Welcome to the Table

Welcome to the Table

Gathering around a table, real or virtual, with assessment practitioners to discuss the trials and triumphs of assessment work in student affairs is a powerful experience; it is also how the idea for this blog was developed. Each month, the SAAL Professional Development Committee (PDC) comes together to discuss a number of different topics. At a meeting held in the fall, we talked about the importance of spaces for practitioners to share their ideas for the future of our practice, new approaches to data collection and reporting, tips and tricks for engaging professionals across the organizational structure in the practice of assessment and more.


SAAL fosters the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry as a space to advance the scholarship of student affairs assessment practice and the ListServ as a space to connect daily with assessment professionals on a variety of topics and resource sharing. Our hope is that the launch of this blog will bring together assessment professionals at a table somewhere in between, cultivating a collaborative and innovative online space for colleagues to share assessment musings and dialogue about new ideas, successful practices, experiences navigating challenges, and perhaps most exciting, a place for discussing where the field is or should go.

Through our PDC discussions and what became the blogging sub-committee we rediscovered a common truth: the depth and breadth of our common experiences are enhanced when building relationships with practitioners across institution types, organization levels, and diverse perspectives. In this spirit, we hope the blog will be a space to talk about our shared values of curiosity, equity, justice, and intentionality and how these are realized across the field. To this end, each of the first four posts will speak to one of SAAL’s core values.

Next Tuesday, our first post will be released! This post will center on the role of equity in assessment. Disaggregating data by demographic category is just one approach to developing an inclusive assessment practice and leveraging data for equity. Join us next week to learn more about the role of equity in assessment practice and advancing our work from establishing a culture of evidence to establishing an inclusive culture of evidence.

Additionally, in response to the latest issue of the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry, we will explore assessment as an act of justice. How do we utilize our power and agency as data and knowledge holders towards advancing social justice and how can we consider social justice as a principal part of inquiry work?

In assessment culture, we often talk about the value of asking the right questions. In a time of continued financial scarcity and limited resources, how do you cultivate a sense of curiosity to engage staff in developing the right questions? Two authors will share their experiences in cultivating curiosity in assessment practice.

We are incredibly intentional in our daily work, but how do we frame this intentionality for students? We will lastly discuss multiple methods of how we share information with students towards promoting their success beyond the collegiate environment. Two authors will provide perspectives on the intentional use of data in teaching teamwork and interpersonal skills and connecting campus experiences to employability.

This is  just a taste of what is to come through the SAAL Blog during the month of February.  A blogging team is being established and guest bloggers are always welcomed. As we get started, we hope you will join us at tables real and virtual to talk about assessment work. We hope to see you there.


Ciji Heiser, Western Michigan University
Amy Corron, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Whitney Brown, University of Alaska Anchorage

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