SAAL's Dynamic 1st Quarter: Progress, Initiatives, and Community Engagement

SAAL's Dynamic 1st Quarter: Progress, Initiatives, and Community Engagement

SAAL's Dynamic 1st Quarter: Progress, Initiatives, and Community Engagement
The journey of the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) through 2024 has been nothing short of transformative and inspiring for me as President! I am humbled to be the leader of an organization that sits at the heart of enhancing equity and inclusivity in student affairs assessment through our actions. I firmly believe this first quarter reflects our commitment to these values and our community. From structural advancements to community-building efforts, here's a glance at how SAAL has evolved and thrived this first quarter with your help.

Structural Evolution: A Foundation for Growth

The turn of the year marked a significant score for SAAL, as we transitioned into a formally recognized entity by applying for our business license and becoming an LLC in December 2023. This success was followed by our application for 501(c)(3) status in early February 2024, a move that promises to serve our members as a nonprofit organization. While we await feedback from the IRS, this structural evolution signifies our readiness to expand our reach and impact.

Fundraising Success: A Testament to Community Support

Recognizing the need to generate resources to support our initiatives, our Treasurer, Dan Kaczmarek and Communications Specialist, Dr. Jordan-Bullington-Miller led SAAL's first fundraising campaign. The campaign's success, raising $1,800 from 49 donors and surpassing our $1,500 goal, underscored the incredible support from our community. This achievement not only alleviates the financial burden on our Board but also reinforces our capacity to continue forward.

Strategic Goals and Organizational Viability

Our Board's Chief of Staff, Tim Novara and Communication Specialist, Dr. Jordan-Bullington-Miller are in the process of finalizing a visual dashboard that will share SAAL's progress in achieving its strategic goals with our members. This visual will share how we are demonstrating our accountability to our members as well as our focus on continuous improvement. Meanwhile, Operations Coordinator, Shiloh Lovette is busy helping us with our operations, focusing on streamlining our email, Google Drive, and SAAL repository drive to ensure its relevance, efficiency, and accessibility.

Photo by Bernard Spragg on StockSnap

Engaging Our Community: Initiatives and Collaborations

The Community & Development Committee led by Dr. Megan Bell has been amazing in facilitating the inaugural SAAL Awards and our presence and engagement at the NASPA Conference and ACPA Convention this year. Their efforts extend beyond organizing meetups; they are involved in embedding equity into our process such as through blogs, the awards, and future Board nomination processes, to uplift historically marginalized voices.

Our Professional Learning & Development Committee led by Dr. Eunkyoung Park continues to enhance our structured conversations with diverse perspectives, creating a learning environment that is both inclusive and reflective of our community's needs. Meanwhile, the Research On & Advancing Knowledge Committee led by Dr. Ellissa Brooks Nelson shared The Landscape Report: The State of the Field of Student Affairs Assessment, offering a view of the current state of student affairs assessment. Their innovative research agenda aims to delve deeper into the field, promising to explore how we can continually pivot to support our members.

Advocacy and Support: Beyond Statements

In a world where support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is often challenged, I have been in collaboration with the ACPA Commission on Assessment & Evaluation (ACPA-CAE), NASPA Assessment Evaluation & Research Knowledge Community (NASPA-AER KC), the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS), and the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE), exploring ways to transform our statements of support into actionable strategies. In addition, we are working to help market our unique levels of support, create pathways for student affairs assessment professionals in our organizations and amplify our impact by collaborating instead of working in parallel ways. This initiative reflects SAAL's commitment to not only advocating for DEI principles but also providing tangible support and resources for those in oppressive environments as well as centering our members in our work.

Photo by Aaron Burden on StockSnap

Looking Ahead

As SAAL continues to grow and evolve, our focus remains on serving our community through strategic initiatives, engagement, and learning. We are excited for what the future holds and grateful for the continued support and engagement of our members and the broader community. In this journey of growth and impact, SAAL continues to remain a community and support network for individuals engaged in student affairs assessment.  Together, we are not just adapting to our members’ needs, but we are working collectively to have SAAL be around for future generations.

Renée Delgado-Riley, Ph.D., SAAL President  and the 2023-2025 SAAL Board

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