Definition and Purpose of Assessment for the Division of Student Affairs
Upcraft and Schuh (1996) define assessment as any effort to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional or departmental effectiveness. This effectiveness includes student learning outcomes, cost effectiveness, clientele satisfaction, and meeting clientelle needs.
The purpose of the Student Affairs assessment efforts is to effectively communicate the mission, progress, and outcomes of the various offices within the division. It is essential that events, programs, successes, and student learning outcomes of those in the division are effectively communicated to both internal and external constituencies. These efforts, when combined, become the division’s means to demonstrate why student services are essential functions of the institution. In effect, the various components of the division should utilize these tools to show (1) what they are doing, (2) how they are able to effectuate change, and (3) the tools and data that they have used to better their services.
Ultimately, assessment within the division should be utilized to demonstrate program effectiveness, and should allow for a methodical approach for improvement in order to continually enhance services for UALR students based on data driven decisions.