Continuous improvement via planning, assessment, and reporting

Continuous Improvement

Continuous and relentless improvement has been a focus of the Division of Student Affairs for several years. In 2017, we coalesced around the following five strategic priorities for the division:

  1. Enhance recruitment and retention efforts to increase enrollment
  2. Strengthen student-friendly operations and customer service
  3. Improve diversity and inclusion efforts to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students
  4. Align financial and human resources to operate more effectively and efficiently
  5. Promote student development, engagement, and leadership

Each Student Affairs department* develops an annual plan by June 30 for the following fiscal year. These include at least three goals, with timelines and responsible parties, as well as detailed assessment plans for the year. All goals are aligned with both Student Affairs strategic priorities (listed above) and with UA Little Rock goals from the 2017 strategic plan. Google spreadsheets are provided with a template to more easily complete the task.

* with the exception of our contracted vendors, Campus Bookstore and Campus Dining

Annual reports for Student Affairs departments are available on the Student Affairs website, as well as curated reports  in PDF format that include information from the entire division. Student Affairs prints enough of the curated reports to share with various stakeholders including UA Little Rock’s Cabinet, Deans, and donors. They help to tell the story of the good work done by Student Affairs.

Student Learning Assessments

At least one assessment by each department must be mapped to a learning outcome. Student Affairs has a list of sixteen student learning outcomes in a total of four categories:

  • Diversity awareness and social engagement
  • Socio-emotional intelligence
  • Personal wellness
  • Leadership development

Departments are also empowered to write their own learning outcomes as needed to help meet their goals.

Program Improvement Assessments

At least one goal per department must be focused on improving their program or department, which we identify as an operational assessment.

A minimum of three assessments are planned per department. The third one is the directors’ choice on whether to assess student learning or doing another operational assessment.


  • Fully formed plans for the following year, including assessment plans, are due June 30. Each department head works closely with Sharon Downs, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, to ensure the goals for the coming year are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based, inclusive, and equitable, and that the assessments are meaningful and will lead to continuous improvement.
  • Departmental annual reports are generally due July 15 for the previous year. Included in these reports are results of assessments, and action plans for creating continuous improvement with the results. Directors are encouraged to add to their annual report all year, so they can describe information while it’s fresh in their memories, and to avoid having the first two weeks in July be so hectic. Directors work with their peers to read the reports for clarity, for completeness, and for errors before the deadline. Sharon Downs meets with the directors on an as-needed basis to wrap up any loose ends.

By making data-informed decisions, we are constantly improving our services to students and to the campus community.