Student Affairs Uses Assessment to Pursue Institutional Effectiveness

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Dr. Brenda "B" Woods
Director of Research and Assessment for Student Affairs
brenda.woods@vpss.gatech.edu

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Compared to their institutional peers, Georgia Tech students report more interaction with an ethnically diverse community.

  • 2011 data: GT Freshman 72% vs. Freshman peers 53%
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  • 2011 data: GT Freshmen 70% vs. Freshman peers 55%
  • 2011 data: GT Seniors 67% vs. Senior peers 59%
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The Office of Research and Assessment for Student Affairs plays a critical role in the development of goals, intended outcomes, and evaluation strategies to measure program and service effectiveness. The Division’s departments depend on valid and reliable assessment data to measure the effectiveness of departmental programs and services as well as to guide decisions for improvements necessary to achieve the goals. From goal design to evaluation strategy to data-based actions, the assessment process demonstrates a strategically aligned Division of Student Affairs in relation to Georgia Tech’s strategic plan and goal to “Relentlessly Pursue Institutional Effectiveness.”

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The Office of Research and Assessment for Student Affairs plays a critical role in the development of goals, intended outcomes, and evaluation strategies to measure program and service effectiveness. The Division’s departments depend on valid and reliable assessment data to measure the effectiveness of departmental programs and services as well as to guide decisions for improvements necessary to achieve the goals. From goal design to evaluation strategy to data-based actions, the assessment process demonstrates a strategically aligned Division of Student Affairs in relation to Georgia Tech’s strategic plan and goal to “Relentlessly Pursue Institutional Effectiveness.”

As part of the data collection element of the assessment cycle, the Office of Research and Assessment for Student Affairs examines and utilizes data from various resources including existing databases and archives, surveys and questionnaires, information obtained through informal observation, as well as focus group findings. Data collected through these methods are used to provide a means for allowing us to make data-driven decisions for the improvement of our programs and services.

“Increasingly, we use a mixed method approach to assessment through the collection of data from multiple sources, both direct and indirect,” explains Dr. Brenda "B" Woods, Director of Research and Assessment for Student Affairs. “By going beyond the excessively used survey method of collecting data we are better able to measure validity and reliability.”

And, from all accounts, the data needed to guide program decisions will be increasingly accessible as the Institute further pursues the decision support effort led by Institute Planning and Resource Management (IPRM). This initiative will help advance the academic, research, and service endeavors of Georgia Tech by consolidating and integrating existing, and often disparate, information systems into more efficient repositories – allowing greater access to common data sets and helping all units across campus make better business decisions. This effort will positively affect the assessment process for Student Affairs. It will enhance the Division’s ability to utilize decision support data from IPRM to craft program objectives and goals as well as to guide departmental business decisions.

And while it is effective goal establishment that intertwines the departments’ strategic goals with the Division’s and Institute’s Strategic Plans, it is the findings from the analyses that guide the Division’s departments in their annual planning processes. Assessment results quite often lead to changes in programs, services, and personnel that greatly benefit the Georgia Tech community. The following are recent examples of how assessment has impacted the Division of Student Affairs:

  • Campus Recreation Center - Marketing strategies were modified after an analysis of frequent CRC users vs. non-frequent users revealed a positive correlation between CRC visit frequency, GPA, and Georgia Tech student retention rates.
  • Career Services - Survey data from employers showed moderate levels of satisfaction with on-campus interview space. This finding resulted in the department investing in new furniture for interview rooms, employer conference rooms, and lounge and reception areas.
  • Counseling Center - Tracking usage data in counseling services revealed dramatic increases which resulted in the approval for an additional, full-time staff psychologist.
  • Office of the Arts - Survey results from former student Ferst Center Box Office employees revealed the positive impact between their experience with the Ferst Center for the Arts and students' decisions to remain enrolled at Georgia Tech.
  • Human Resources and Finance - Survey and focus group results confirmed the need for, and resulted in, additional staff and the establishment of the Student Organization Financial Office (SOFO).
  • Student Affairs Information Technology - Pre/Post test survey data made evident the need for continued provision of information technology-related training to educate users about data security.

The continuous cycle of assessment enables the Division of Student Affairs to continuously measure and improve programs and services. Through research and assessment, we support an institute-wide culture of service excellence in which all parties understand and are committed to fulfilling the Institute’s expectations of providing the highest quality of service and satisfaction to students, colleagues, and external constituents.

To learn more about assessment, you are invited to attend the Basic Assessment Workshop on November 14 from noon to 1 p.m. Click here to learn more about this event. 

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Student Life

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Status
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Oct 24, 2012 - 10:30am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:13pm