Winter is right around the corner and if you are like me, I am getting a little anxious just thinking about all of the tasks I need to do before winter break.
Since the pandemic began, I have been juggling being an at-home employee and being my teen’s right-hand teacher and tutor as we navigate remote learning. Most weeks, I am exhausted, but keep going because it is the best I can do.
I don’t know about you, but it has been so busy with my role as an SA Assessment professional. I have been drowning in data and work. I have felt like a ship captain trying to navigate the seas of.
Hayley Hobson once said, “Trust in your ability to navigate treacherous waters. Whatever it takes to make the shift, do it. You are a master of your life, and you possess the power to choose how the story will end at any moment.”
In these uncertain times, I want to take a moment to remind you about SAAL’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) and how we are positioned to help you navigate these challenges.
The PDC is moving forward, where visions, creativity, and insight for providing opportunities for professional and academic growth are embraced. We have organized these highlights for the upcoming year to best support you. Remember, we are a community and SAAL’s mission is “to create an open and welcoming environment for educators who coordinate and/or contribute to assessment for and within divisions of student affairs to share and receive information and resources that will advance their work.”
Every month, the PDC hosts conversations focused on issues in Student Affairs assessment. These structured webinars are designed to provide interaction with attendees and help answer questions about various assessment and higher education topics. Every session is recorded and uploaded to our YouTube account.
Throughout the years, these have served as a place to learn about new frameworks, see how colleagues use assessment and research results to make decisions and/or to be inspired to do this work. They also provide a networking opportunity for SA pros. We have a lot planned for next year and will be having a portion of these in 2021 focus on equity and inclusion issues captured through our Equity Spotlight.
SAAL makes it easy to plan your month when it comes to professional development. We have a calendar with easy to navigate ideas on current offerings not just through SAAL, but other organizations as well. Most of you may not be on campus connected with your colleagues due to social distancing and COVID protocols. However, the listserv can serve as your virtual colleagues down the hallway and will be able to assist and support your needs. Please fill out this form if there is something you want to include that would benefit from being supported by SAAL’s audience.
SAAL Online Open Course
Sometimes, we or our campus colleagues need more time to dedicate to learning about assessment frameworks and how to apply these in our organizations. SAAL has the perfect hands-on,self-paced, FREE course to help you tackle assessment in Student Affairs. Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs is a highly recommended course taught by other Student Affairs professionals. The course is intended to be inclusive, accessible and provide you with 8 weeks of content that can help you lead assessment efforts on your campus that are aligned with effective practices. The course is very focused on feedback and evaluation. Check out the latest results on the outcomes of the course in a 2020 blog post. With a majority of participants spending 4 hours or less per week on the course, this can be a great addition to helping support your professional goals.
Historically the SAAL listserv has served as a space to request and share resources, advertise conferences, trainings, etc., post questions on how to approach a particular issue, and share job postings. The SAAL listserv is a space to collaborate and support one another as we navigate assessment. Join the SAAL listserv or share with others that could benefit from its space.
Consistent reflections, narratives and resources are shared through the SAAL Blog team. Sharing information is a central component of the blog as well as to share diverse voices and perspectives. This is meant to be a space to provide dialogue to invoke equity, justice and intentionality. The Blog team has historically been administered by the PDC, however beginning in 2021, it will be managed by the Advancement Committee. There are various topics on navigating a career in assessment from academic and student affairs assessment in practice. The search bar on the Blog site allows you to navigate by keywords and topics. And if you want to be a part of the Blog team, we always encourage diverse voices or you can submit a guest blog. A lot is possible with the Blogs, whether it is to read the latest post, search for a historical one or contribute one for yourself. We encourage it all!
According to Buzzsprout, “...for every podcast, there are 750 blogs and 29 YouTube channels.” The market for podcasts is less saturated than with YouTube and blogs. With the audience growing that is listening to podcasts, the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders has decided to embark on starting our own podcast. With the ability for people to listen to podcasts while they drive, do chores or just in the background, we are committed to using this new format to share assessment stories and provide inspiration and support. Thanks to the SAAL podcast team for their work in 2020, researching, exploring and brainstorming ideas for this series. We are excited to get recording soon and publish podcasts in the next year.
Forward with the PDC
Whatever you choose, know you have a group and community behind you as we enter this next year. We welcome any feedback and look forward to supporting your professional goals. Comment below, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or use the links for suggestions and feedback provided throughout the post for specific services. And as always, look for the volunteer sign-up during SAAL elections if you want to contribute to any of these efforts and give back to our assessment community.
What are you doing to support your professional goals? How can you make more intentional time in the next few months to support those goals?
Renee Delgado-Riley, University of Oregon