From the beginning of our partnership, the University of Valley Forge (UVF) closely integrated faculty into their purchase and stood out for their collaborative implementation of the Campus Labs platform. Assessment at Valley Forge is genuinely holistic, connecting data to tangible action. We spoke with Charity Schneeberger at UVF to learn more about how the university’s use of Campus Labs has supported student success and retention as well as institutional effectiveness at large.
University of Valley Forge
Why was it important for your campus to begin connecting and aggregating assessment data across departments using Campus Labs?
Our previous system was inefficient and disconnected. Faculty didn’t have access to their own data after reporting and there wasn’t an easy way to aggregate data at the program or institutional levels. So when we implemented Campus Labs, we were intentional to structure it in a way that would give us the aggregated data we wanted at every level… for individual faculty, department chairs and administration.
We were also able to integrate our co-curricular learning outcome reporting into the same system, which has been great for efficiency and getting insights. We’re a small school, so this made sense for us. We can use student learning data for forward-thinking planning and decision-making.
Can you share your strategies for ensuring the data you collect is acted upon?
We believe that for data to be useful, it has to connect to a decision or an action. One recent example has to do with assessing the period of online learning due to COVID-19. After our state shut down all in-person operations for schools and higher education institutions, we knew we didn’t want to wait until the semester was over to assess what happened. After Campus Labs released its COVID-19 climate survey to our assessment platform, we adapted it to fit our needs and quickly administered it to all students.
We worked with a few other offices on campus to identify quick actions to support students who indicated they needed help. We set up triggers based on certain responses to the survey questions in the Campus Labs student success platform. For example, when students answered they were “a great deal” concerned with their “ability to succeed in an online academic environment,” an alert was raised in the tool. Then the Student Success Office contacted those students individually to connect them to resources such as tutoring or peer mentors.
Your campus has successfully launched assessment projects in close collaboration with faculty to ultimately identify and respond to concerns to better support student success. Do you have advice for other campuses seeking to build this collaborative relationship?
Our institution worked hard in the past few years to develop a culture where faculty and staff are on the same team. For assessment staff, I would say to look for ways to serve faculty. Ask questions and listen for pain points and see what you and your data can do to help. This will help to build the kind of trust necessary to collaborate.
In our first end-of-year assessment committee meeting after switching to Campus Labs, we identified an institution-wide trend in our data: especially in small class sizes, even just a few students failing to submit assignments could affect our ability to meet assessment benchmarks. Because everyone had access to the relevant data, it was a trend all the stakeholders could see. Faculty have been involved in the whole process—discovery, research strategy, data collection, analysis and action plan. Together, we adjusted our assessment to more accurately capture student learning moving forward.
Our sincere thanks to Charity Schneeberger for sharing her experiences with us. If you’d like your campus to be showcased, reach out to your consultant.