Assessment is a three-syllable word that can evoke strong visceral reactions in Student Affairs. Some people dread the assessment process while others have a found an appreciation for it. Like many of my peers, I used to be the person who dreaded assessment because I felt the process was daunting and time consuming. Who has the time to perform their main responsibilities plus executing assessment? I had erroneously thought about assessment as an afterthought. When in reality assessment is a continuous process that we should weave into our daily activities. As an introspective practitioner, I am constantly assessing my work. The definition of assess is: evaluating or estimating the ability or quality of something or someone. I believe that we are constantly assessing our work. From reflecting on things to improve on for the next event or ruminating on what participants gained from the event. We are consistently assessing in order to provide the best programs and services for the students we serve.
Assessment does not have to be a burden if we are proactive. I’ve learned to plan ahead when developing assessment so it can be less “daunting”. I take the summer to assess and construct learning outcomes, objectives and assessment measures for our programs. Assessment offers significant growth opportunities for our offices and centers, but without action, the growth is simply a missed opportunity. Take the time to be proactive in developing assessment so when the events or programs come you are ready! Remember that assessment helps us achieve our why.
Elmer Orellana is a hope dealer, bridge builder and healing agent. He serves as one of the Student Development Coordinators in the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA).