Happy SAALutations & Involvement for 2019!

Happy SAALutations & Involvement for 2019!

Nicolas Tissot via Unsplash

Welcoming all of you into SAAL’s 11th year, I am writing today from the occupied territory of the Nuwuvi People, the seven tribes of the Southern Paiute--and especially, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.

With great delight and a good measure of both humility and anxiety, I look forward to serving all of you, this organization, and the broader profession of educational assessment as the Board Chair for SAAL this year. At NASPA in March 2009, I heard about this new network that was forming for people who were doing assessment in Student Affairs. Sherry Mallory and Darby Roberts told me about it. It aimed to bridge NASPA and ACPA in order to connect the relative few of us who were doing the work at that time. I have been a member of this organization since then, and I have learned much through SAAL and from its members over the years, and watching the organization grow in membership and reputation has excited me. I hope that I serve as a worthy and successful steward of this organization this year.

To that hope and on behalf of the SAAL Board, I would like to mention a couple of the projects that you can watch for and participate in this year through SAAL. I also want to mention some of the ways that you can engage more actively with SAAL this year.

Miguel Bruna via Unsplash

Socially Just Practice

In keeping with our ethos, SAAL last year partnered with other assessment-related associations to coordinate and amplify efforts toward socially just assessment. Even prior to this partnership, many of our members contributed content to these efforts. This partnership is just getting underway, so watch for more opportunities to contribute to and engage in publications, webinars, blogs, workshops, and conference sessions to advance the critical, equitable, inclusive, and socially just practice of assessment. Your Member-at-Large-Elect, Ciji Heiser, has agreed to serve as convener for a workgroup of SAAL members who will help produce and/or curate content related to this effort. She and Susan Fox-Forrester, Chair of the External Relations Committee, represent SAAL among the partner organizations:

  • ACPA,
  • Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE),
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U),
  • Campus Labs,
  • Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS),
  • Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS),
  • NASPA,
  • National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), and
  • National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).  


Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)

In 2018, CAS invited SAAL to send a non-voting representative to their meetings. Nicole Long, your Member at Large, serves as this representative. She and I will be participating in CAS discussions throughout the year to contribute our perspectives and insights to benefit CAS as well as gain insights and understanding to benefit SAAL.

Rawpixel via Unsplash

Engaging More with SAAL


Are you interested in engaging more with SAAL this year? Great! Here are a few ways to do that!

  • Enroll in the the free open course, Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs, which SAAL offers in collaboration with Colorado State University. Registration is open now, and the spring semester class starts on January 21.
  • Submit a manuscript to our publication, the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry. Manuscript review occurs on a rolling basis.
  • Read articles that appear in our publication, the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry. Then,  consider writing a reflection on the article or the issue and submitting it as a guest post for the SAAL Blog (see next item for how).
  • Submit a post to the SAAL blog. Guest bloggers may submit one-time interest pieces on a rolling basis.
  • Suggest a topic for a structured conversation. You can also apply to lead a structured conversation for our members.
  • Suggest an event to add to SAAL’s professional development calendar.
  • Review the SAAL Professional Development Calendar for events that may interest you (or colleagues on your campus).
  • Follow SAAL on social media and share content to our social media feeds: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
  • Attend the SAAL meeting during ACPA.
  • Attend a SAAL Social during ACPA or NASPA
  • Use the SAAL Conference Presenter Matching tool to connect with a co-presenter(s) to prepare a conference proposal(s) for upcoming conventions.
  • Finally, toward the end of the year, fill out your ballot. SAAL Elections include voting for the next slate of board members, and the ballot also asks which standing committees you would like to be involved with in the year ahead. When your ballot arrives in your inbox late in the fall, be sure to complete it.


Our annual meeting will occur on Sunday, March 3 in Boston before the opening session for the ACPA Annual Conference. We will also arrange a member social on Monday evening, March 4. If you are attending ACPA, the members of the SAAL board and I hope to see you at both of these events. Watch the SAAL listserv for details such as times and locations.

If you attend NASPA’s annual conference in Los Angeles, the board will arrange a member social there. Watch the SAAL listserv for date, time, and location. Members of the board and I look forward to seeing you there.

In addition, SAAL may offer social gatherings at other assessment conferences throughout the year. If we do, the arrangements will be announced on the listserv.

Kristopher Roller via Unsplash

In closing, I wish to thank Guy Davis, who recruited me to the External Relations Committee a few years ago when he chaired that committee. That act shifted me from a passive participant to an engaged member of SAAL. His example reminds me (and I hope reminds us all) that engagement in this association happens when we invite one another to be more involved. If you are a member of a committee or the board, whom will you invite this year? Maybe you are inviting a future Board Chair.

Happy New Year!


Judd Harbin, SAAL Board Chair

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