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Assessing Ourselves: Mid-Level Professionals and Making Meaning of the Assessment Competencies - NASPA 2016

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Presentation by Evan Baum and Diana Sims-Harris at the NASPA Annual Conference.

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Assessing Ourselves: Mid-Level Professionals and Making Meaning of the Assessment Competencies - NASPA 2016

  1. 1. Assessing Ourselves: Mid-Level Professionals and Making Meaning of the Assessment Competencies Evan Baum, Ph.D. Director, Student Success and Advising, Hobsons Diana Sims-Harris Director of Student Affairs, IUPUI School of Science Tuesday, March 15, 2016 NASPA Annual Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana
  2. 2. Presentation Outline  Pairs/Small Group Activity  Review of Assessment, Research, and Evaluation Competencies  Review of Current Literature on Assessment Competencies Among Student Affairs Professionals  Findings from GroundedTheory Study  “From Frustrated to Empowered: Exploring the Process of How Mid- Level Student Affairs Professionals Make Meaning of the Responsibility for Assessing Student Learning”  Large Group Discussion / Q&A
  3. 3. Pairs/Small GroupActivity  Brainstorm a challenge you have faced assessing learning outcomes as a student affairs professional.  What was the challenge?  How did you approach this challenge?  What resources were/would have been helpful as you navigated the challenge?  What did you learn from this that you have applied to your assessment work?
  4. 4. Review of AER Competencies  Competencies focused on designing, conducting, and critiquing methodologies and results obtained  All developmental  Inform personal practice  Shape political and ethical climate  Foundational Outcomes  Understanding and executing qualityAER work on the frontlines  Intermediate Outcomes  Consistently contributing to the culture of evidence by designing and implementing comprehensiveAER plans and studies at departmental levels  Advanced Outcomes  Leading and conceptualizing AER work at the highest levels, effectively communicating results, and making data driven resource decisions
  5. 5. Review of Current Literature on Assessment Competencies Among Student Affairs Professionals  Most existing literature examines: 1. Effective practices for doing assessment in student affairs 2. Assessment as one of several competency standards 3. Perceived assessment competencies among entry-level staff  However, assessing student learning outcomes is an emerging responsibility for mid-level professionals (Hoffman & Bresciani, 2010).  To summarize, if graduate and entry-level professionals perceive themselves to be weak at assessment, and these roles do not expect it of them, but mid-level roles are where this responsibility starts to show up, how do mid-level professionals navigate and make meaning of this aspect of their work?
  6. 6. Purpose and Research Questions This study explored the process by which mid-level student affairs professionals at colleges and universities make meaning of their responsibilities for assessing student learning outcomes. 1. How do mid-level student affairs professionals make meaning of and perceive their responsibilities for assessing student learning outcomes? 2. Through what structures and processes do mid-level student affairs professionals come to make meaning of (or not make meaning of) responsibilities for assessing student learning outcomes? 3. How does the organization/environment influence the structures and processes of meaning making?
  7. 7. Methodology and Methods  Grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006)  Iterative coding and memoing  Inductively derived theory synthesizing themes from data  Participants  10* mid-level student affairs professionals  Public universities with 10,000+ undergraduate enrollment  Employed full-time in a programmatic functional area  Identified by self or a colleague as being “superb” at assessing student learning  Assessment was not the sole or primary focus of their position  Data collection  Initial interview  8 weeks of reflective journaling/2 narrative submissions  Closing interview/member checking preliminary findings
  8. 8. Frustrated Mindset Empowered MindsetMeaning Making Catalysts IdentifyingAs and Prioritizing Administrator Oversimplifying StudentAffairs Role and Purpose Navigating and Negotiating Expectations Justifying Role to Keep Funding and Resources Identifying First as Curious Teacher/Educator Addressing and Reframing Resistance and Fear Developing Mastery to Model For andTeach Others Seeking Improvement / Autonomy through Sharing Results Acknowledging Limitations and Lack of Preparation Pausing and Gaining Focus Receiving Critical Feedback and Support Connecting to Academics, Mission, andTheory
  9. 9. Individual Experience  A little more about me and my work at the time of the study  Shift from doing assessment work individually to being responsible for the assessment work of others in the mid-level  Frustrated Mindset  Meaning Making Catalysts  Impact of assessment work on practice (Pausing and Gaining Focus)  Finding an assessment community at the institution (Receiving Critical Feedback and Support)  Communicating and aligning outcomes as appropriate (Connecting to Academics, Mission, andTheory)
  10. 10. Individual Experience, Continued  Empowered Mindset  Responsibility and pride in assessment (Identifying as Curious – Teacher/Educator)  Helping to develop competency in others (Developing Mastery to Model andTeach for Others)  Using data to make improvements (Seeking Improvement through Sharing Results)  Sometimes frustrated mindset can creep in  Making the time for assessment  Skeptical of others intentions about assessment  Model is useful as I reflect on my development and those I work with – this was missing from my assessment work
  11. 11. Implications / Recommendations  Doing assessment vs. thinking about doing assessment  Clear expectations, role modeling, and mentoring all matter  Assess less, but do it better, and do more with it  Opportunities for sustained reflection and peer feedback are critical  Link student development theory and assessment coursework  More exploration of what competency development in student affairs looks like
  12. 12. Back to our earlier activity…  Do you see yourself and the challenge you discussed in the model?  How would this be applicable to where you are now as professional?  How might this model guide your development around student learning assessment?
  13. 13. Frustrated Mindset Empowered MindsetMeaning Making Catalysts IdentifyingAs and Prioritizing Administrator Oversimplifying StudentAffairs Role and Purpose Navigating and Negotiating Expectations Justifying Role to Keep Funding and Resources Identifying First as Curious Teacher/Educator Addressing and Reframing Resistance and Fear Developing Mastery to Model For andTeach Others Seeking Improvement/Autonomy through Sharing Results Acknowledging Limitations and Lack of Preparation Pausing and Gaining Focus Receiving Critical Feedback and Support Connecting to Academics, Mission, andTheory
  14. 14. Large Group Discussion / Q&A  Thanks for coming.  We look forward to any feedback or questions.  Evan Baum, Ph.D.  evan.baum@hobsons.com  Diana Sims-Harris  dsimshar@iupui.edu

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