Structured Conversations

Structured Conversations

In an effort to provide ongoing professional development opportunities for SAAL members, the Professional Development Committee hosts Structured Conversations. Structured Conversations are monthly interactive assessment webinars. A listing of upcoming webinars and past records can be found below. Check the professional development calendar for a full listing of events. 

Upcoming Structured Conversations

The SAAL Professional Development Committee is pleased to announce the next SAAL Structured Conversation scheduled for  Tuesday, March 5, 2019 from 1:00-2:00pm EDT for “Panel Perspectives on Assessment Committees” with, Gianina Baker, Megan Bell, and Pam Shefman! Registration is now open!

This webinar focuses on the various aspects of assessment committees, including forming new committees, effective management, instilling accountability, unique structures/responsibilities on campuses. A panel of three professionals from different institutions will share their perspectives from their own campus practices and known trends in the field.


Gianina Baker

As Assistant Director at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, Gianina Baker is responsible for developing and maintaining partnership networks under the Lumina Foundation for Education grant at NILOA. Her main research interests include student learning outcomes assessment at Minority Serving Institutions, access and equity issues for underrepresented administrators and students, and higher education policy.

Prior to this position, she was the Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning at Richland Community College. Baker holds a Ph.D. in Educational Organization & Leadership with a Higher Education concentration from the University of Illinois, a M.A. in Human Development Counseling from Saint Louis University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Megan Bell

Megan currently serves as the Executive Director of Community Learning and Assessment at University of Colorado Colorado Springs. In this role she oversees the departments of Residence Life and Housing and the Family Development Center. These departments comprise 30 professional staff, 2 graduate students and over 100 student employees, with budgets totaling nearly $16,000,000.  Megan also co-leads assessment for the division of Student Success, and directs the “A-team” student leadership program. She serves as Secretary for the national board of the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL).

Megan also holds a non-tenure track Assistant Professor appointment in the College of Education. She teaches in the Student Affairs and Higher Education (SAHE) masters program and undergraduate minor, and the Leadership, Research, and Policy doctoral program. Megan also teaches in the Gateway Program Seminar (GPS), as well as in the Communication and WEST departments.

Megan earned a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from Colorado State University (CSU) in August 2016. Her research agenda includes multiracial identities, mentoring, and college student development using a critical intersectional theoretical lens. She also possesses a Masters degree in Student Affairs Administration from Washington State University and Bachelors degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies.

Pam Shefman

Pamelyn Klepal Shefman currently serves the Director of Assessment and Planning at the University of Houston where she works with divisional and department level leadership for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services. Her responsibilities include assessment, evaluation, strategic planning, and reporting. Serving the 29 departments within the division she is thankful for opportunity to take a comprehensive look at how students are impacted beyond the classroom. In her role, Shefman has been ex-officio for the divisional assessment committee where they work through the assessment planning cycle. And in mid-March of 2019, she will be transitioning to Alvin Community College where she will serve as the Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Research. She is active in the student affairs assessment community through past leadership in SAAL (Student Affairs Assessment Leaders) and currently the NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, & Research Knowledge Community. At UH, she co-chaired a campus-wide effort founding the Scarlet Seals of Excellence program. Shefman has also worked in academic affairs, student leadership, student union, student activities, campus traditions, student diversity advocacy, and other student affairs areas. Her research interests include Assessment Culture within Student Affairs, Measuring Student Learning Outcomes, Financial Aid Counselors at Community Colleges, and Community College Student Loan Borrowing.   


Shefman earned a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Houston, a Masters of Business Administration from Duquesne University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Ethics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Structured Conversations are FREE and anyone can participate. Registration will remain open until Tuesday, 3/5 at 11am EDT, and the link will be distributed no later than 12am EDT. If you are unable to attend live, a recording of our discussion will be available on YouTube. Don't miss this great professional development opportunity to learn more about storytelling with data.

Past Conversations

Visit our YouTube Channel or browse it below by clicking the playlist link on the top left of the video frame. PowerPoint slides and handouts can also be found in the SAAL Resource Repository in the folder titled "Structured Conversations."

Topic Proposals

Would you like to suggest a topic for a future Structured Conversation (SC)? The SAAL PDC welcomes your suggestions! You are also invited to apply to lead a SC and share your expertise with SAAL by completing the proposal form below. We look forward to hearing from you!