Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

Taking a Step Back to Move Forward

For many of us, the summer is a time to look back at the previous year so that we can have perspective moving forward into a new academic year. In this blog entry, we will take a look back at the SAAL blogs posted so far this year (great chance to go back and read some you might have missed!) as well as look at upcoming topics and ways for our readers to get involved with the Blog Team!

Winter’s Welcome

We started off 2019 with a post that recognized the accomplishments of the first year of the SAAL blog and offered gratitude to those who helped make the blog possible. Talking about the nature of the blog to any newcomers, this post also introduced the bloggers for 2019 and alludes to what to expect from the blog this year. The next entry welcomed SAAL members into the new year, highlighted a couple of partnerships to advance assessment practice, and offered ideas to members about ways for them to engage more actively in the association. We closed out January with a blog on handling disagreement in practice productively and a review of themes discussed through the SAAL listserv between 2009 and 2018.

February brought us several posts regarding socially just assessment practices: one detailing how SAAL has become a collaborative partner in the Social Justice Assessment Project, another reflecting upon the future of assessment and its propensity for either social justice or the maintenance of the status quo via graduate higher education and student affairs graduate education, and an entry about the intersection between assessment and research practices and the act of advancing more equitable practices and outcomes in higher education. There was also a cleverly written blog that likens preparing for an assessment project to a dinner party, giving a broader perspective on the work needed to truly prepare for a large-scale assessment.

Warmer Weather Writings

Leaning into the spring, we continued our focus on culture and social justice with our entries, focusing on implementing equity into assessment practices and integrating social justice into assessment and closing the loop on our day to day practices. We also focused on some more logistical components of assessment, such as overcoming barriers, differences in approach while planning assessment projects, using the ICAT in practice, navigating unexpected results, as well as approaching assessment like an artist with one of their creative works. There was also an entry about how assessment professionals can combat burnout in their work, any many of us often overlook self-care in the interest of delivering results while typically being understaffed.

Finally, we started the summer with a blog discussing how we should be using assessment to bridge the gap between silos in our work, using musical harmony as an analogy for this concept. This leads to our most recent post that likens planning a vacation to planning an assessment project.

Focus for Fall

At present, we have reached what many call the last day of Student Affairs summer as we head into the busy season that is the month of August. We hope the posts so far this year have brought you insight, new knowledge, or raised critical questions for you to ponder in your practice. Reflecting on our work this year to date gives us focus for the months to follow. We hope the summer has been revitalizing for you (in more ways than one!) so that you can carry good energy and inspiration into the fall as we welcome students to campus and start a new academic year.

We would love to hear from you! What topics or ideas would help you make your student experiences great? What content might we offer to enhance your work world or grow your assessment competencies? Feel free to comment below and/or send us an email with thoughts.

That said, know your contributions don’t have to just be suggestions for us to tackle topics. We welcome guest blog posts from our readership! Just fill out this form and someone from SAAL will get back to you regarding your ideas. Consider responding to blog topics we’ve posted, Structured Conversations which you’d like to extend the discussion, other materials for which you’d like to discuss, or your own topic for which you would like to share with our readers.

We hope you are having a great summer and look forward to staying engaged with you as we explore more topics through fall and closing out 2019!

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