blog posts

Blog posts

ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute Recap

2023 Assessment Institute Faculty

(Backrow: Paul Holliday-Millard, Heather Strine-Patterson, Melissa Brown, Kristyn Muller, Sarah LaFrance, Chris Patterson, Shaun Boren, and Jerri-Ann Berry Danso. 

Frontrow: Jennifer Lowman, Amy Pilcher, Britt Spears-Rhymes, Ciji Heiser, Renee Delgado-Ril…

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Assessment or Public Relations: What's my real job here?

Allow me to paint a picture: You, an assessment leader, have been given a seemingly impossible task: to tell the story of a failing program.


Now, you didn’t know going into this project that the program was failing. Anecdotal evidence was positive. The program has been around for some time …

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Assessment Chats Connects Professionals Across the Country!

New to Assessment and looking to connect? SAAL recently hosted a gathering for folk who have been working in assessment for less than two years. A group of 16 folks gathered to meet each other and talk about their experiences beginning their journey into assessment in Student Affairs work. The g…

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Maslow's Hierarchy in Action: How Student Affairs Can use the Framework for Better Assessment of Wellbeing

Every year the needs of our students seem to become greater—and the expectation we will be able to help address these needs grows in parallel. In an era where universities seek to better understand and support student well-being, it's worth considering the relevance of Maslow's hierarchy of need…

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A Reflection on Dr. Bheda’s “Taking Equity Work to the Next Level”


As an assessment specialist with a deep passion for equity work, I stand firm in the belief that the more one knows, the more one sees. For this reason and more, it was a pleasure to join in Dr. Divya Bheda’s SAAL Structured Conversation, “Exploring New Frontiers Together: Taking Equity Wo…

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You’ve got an Assessment Story to tell! Now what?

At my institution, we talk a lot about telling the stories of our work. It’s central to everything we do in assessment. The problem is … this can be tough to do in our profession. Why? Well, when you think of storytelling, you might imagine something like this:

A neat, narrative arc.

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Investing Energy Supporting Individuals Engaged in Student Affairs Assessment

Photo by Matt Bango on StockSnap

The Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) is 5 months into its newly formed leadership board. As a fully volunteer run organization, the key foundations of innovation, service, passion and commitment comprise why this organization has survived for 15 years…

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Reflections on Applying & Leading Assessment in Student Affairs

Reva Wittenberg, MPA, California State University, Sacramento

Having just started my position as Student Affairs Assessment Manager a year ago, I was excited to take the Applying & Leading Assessment in Student Affairs course to make sure I was on the right track and to continue to build my k…

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Transforming our reality together: Moving from Equity & Assessment to Assessment for Justice and Liberation

Dr. Divya Bheda

Dear Colleagues,

I have been feeling frustrated lately. More so than usual. Here is why: How can so many of our student support colleagues and assessment leaders—who are all so strongly and passionately motivated by the need to be of service, who want to and often do make a…

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All I Really Need to Know to Be a Professor, I Learned Doing Assessment

Gavin Henning 

Professor of Higher Education, New England College

In 1986, the year I graduated from college, one of the hottest books in bookstores (on bookshelves, not on Amazon since it didn’t exist then), was All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulgham. Throu…

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Say hello to your SAAL Blog Writing Team!

The SAAL Blog is meant to be a place to highlight diverse voices and perspectives of assessment professionals from all skill levels. Over the course of the next year, you will hear from our blog writing team as we reflect on trends in assessment, respond to SAAL programs and events (i.e Structur…

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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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Sliding Into Home: Reflections on an Assessment Journey

“You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are.” Yogi Berra 

I have always loved the Berra quote because it is so true, and has been my experience in life. I am the “Grandma” on the SAAL Board, having been involved in a…

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Adding a Chapter to the Story of SAAL

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To take a leadership role in Student Affairs assessment, you have to be a pretty interesting character. First, you have to want to work for students as an advocate in advancing their experience. You need to be happy doing this by influencing the work of others. A lot of our success relies on other…

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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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You're Not Alone: Helping to Build an Authentic Assessment Community

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Like many who find themselves working in student affairs assessment, I sort of stumbled into the field not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. I worked in the creative fields of architecture and advertising befor…

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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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How My Role with the Open Course Benefits You


Eight years ago, in 2015, SAAL put out a call for volunteers to compile topical resources to aid student affairs assessment pros. Content was sorted into seven topics: assessment culture, assessment planning, consulting and critique, success criteria and targets, critical approaches and ethics…

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Harnessing SAAL’s Essence

My grandfather said, “agua es la vida,” which translates to “water is life.” It is a crucial factor in maintaining what we possess. As a Student Affairs Assessment professional, I use my farming background daily; with precision and conscientiousness, I work tirelessly to build future leaders who…

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20 blog posts