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SAAL Blog

Advancing curiosity, equity, justice, and intentionality.

Barriers to Intentional Assessment

Recent posts on the SAAL blog have examined the importance of intentionality in the assessment cycle. The posts hit on one of the most significant hindrances to good assessment practice in student affairs work, specifically, that assessment initiatives require intentionality to be effective. Unfortu…

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Much Ado About Dashboards

The first assessment project that I ever worked on took me down a rabbit hole.  It was a major survey project that asked our first year students about their experiences during their first semester on campus.  Not only did we wind up with a good response rate, but we also had a number of dedicated pa…

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Promoting the Use of Assessment Results

Working with graduate students is great. There are a host of reasons for this, but one primary reason for me is that they keep you on your toes professionally. They ask tough questions that drive one to reflect on one’s own practice, think critically about the use of theory, and adopt different lens…

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Building a Bridge Between Student Affairs and Institutional Research

As data and assessment become more important across the university, making strong connections and collaborations with key partners should be a top priority for every Student Affairs assessment professional.  My colleague and fellow SAAL blogger, Melinda Stoops, shared her view on The Power of Coll…

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Why you should be colleagues with your technology people - and not just when something breaks

I’m not a programmer, coder, and/or software engineer. Sometimes I wish I was - the magical things that can happen when one understands the inner workings of creating things that work for computers is something I’ve always been impressed by. However, since I’m not a computer marvel, I’ve found great…

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The Power of Collaboration in Assessment Efforts

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)

I recently sent a survey to all Student Affairs employees at my University.  Within minutes, I received an email from a staff member reporting that she completed the survey, but had difficulties with a specific questi…

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You’re a Data Person: Building Data Literacy

A few years ago, I interviewed for my first job in student affairs assessment and to start the conversation one of the interviewers said to me, “So…you’re a data person.”  At the time, I did not know how to respond. Certainly while I was in graduate school I developed a strong background in quantita…

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Performance Measures to Get You to Your Destination

I was recently chatting with a colleague about performance measures. They were sharing with me a less-than-positive experience having been in an organization that used performance measures in connection with their strategic plan. As we spoke I was reminded that performance measures can be a mixed ba…

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Embracing Sisyphus or My First Year Leading University Assessment

I was an assessment ninja.

As a consultant, I could swoop into a campus, help re-establish, re-evaluate, or refine their assessment practice, and leave unnoticed. Nothing left behind but happy villagers and the memory of a moment in time when data started to inform practice.  My campus collaborat…

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Tools to help map the context of the student experience

Blurred colorful globe zoomed in on the united states

Recently, I was asked to talk to a K-20 partnership group about ways to think about student success that might exist in a “bigger picture” context that might go beyond our educational systems. This audience included administrators at our university as well as school officials such as superintend…

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