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Blog posts : "Blog"

Dear Dan, We Need More Frankensteins: The Value of the SAAL Blog for HESA Student Learning

Hello Daniel,

You do not know me, but I feel like I know you. Okay, I do not know you, but I know your monsters. Perhaps more importantly (or more frightening), at least five cohorts of University of Connecticut (UConn) Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) master’s students know your monst…

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Curriculum of Research: Trends in Student Affairs Assessment Syllabi

Introduction: Origins, Purpose, and Design of the Higher Education Assessment Syllabi Project

The syllabi project began in 2023 with a simple observation: despite the growing emphasis on assessment as a critical competency area for higher education and student affairs (HESA) professionals, the ex…

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Advocacy in Assessment: An HBCU Perspective with Britt Spears-Rhymes, M.S.

Hello SAAL Blog readers! Here is the next installment of our conversation series getting to know the individuals that make up this wonderful group of Student Affairs Assessment Leaders and learning from their personal stories. I joined the SAAL blog team after starting a new role as the Director of …

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Assessment as a Catalyst for Change

brown wooden blocks on white table



Education and assessment have always been an integral part of my professional life. I earned a BA from a teacher's college to become a secondary school teacher, followed by a master's in educational administration and a PhD in higher education …

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Sorted Into SAAL: How I Found my Place in the Magical World of Assessment

Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies says, You're a Wizard, Harry. 


“You’re a wizard, Harry,” explains Hagrid, saving him from the infamous cupboard under the stairs and escorting him to Hogwarts. After years of living with his Muggle aunt and uncle, wondering …

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Together, WE are Going to do Amazing Things!


Unity and diversity partnership as heart hands in a group of diverse people connected together shaped as a support symbol expressing the feeling of teamwork and togetherness.

Photo by Lightspring on 

I’ve always been hesitant to take on a leadership role for an organization because I fear not being able to give my very best to all of my competing personal and professional responsibilities. However, when I was notified that I had been nominated …

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Chasing New Opportunity with a ‘Sure, Let’s Do It’ Attitude


Photo by Kawê Rodrigues on Unsplash


As I sat in our new SAAL board onboarding meeting, I could not help but think, “what in the world am I doing here?” Here I was, someone who has only been working professionally (at all) for one year, and my ex…

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2022 MOOC Assessment Results


Green and blue word clouds of feedback about the course

This blog provides a summary of the data analysis and results from the 2022 open course that ran February – April 2022. Reporting this year resulted in 166 total pages (!) opening with a 5-page executive summary and followed by reports for the Welcome Survey/User Profile, Quiz Results, A…

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Four Assessment Priorities for the Summer

As an assessment professional for the past five years, I have had the opportunity to experience several assessment cycles. We use the following assessment cycle visual to describe our efforts and the progress we hope to make on our campus.

When I first described the assessment cycle, it was t…

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Open Course 2022 - Initial Post-Course Reflection

As we find ourselves in the month of May, it’s officially been one month since the 2022 SAAL open course ended. At the conclusion of the course, instructors typically gather to reflect on how the course went this year, spend the early summer reviewing course data, and then strategizing for course ch…

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As seen on TV: Tips for creating assessment mini-series reports


Image credit: cottonbro on Pexels 


Due to social distancing practices and travel restrictions, I found myself at home with a wealth of free time over the past year. Some of this time was occupied by exploring vario…

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Growing in Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Competency


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Having spent six years working in the field of student affairs, I still find myself feeling like a “new” professional at times. There is so much to learn, and at times, I feel like I am not sure what…

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Planning to Plan


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For many in higher education, summer is often a time of reflection, a time to look back on the previous academic year and identify successes and areas for growth. The assessment of the previous year …

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Collaborating on a Survey Redesign


Image Credit: Andrew Neels from Pexel


So. Many. Surveys. Innovations in technology, the move to so much of our lives online, and the desire for information has led to the proliferation of surveys – not only in higher education, but in general. While I could criticize the increased…

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Self-Assessment in Blended Instruction


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In the Fall of 2019, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I began teaching an online course for first-year, first-generation students. Along with most universities across the country…

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Making your Annual Report a Page-Turner

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As we approach the end of another academic year, many of us will be needing to submit or create some form of annual report - a document detailing the various ways in which we meaningfully supported the mission, vision, and goals of our departments, divisions…

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Looking to the Past, Present, and Future: Supporting our First-Time Professionals during COVID-19


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To me, student affairs assessment has always been about asking questions. “What is the purpose of our work? How do we know we’re making a difference for our students? How are we im…

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Trend Alert: Comprehensive Learner Records (CLRs)

Image Credit: Elon University's Visual Experiential Transcript 


As Student Affairs professionals, we know the importance of demonstrating and assessing student learning. Many institutions use tools such as co-curricular transcripts to help students document their experiences. The curr…

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Oh, The Things You Can Find

Image Credit: Photo by Nátalie Rodrigues from Pexels

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Higher education is very good at reinventing the wheel. Why do something that another campus has done and demonstrated success with when you can…

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Assessing the State of Shared Governance


I love musicals!  As part of my bike riding regiment mentioned in Integrating STEEP Analysis into Planning, the Hamilton soundtrack became my go to playlist (by the way, I…

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