SAAL Furthering Critical and Socially Just Assessment

SAAL Furthering Critical and Socially Just Assessment


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Social Justice Assessment Project

Last year, a call went out over the SAAL listserv asking for volunteers to participate in projects related to critical approaches to assessment in Student Affairs. This work is part of a larger, collaborative initiative called the Assessment for Social Justice Project (ASJP). The ASJP brings together partners from:

  • ACPA’s Commission for  Assessment, Evaluation and Research,
  • ACPA’s Commission for Social Justice Education,
  • Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U),
  • Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE),
  • Campus Labs,
  • the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS),
  • the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS),
  • the National Association of Diversity Educators in Higher Education (NADOHE),
  • NASPA’s Assessment, Evaluation and Research Knowledge Community (AER KC),
  • NASPA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Knowledge Community,
  • the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and
  • Student Affairs Assessment Leaders


The aim of the project is to engage stakeholders across the field in a conversation about terms, ideas, and practices associated with culturally responsive and socially just assessment. To this end, a series of webinars and podcasts have been produced. The webinars are available here, and the podcast series will be released in the near future. A survey was also recently distributed asking for feedback from practitioners in the field regarding the overlap in diversity and equity practices with assessment practices in their daily roles. Pre-conference sessions on the project, including survey results, will also be hosted at ACPA on Saturday, March 2nd from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and NASPA, on Sunday, March 10th from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. A concurrent session at ACPA will be on Wednesday, March 6 9:45-10:45 in Boston Sheraton Fairfax B. Concurrent sessions at NASPA will be Tuesday, March 12 from 8am-9am in 309 LA Convention Center and another one is TBD.



SAAL and Social Justice Assessment

In alignment with the SAAL values of curiosity, equity, justice, and intentionality, we are supporting the larger ASJP items discussed above, and contributing to this work in a number of additional ways. A group of volunteers are working to develop conference presentations, preparing a series of blog posts inviting people to the table to discuss their work in this area, and a foundational document surrounding these topics.The foundational document examines literature in the field and works to clarify terminology around this important topic as well as highlight values that present as core to this work. Examples of practice will also be provided for those interested in engaging in this work.



Upcoming Blog Series

Perhaps most exciting is the coming blog series. A recent issue of New Directions for Institutional Research focused specifically on the topic of Assessment and Social Justice: Pushing Through Paradox. Members of the SAAL Critical Assessment group have reached out to authors of this journal and asked them to share a summary of their thoughts with you. We have also invited practitioners in the field of Student Affairs Assessment to respond to these posts, sharing additional perspective and concrete examples. The first post will be on February 13th, by Marla Franco.



We Welcome You to the Table

We welcome you to the conversation, to read the journal, provide comments on posts, and guest blog a response. Your thoughts and experiences on this emerging topic in assessment educate us all and advance us a profession. You can also share your experiences with social justice and assessment work through the survey here until February 3rd.


We are excited to share the work SAAL is doing in this space. Stay tuned for the above, as SAAL will share information about our initiatives, while also promoting the efforts of ASJP. How might this be relevant to your campus? Which initiative or resource are you most excited to see? Comment below or submit a guest blog post.



Thank You

As these endeavours continue to move forward, we want to take a brief moment to thank the SAAL volunteers participating in the Critical Assessment group and contributing in the advancement of the Assessment for Social Justice Project. Thank you to:

  • Sophie Tullier, University of Maryland
  • Ciji Heiser, Western Michigan University
  • Ann Hartle Proudfit, Ph.D., Cuyahoga Community College
  • Adam Shen, Ph.D., Oregon State  University
  • Marla Franco, Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Darby Roberts, Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • Michele Soliz, Ph.D., University of Toledo
  • Teri Schnelle, University of Iowa
  • Desiree Zerquera, Ph.D., University of San Francisco
  • Judd Harbin, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Susan Fox-Forrester, Texas A&M University



Ciji A. Heiser, SAAL Member-at-Large-Elect

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