Continuous improvement via planning, assessment, and reporting


Fully formed departmental plans are due June 30 for the following year. Each department head works closely with AVC Sharon Ann Downs 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.

The departmental goals must vertically align with the priorities of the Division and of the Institution.

In 2022, we coalesced around the following seven priorities for the division:

  1. Improve student recruitment and yield processes
  2. Create non-traditional student recruitment pipelines
  3. Stabilize the student aid portfolio necessary for effective merit- and need-based aid
  4. Increase access to student wellness and inclusion services
  5. Develop responsive student experience and engagement programs
  6. Enhance the sustainability of auxiliary services
  7. Enhance the recruitment, service, and engagement of and for UA Little Rock’s diverse student population
  8. Prioritize compensation, professional development, and work environment necessary to recruit and retain a diverse student affairs staff

In late 2022 the University established the following goals for the institution:

Goal 1 – ACCESS

Increase student access to transformative educational experiences that are affordable, versatile, and relevant.


Improve the student, faculty, and staff experience by cultivating an engaging campus community that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusivity.


Strengthen educational attainment through academic programs leading to social and economic mobility and the achievement of students’ aspirational goals.


Expand the institution’s applied research footprint to provide advanced educational opportunities and to broaden external impact.


Enhance community engagement through partnerships and collaborations involving faculty, staff, and students that address local, state, and regional needs.

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 priorities and with UA Little Rock priorities. 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 CAS (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education) Student Outcome Domain:

  1. Knowledge acquisition, construction, integration, and application
  2. Cognitive complexity
  3. Intrapersonal development
  4. Interpersonal competence
  5. Humanitarianism and civic engagement
  6. Practical competence

See pages 5-6 of the CAS Student Learning and Development Outcomes for more in-depth information, as well as learning outcome examples.

Operational 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. For the third one, the directors have a choice of a student learning or operational assessment.


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. AVC Downs meets with the directors on an as-needed basis to wrap up any loose ends.

In Summary

Continuous and relentless improvement has been a focus of the Division of Student Affairs for years. By making data-informed decisions, we are constantly improving our services to students and to the campus community.