ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute Recap

ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute Recap

2023 Assessment Institute Faculty

(Backrow: Paul Holliday-Millard, Heather Strine-Patterson, Melissa Brown, Kristyn Muller, Sarah LaFrance, Chris Patterson, Shaun Boren, and Jerri-Ann Berry Danso. 

Frontrow: Jennifer Lowman, Amy Pilcher, Britt Spears-Rhymes, Ciji Heiser, Renee Delgado-Riley, and Shae Robinson)


Last month, ACPA and its Commission for Assessment and Evaluation hosted their Student Affairs Assessment Institute in Chicago, IL. I had the pleasure of serving as co-chair of this year’s institute with Dr. Shaun Boren from the University of Florida. For the 20th anniversary of the institute, we hosted the keynote speakers Drs. becky martinez, Gavin Henning (one of the founders of the institute in 2003), and Anne Lundquist. Furthermore, the co-chairs and its faculty worked for almost a year to re-imagine and modernize the institute experience and curriculum by infusing equity assessment practices, updating the three tracks so that they are better aligned with participant roles at their campuses, and building more intentional ways for faculty and institute attendees to engage. 

Following a cohort model, when registering for the institute, attendees selected to participate in one of the three tracks: Foundations, Practitioners, or Administrators. 

  • Sessions in the Foundations Track primarily focused on building foundational assessment knowledge and skills for individuals with limited training or experience with assessment. This track was ideal for someone who was new to new to assessment, regardless of their position. Faculty presented on the following topics: assessment cycle, basic terminology, data ethics, writing learning and program outcomes, basic quantitative and qualitative methods, and report results. 

  • Sessions in the Practitioners Track focused on expanding assessment knowledge and skills for individuals tasked with championing assessment for one or more departments. This track was specifically designed for individuals who have some assessment experience but want to improve their ability to meet the assessment demands of their job. Faculty presented on the following topics: more advanced quantitative and qualitative methods, survey design, interviews & focus groups, data cleaning and analysis, and data visualization.

  • Sessions in the Administrators Track focused on supplementing assessment knowledge and skills for leaders of a department, division, college, or university. This track was intentionally designed for individuals who’ve done some assessment but want to build your application of assessment as a unit leader. Faculty in this track presented on the following topics: strategic planning, prioritization, alignment with campus partners, storytelling, and using results.


Including the two co-chairs, there were a total 14 institute faculty. Each track consisted of four faculty from across the country that represented diverse institution sizes and types. Faculty came from large, land grant universities; small liberal arts colleges; and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Our faculty were pivotal to the success of the institute and we’re especially proud that many of them are well known in our field as published authors, presenters, and changemakers; but they are also excellent student affairs practitioners. 

Beyond the track curriculum, this year’s institute provided space for institute attendees to have one-on-one consultations with faculty. This allowed attendees to directly apply what they were learning with real life examples from their respective campuses. Additionally, we built in structured time for networking at Chicago’s Skydeck and SAAL hosted a reception at Chicago’s famous Giordano’s Pizza. As we all know in SAAL, networking and building community is so important to our work, because of that we wanted to make sure we infuse that in this year’s institute.

Given the threats to higher education in many areas around the country, especially on topics related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); the institute’s planning community believed it was critical to spend as much time as possible on training attendees on how to infuse equity-centered assessment practices into their work. Our day 1 keynote speaker was Dr. becky martinez. Dr. martinez, a nationally known speaker and educator on social justice, challenged all of us to reflect on our own power, privilege, and positionality and how that impacts our assessment efforts. Our day 2 keynote speakers were Drs. Gavin Henning and Anne Lundquist, leaders in student affairs assessment. They led the institute in a two hour workshop that provided participants with a toolbox of resources that they can take back to their campus to implement equity-centered assessment. 


ACPA’s Student Affairs Assessment Institute is an annual event, so be on the lookout for next year’s institute! It will take place June 25-28, 2024 in the greater Los Angeles, California area. Many of the faculty for the institute are members of SAAL and its co-chairs typically recruit from its membership, so look out for an email in early spring 2024! 


Published by Paul Holliday-Millard, Ed.D., SAAL Blog Manager and Senior Research Associate at UNC Charlotte



Go Back


Blog Search