Our mission in the Office of Assessment & Research in Student Affairs (A+R team) is to provide leadership in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance student learning and continuously improve the Division of Student Affair’s programs and services to students.
A+R supports assessment in many ways. However, A+R does not:
- We do not simply "crunch numbers." A+R offers expertise in many areas of education and supports projects in many ways, from concept through design, and implementation.
- We do not create and carry out individual departments’ assessment plans.
- We do not survey, survey, survey!
- We do not hold all Student Affairs’ student data nor act as a data repository.
- We do not collect or analyze data for theses or dissertations or otherwise take on projects which lack division-level benefits.
- Act as consultants for the Duke community. We collaborate with departments to define assessment priorities, craft department-appropriate assessment plans, and to identify or collect data related to program and student learning outcomes.
- Act as a repository of knowledge. We work to obtain and communicate information about assessment being done within and by partners outside of Student Affairs; to reduce redundancy and facilitate colleagues’ assessment sharing.
- Serve as point persons on the division's priorities. This can take many forms, from synthesizing institutional data into smaller Divisional briefs, to assisting with reaccreditation efforts, to collecting data about higher-order Division questions.
- Serve as the assessment conscience of the Division. Above all, we advocate for data collected and respondents. As content experts for assessment we hold ourselves accountable for encouraging:
- Multiple methods of data collection
- Securely stored data
- Appropriately analyzed and interpreted data
- Appropriately reported data, whether positive or negative; recognizing the context, but free of bias
- Respect for all participants, usually students, who provide the data used as evidence for decision-making. A major facet is ensuring that the data collection is necessary and that any data collected will be used.
- Serve as assessment cheerleaders, recognizing and celebrating examples of great assessment carried out by Division colleagues. Yay assessment! Let's Go Duke!
Around the office, we often joke about doing away altogether with the word assessment and changing it to evidence collection, sharing, or the like. Why?
Over time, the word assessment has become synonymous with survey, when in actuality, it describes so much more:
- the wealth of ways in which information is gathered to answer the questions we have about our initiatives, interventions, programs, departments, and their participants, as well as the steps that precede and follow this information gathering:
- the context behind implementation,
- the purpose,
- the expected outcomes,
- how we will document the data collected,
- the way we plan to report findings,
- and the discussions and decisions that will be informed by the carefully made inferences.
Quite simply, our philosophy towards assessment is that it a vital part of the decision-making process, with its appeal and utility dependent on its early and continued integration.
- Prior to any data collection, we strongly encourage all staff to complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) “History and Ethical Principles” module and to maintain certification annually. It is a great reminder of our responsibilities as we collect and analyze student data.
- Student Survey Policy.
- New Staff Guide (TBA)
- Policy FAQs (TBA)
Check back soon for more information about the division's and Duke’s assessment-related policies.
New Student Orientation Follow up 10/16 - 11/3
Dining Survey - NACUF 10/22 - 11/22
Resident Feedback 10/18 to 11/8
Our team encourages and facilitates the use of documented evidence in decision-making throughout the Division of Student Affairs, both on division and departmental levels.
Come by for a visit! We are located in the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs Suite in 101 Bryan Center.
Student Affairs Assessment and Research (map)
125 Science Drive
101 Bryan Center
Durham, NC 27708
Regular Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8:00am-5:00pm
We participate in organizations that focus solely on Student Affairs and more broadly on Institutional Research:
- Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL)
- American College Personnel Association (ACPA); Commission for Assessment and Evaluation
- National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA); Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community
- Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
- Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE)
- Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U); Assessment
- Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)
This is a space where our office shares documents we have created as well as articles and resources from other colleagues, offices, and organizations that provide information useful to implementing assessment:
Duke’s Student Affairs Assessment Office
From Other Offices & Organizations
- Assessment Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Standards Booklet, through the College Student Educators International (ACPA)
- Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Learning and Development Outcomes
- Impressive co-curricular outcome documents:
News, Blogs, and Articles
- The Chronicle of Higher Education [link to http://www.chronicle.com/]
- Inside Higher Ed [link to https://www.insidehighered.com/]
- Blog posts by Gavin Henning, “catalyst, collaborator, and organizer improving college student learning and success” and past president of the ACPA:
- Classic articles by Marilee Bersciani, a pioneer in “effective and holistic ways to evaluate student learning and development”:
We are lucky to belong to a community of Student Assessment professionals doing great work all around the country and beyond. Here are some other Student Affairs assessment websites we enjoy:
- University of West Florida
- University of Utah
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- University of North Carolina, Wilmington
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro
- North Dakota State
- Weber State
- Oregon State
- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
- Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
- New York University
- University of Georgia
- Ryerson University
Training and Sharing
Official titles, descriptions, dates and times will be made available as workshops approach. We look forward to workshopping with you!
Outside of our office, assessment and research professional development opportunities abound! Here is a listing of some that we recommend here at Duke:
Recommended Workshops offered by SSRI:
Developing learning outcomes for student employees
Monday, January 29: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Bevan 1001 (Parking passes provided)
• How can we characterize our expectations of student employees as Student Learning Outcomes?
• Can these learning outcomes inform the training and evaluation of student workers?
• To what degree might our expectations for student employees align with the objectives of undergraduate education at Duke?
* Types of evidence
Tuesday, February 6: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Rubenstein Library 349
• How can we leverage the research traditions of our discipline for use in assessment of learning?
• How do we know which type of evidence is most likely to tell the story of learning in our program?
• Do we have to use numbers to explain student learning?
• Why are you asking us to prioritize “direct” evidence over “indirect” evidence?
• How should we judge our findings? Against whose standards?