Join the NASPA Consortium!
After great success during its inaugural year last year, the NASPA Consortium for 2009-2010 is in full-swing as colleges and universities are signing up and getting geared up for a new year of assessment activities. It is not too late for your campus to learn more about the Consortium and sign-up at: http://naspaconsortium.org
What makes the NASPA Consortium unique or different from other national assessment initiatives? First off, it is not just a NASPA project. Rather, each component of the Consortium is a partnership with other national associations – such as ACUI, NIRSA, NACA, and others. The partnerships ensure that the data collection, results, and utilization of the information will be meaningful for their respective fields. As an example, the NACA Campus Activities portion of the Consortium was overseen by a group of directors of campus activities who reviewed the assessment instrument for relevancy and who are now working to interpret the wealth of information and knowledge that resulted from data from over 10,000 students and 300 campus activities professionals nation-wide. In addition to campus activities, the 2008-2009 Consortium addressed: Campus Safety, Student Conduct, and Diversity/Multiculturalism. This year’s topical areas include: Student Union and Programming, Mental Health and Counseling, Career and Professional Aspirations, and Recreation and Wellness.
Another unique aspect of Consortium is the ability to look across datasets to view both student and staff perspectives, as the Consortium includes data from students about their perceptions, outcomes, and experiences, as well as data from staff about their operations, staffing patterns, programming, resources, and best practices. When paired together, the data reveals some interesting information – particularly in terms of where student/staff perspectives align or where there may be a disconnect. For example, sense of belonging on campus, increased leadership development, and improved critical thinking are the most important participation outcomes, according to campus activities professionals. Students, however, are most likely to indicate that they gain a greater connection with other students, meet new people with different interests, and improve communication skills through participation. This finding opens up new opportunities to talk about how we articulate and share outcomes with participants, as well as opening up opportunities to involve students more in the development of outcomes.
And a last unique feature worth spotlighting is the ability to link data across the content areas under study to get a more holistic understanding of the student experience. Being able to combine, through StudentVoice cross-project reporting, the student data about campus activities with the student data about diversity or the other content areas, provides new layers of insight and a less-siloed view of departments or programs. By looking across datasets, the analysis of the national dataset revealed, for example, that students who took an active role in campus activities were more likely than their uninvolved counterparts to indicate that they took advantage of opportunities at their college to learn about diversity-related issues. Involved students were also more likely to agree that they discuss diversity-related issues with friends and that they have become more open-minded about diversity-related issues since starting college.
If your campus is considering joining the Consortium, visit the web page: http://naspaconsortium.org to learn more or email firstname.lastname@example.org.