Dean of Students Assessment Committee

Starting my first semester as a graduate assistant in the Dean of Students Department at Florida State University, I have served as a committee member, Vice Chair, and Co-Chair for the Assessment Committee. This committee is tasked with managing the assessment needs for the department and reporting any assessment results as a part of the annual Division of Student Affairs assessment and evaluation cycle. Additionally, the committee just took on the role of compiling and creating the department annual report. Through my participation on this committee, 

  • I have learned the relevance of and practiced assessment activities, which does not always play out the way we teach assessment to graduate students and rising professionals. 
  • I have seen the completion of assessment activities, which involve extensive planning, scaffolding steps, gaining buy-in from other professionals and offices in the department, communicating priorities, and organizing meetings to discuss the assessment activities. 
  • I have educated others on what assessment is and its importance, using simplified and understandable language and examples to gather buy-in from other professionals and offices. 
  • I understand how to work in teams to collect and analyze data. 
  • I can successfully write and file a IRB proposal. 
  • I can develop appropriate instruments (i.e., Qualtrics survey, interview protocol) to measure student learning outcomes as well as tie those instruments to supplied rubrics, such as the AAC&U Rubrics or the NolesLearn Outcomes Rubrics
  • I can effectively develop programmatic and student learning outcomes to measure in an assessment using a rubric.  

*See examples of assessment projects below

SDRC Research Project on Transitions for SwD

Student Affairs Assessment MOOC

collins institute project with dr. david tandberg

Over the summer, I received the opportunity to work on a contracted project from the Collins Institute at Florida State University looking at how effective community and state colleges in Florida are in their role of job preparation. The project looked at graduation rates for associate of science and baccalaureate degrees awarded in the Florida College System, which includes 28 states colleges (formerly community colleges), and the job growth in various sectors of each region each of the state colleges serve. The goal was to provide a synthesis and analysis of the data and information available on how community colleges in Florida were and are providing a pipeline into careers and ultimately stimulating the Florida economy. Through working with Dr. David Tandberg and the Center for Postsecondary Success on this project, I was able to: 

  • practice researching and benchmarking data by using data sources such as IPEDS and NCES. 
  • develop a working knowledge of the language appropriate for a policy brief like the one we wrote, 
    • which included actually determining who are audience was. 
  • gain skills in writing and drafting a research project as a team, which involves coordination and effective communication. 
  • use tools to develop graphs and visual representations of the data we collected. 

*See draft of report below

CourseWork

sds 5624: the American college student

In this class, we discussed how the characteristics of the American college student have changed over time and current issues surrounding college students on campuses today. The culminating project was an oral history project, focusing on a specific college student population (I chose undocumented college students). I developed a research question, crafted an interview protocol, conducted interviews, transcribed and analyzed interview recordings, and synthesized the finding into a final report. I credit this class with teaching me the rigor and standards of research, writing, and critical thinking required for graduate and professional level work, including: 

  • How to conduct an appropriate literature search and review
  • How to plan for and anticipate the logistics of conducting interviews (i.e., open-ended questioning, gathering willing participants, scheduling interviews, developing a timeline for research)
  • How to incorporate nontraditional research methods into your chosen methodology

edh 5068: Outcomes of undergraduate education

This class was the first of a two class series intended to teach us how to and help us actually conduct research on an interest related to higher education. In this class, we discussed the Astin's IEO Model, different assessment methods, how to craft a measurable outcome, and how to determine an appropriate protocol for our research that matches our aims and goals of the assessment. In learning these topics, I had to apply them to an actual research project I was going to undertake. My research proposal, conducted in the Research Methods class, was split into three different parts: 

  • A literature review and rationale for the study
  • The above section plus an outlined methodology and sampling procedure
  • The above sections plus an Implementation section, which consisted of forecasts of results, a plan of use of the results, and interview and focus group guides/protocols

edh 5931: Research methods in higher education

This class was the second of the two class series mentioned above. Carrying over our research proposal for the Outcomes class, we discussed deeper and more critical topics around educational research, focusing on how educational research looks in practice: 

  • We discussed different methods of evaluating and analyzing the data we collected, including coding for qualitative data and using statistics software, such as SPSS, for quantitative data. 
  • We learned how to package and design a final report that is readable and accessible to all individuals interested. 
    • This also involved determining appropriate audiences and how to communicate with them each most effectively. 
  • Most importantly, we discussed how politics can affect our research and assessment projects as higher education professionals, and how we can navigate difficult conversations and institutional red tape involved in conducting research. 

assessment projects

future directions

  • Attend the ACPA Assessment in Student Affairs Conference
  • Continue to serve on the Dean of Students Assessment Committee, leading the team in assessment efforts
  • Contribute to the division's larger assessment efforts through the Division Assessment and Research Team (DART)
  • Develop a research study plan and conduct research of personal interest, such as my interest in how undocumented college student navigate college campus spaces