Introduction and Discussion Questions to Part II

Introduction and Discussion Questions to Part II

Matthew Fifolt
Commission for Assessment and Evaluation
Kimberly Kline
Commission for Assessment and Evaluation

In the second half of our two-part series on assessment in student affairs, authors once again provide best practice and evidence-based strategies for assessing student learning outcomes in functional units. In summer 2012, Kim Yousey-Elsner and Stella Antic offered promising practices for assessing student learning in student activities (view article here) and Amanda Knerr and Jennifer Wright discussed ways in which residence life can support and enhance the formal academic curriculum through intentional co-curricular learning activities (view article here). For this issue, we explore assessment in the areas of career services and student conduct.

In the first article of Part II of this series, Jessica Turos and Patrick Roberts juxtapose the concept of outcomes-based assessment in career services with reports that are historically requested by this unit, namely demographic, satisfaction, and needs data. The authors highlight practical strategies that demonstrate both direct and indirect student learning and promote students’ continued career success (view article here).

In the second article, Kyle Tschepikow and Jeremy Inabinet explore opportunities related to assessing learning outcomes in student conduct programs. The authors describe competencies that promote student learning and development throughout the conduct process and identify strategies, resources, and tools that support professionals assessing conduct offices and their programs (view article here).

As assessment professionals and scholars, we hope these essays will provide readers with new ideas and starting points for conversations about assessment needs. We believe these promising practices are components of comprehensive, participatory assessment plans. Backed by professional literature, we are confident that building a culture of assessment in student affairs requires individuals to envision a system that transcends unit-specific boundaries.

Discussion Questions

As you read these two articles, we encourage you to consider the following questions specific to these two functional areas of student affairs:

  • What types of evidence would support the finding that learning occurred through a student’s involvement with career services or student conduct?
  • In what ways might community expectations be expressed in learning outcomes for student conduct?
  • How can a shift towards outcome measures alleviate some of the pressure that career services experiences for placement data?

Conclusion

A learning-centered approach to the assessment of student learning outcomes requires leadership and a vision for bridging the gap between curricular and co-curricular activities. It calls student affairs and assessment professionals to deliberately plan and assess programs and services so that our outcomes both resonate with academia and support the educational mission of the institution. Finally, a learning-centered approach to student affairs challenges us to redefine our roles from administrators to educators in order to remain relevant on our campuses and competitive in a world of expanding educational options.

Disclaimer

The ideas expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members or the ACPA Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

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