understanding students who are/are not engaged on campus as well as the level of impact programs and services have on the student experience.
The Student Affairs Assessment Council is made up of members of the WCU community who are responsible for assessment activities and/or interested in learning more about co-curricular assessment.
To work with staff and faculty to improve the quality of co-curricular programs and services, student learning, retention and success through the intentional use of data.
The Assessment Council will:
Adapted from the previous WCU Assessment Council mission and the University of Oregon Student Affairs Assessment Council.
|Amanda Thomas (Chair)||Assessment and Planning|
|Brynn Cronagle||Campus Recreation|
|Chamapuwa Tinago||Residence Life and Housing Services|
|Jared Brown||New Student Programs|
|Jodi Roth-Saks||Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs|
|Justin Brown||Residence Life and Housing Services|
|Maegan Cruz||Residence Life and Housing Services|
|Marion McKinney||Residence Life and Housing Services|
|Sandy Jones||Off-Campus and Commuter Services|
|Sherry Mendez||Wellness Promotion|
|Susan Visoskas||Housing and Dining Administration|
|Terrell Bennett||Residence Life and Housing Services|
The Division of Student Affairs partners with Academic Affairs to promote and enhance student learning that occurs both within and outside of the classroom. To focus their efforts, the Division created a set of seven learning outcomes, which were informed heavily by the pivotal document in the student affairs field, Learning reconsidered: A campus-wide focus on the student experience (NASPA/ACPA, 2004) , which promotes holistic learning and the idea that the entire campus is a learning community.
Learning outcomes are what we expect students to be able to do, know, or achieve as a result of their engagement. Student Affairs strives to engage students in learning opportunities that support one or more of the seven learning outcomes, or a particular set of learning outcomes they have developed for a specific department or program. Below are resources to assist Student Affairs staff in the development and assessment of learning outcomes.
Student Affairs uses assessment to provide data that support strategic priorities and initiatives, as well as to improve our programs and services that support student learning, retention, and success.
This training is for faculty, staff and students who are planning research and assessment initiatives. After completing the training, individuals can add the certification to their resume and will also be eligible to submit an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application to request pre-approval to share assessment/research results externally (conferences, poster sessions, publications, etc.).
The training involves a series of online modules and quizzes about the assessment/research team's responsibility to protect participants from harm and the ethical principles set forth by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Although completion times vary based on personal learning and study styles, most staff complete the training in four hours or less.
Like many universities, WCU uses an external company, the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program, to provide the training. The Social Behavioral Research - Basic Refresher track is recommended for most Student Affairs staff. Individuals who receive the certification must complete additional training (prior to the certificate expiration) in order to maintain it long term.
Each college/university determines the training requirements for their campus. Individuals can contact the WCU Institutional Review Board about the possibility of transferring completed coursework from another institution.
For more information, please contact Amanda Thomas or visit the WCU Institutional Review Board website.
Baseline is an assessment program purchased by the Division of Student Affairs that provides rubric and survey capabilities.
After sending your survey to our CampusLabs representative, they will work with their team to create the survey in Baseline (please provide a few weeks for the design and editing process). The Baseline Support Center and Baseline Tips Document are available to assist staff with survey questions.
RamConnect is a community engagement platform purchased by the Division of Student Affairs. Features include portals for community groups (e.g., student organizations, administrative committees), an events calendar, news feeds, forms and more. For assessment purposes, RamConnect offers a common place offices to store event attendance data, group rosters, and leadership positions. Pre-/post-tests can be also administered through the forms function.
Qualtrics is a survey program purchased by the WCU Institutional Research Office and managed by the WCU. It provides several survey features in a user-friendly interface. In Qualtrics, staff can design and administer their own surveys.
iClickers (also known as personal response systems) are handheld devices that participants can use to submit real-time responses to questions during a session. They are useful for guiding conversations during sessions and assessing learning and satisfaction at the end of a program. Approximately 80 devices can be reserved through the WCU Digital Corner. Training on using the equipment and information about how iClickers have been used successfully by others are also provided.
Kahoot! is similar to iClickers, however this service is offered online and relies on participants to provide their own devices.
In partnership with NASPA and other professional organizations, CampusLabs has created benchmarking surveys for the following areas:
These can be particularly valuable for staff who want to better understand how their areas compare to other institutions. There is no additional cost for our departments to participate however, an Institutional Review Board application is required for each study.
Running Focus Groups Presentation
Focus Group Quick Reference Sheet
Assessment Reporting Template
Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education Standards
Organizations may consider hiring external evaluators for several reasons, some of which include the following:
When selecting an evaluator, take the following criteria into consideration:
For more information about the external evaluator search process and a list of potential evaluators, please contact Amanda Thomas.
For additional information about the topics above and the topics listed below, please contact Amanda Thomas, Executive Director of Assessment and Planning.