The Division of Student Affairs has built a comprehensive assessment program to document student learning outside of the classroom and our effectiveness at providing opportunities and services, as well as to tell our story.
Social justice and an equity lens is central to all of our work, and the assessment process explicitly incorporates this lens. Each department tracks key performance indicators, a kind of dashboard that tells a story over time about priority data points. And each department develops annual goals (what we want to accomplish in a year) and objectives (how we will measure success) to guide and focus that year’s work.
In addition to the priorities, outcomes, key performance indicators, and annual goals, we will be conducting comprehensive self-studies of each functional area using guidance from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. Some departments will also seek accreditation or review from professional associations in their functional areas.
Our process mirrors academic assessment at Fitchburg State in terms of definitions, structure, and time horizons. It is designed to contribute to the University mission, priorities and accreditation in addition to accomplishing divisional and departmental priorities, including the Fitchburg State 2020-25 Strategic Plan.
Assessment not only guides our work, but also supports the work of our campus partners. In a 2019 and 2021 study, we learned that students who are not involved attribute their sense of belonging to the connection they made with a faculty member and/or academic advisor.
Each year, the departments in the Division of Student Affairs focus on annual goals and objectives that address either student learning or effectiveness of operations. While some goals may be repeated over multiple years, they are designed to be accomplished in a single academic year, contributing to the attainment of longer term priorities and outcomes.
Here are the 2021-22 annual goals for the Student Affairs departments.
- Establish an active and robust student-athlete advisory committee. (Effectiveness)
- Increase student-athlete awareness of racial inequality and diversity. (Learning)
- Adjust intramural sports and recreational programming to reflect the needs, interests, and availability of today’s students. (Effectiveness)
- Increase visibility through social media engagement, collaborations, presentations, and trainings. (Effectiveness)
- Assess, research, and develop new signature initiatives that are grounded in best practices, theory, and informed by student needs. (Effectiveness)
- Ensure that CDI student staff demonstrate an ability to reflect on their identities, facilitate programs, engage effectively with peers, and establish collaborations. (Learning)
- Introduce structured and intentional implementation of treatment plans, identify treatment goals, and monitor progress made by clients during the counseling process. (Effectiveness)
- Offer regularly-scheduled and intentional in-service training for staff and trainees throughout the academic year. (Effectiveness)
- Explore and identify effective alternative ways in which to deliver counseling interventions. (Effectiveness)
- Assist with increasing the capacity for students to be better self-advocates and consumers of healthcare. (Learning)
- Explore methods by which to better manage “crisis” services. (Effectiveness)
- Conduct a comprehensive review of the CARE Team based upon NABITA standards/competencies. (Effectiveness)
- Enhance Communication efforts to educate the campus community on the advocacy and support services offered by the DOS and Case Manager. (Effectiveness)
- Develop and create a plan for Learning Outcomes for Student Conduct Practice (Effectiveness)
- Resident Assistants will understand the mechanics of an incident report and how to write a well written unbiased incident report. (Learning)
- Build effective collaborations between the disability services office and a variety of academic departments to create accessible instructional environments. (Effectiveness)
- Students with disabilities will develop self advocacy skills in the areas of accessing accommodations in the classroom and in raising the visibility of the population on campus. (Learning)
- Collaborate with campus facilities and university partners to reduce structural and access barriers. (Effectiveness)
- University members and visitors will be compliant with parking policies and procedures. (Effectiveness.)
- Student staff will learn to engage in dialogue on diversity and inclusion. (Learning)
- An academic success environment will be facilitated within the residence halls. (Effectiveness)
- Support a Residential Learning Community program to facilitate a co-curricular experience. (Effectiveness)
- Promote occupancy and retention in the residential population through strategic communication and high touch services. (Effectiveness)
- Strengthen departmental operation documents for inclusion and equity. (Effectiveness)
- Improve students’ critical thinking, conflict resolution skills, and communication skills to meet the expectations of today’s employers. (Learning)
- Student leaders will expand their personal knowledge, skills, and attitudes about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging through formal efforts like Safe Zone training and Intercultural Development Inventory. (Learning)
- Provide opportunities for students to engage in civic engagement and leadership development. (Effectiveness)
- TRIO Student Support Squad learn to develop and lead the spring sessions of the First Four Weeks Program (FFWP) (Learning)
- Increase visibility of campus partnerships by way of collaborative programming. (Effectiveness)
- TRIO SSS participants develop a greater understanding of their financial aid package and their student accounts statements, (Learning)
- To assess our level of conformance with parts 2, 3, and 4 of the CAS Standards for Campus Police and Public Safety. (Effectiveness)
- To become an IACLEA accredited department by June 30, 2022. (Effectiveness)
- To create and deliver a pilot de-escalation program for the university community by December 31, 2021.(Effectiveness)
- To develop students working for UPD’s Student Security Team to be aware of the various security and safety measures at Fitchburg State University. (Learning)
- Create a rubric for students to use in their college assessment. (Effectiveness)
- Students will learn how to use the College Assessment Rubric. (Learning)
- To renew and secure funding for FSU Upward Bound Program. (Effectiveness)
- Increase the number of program participants. (Effectiveness)
- Assess student academic growth based on utilization of tutoring services. (Effectiveness)
- Staff will implement recruitment/retention practices to foster retention and new student development. (Effectiveness)
- Assess student progress throughout the academic year utilizing student grades, standardized test scores, and qualitative feedback from school staff. (Effectiveness)
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of scientific concepts through research such as robotics, coding, and other STEM related topics. (Learning)
Assessment is more than just numbers and emerging themes. The process provides data by which we can create and modify services that are truly student centered.