It’s that time of year when many of us share gifts and gather together as a community in celebration. What does that look like in student affairs assessment?
By doing assessment, you are giving the gift of storytelling and improvement to those you serve (and will serve in the future). You also give yourself the gift of skills and knowledge, as practice makes better. Because assessment doesn’t take place in a vacuum, you can learn and share with others.
In the past several years, several authors have given us valuable texts about the field. (Looking for that special gift for the student affairs professional in your life? Read on.) Gavin Henning and I wrote Student Affairs Assessment: Theory to Practice as a course textbook, but also a how-to guide for every student affairs professional to build capacity. If you need a self-help book to overcome your fear of statistics, you might think about Student Affairs by the Numbers: Quantitative Research and Statistics for Professionals by Rishi Sriram. For those really excited about student learning, Kuh, et al, wrote Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education. While it takes a faculty perspective, it is applicable to student affairs. In addition, Engagement and Employability: Integrating Career Learning through Cocurricular Experiences in Postsecondary Education edited by Adam Peck provides information about what skills employers are looking for and examples of where students can learn them in a variety of functional areas. I’m looking forward to the release of Patrick Biddix’s Research Methods and Applications for Student Affairs in 2018.
Looking for less commitment/reading, and still want to engage with others about assessment? The relatively new Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry is an online, peer-reviewed publication about what’s happening in student affairs assessment. It’s geared toward practitioner scholars who want to contribute to the scholarship in the field. In addition, NASPA’s Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community provides resources and engagement opportunities for those who are interested in assessment (not necessarily working in assessment directly).
Whether you want to give a tangible gift or something more virtual, you are always welcome to join a community of assessment, where giving and receiving is a way of life.