Not sure about everyone in Student Affairs, but for me in Union & Activities – I thrive in the summer. Without too many distractions (maybe Orientation) I tend to have more time to sit back and evaluate. Annual reports, assessment reports and other written proof that what I do is worthy of the University’s time and money (or the students’ fee money) starts that whole process for me.
Assessment may not always be “fun” – but it is so invaluable when you start to take a look at your year, what your job is actually is, and where you could be going in the next academic year.
I had a difficult meeting today with the person on our campus who is the head of institutional research and assessment. She trashed my WEAVE report (general assessment online program that we use on our campus) and after 12 years of putting together what I thought were pretty successful reports, here I was having to justify the difficulty of PROVING that I help build community on campus. “Well you need to!” was the retort I got.
I’m not new to Learning Objectives or the difference between Mission/Goals/Objectives/Targets/Measures – however, I will now have to learn all over again how to put all of this in a form that someone outside of my world can understand it. I didn’t disagree with anything she was saying – and her push was something that I should actually want. A push to be better. To think harder.
It’s the last thing I want to do this summer. I really want to be outside in the sunshine that we in Upstate NY wait ALL YEAR for…but it’s so important to never let yourself get stale. I wouldn’t say I EVER get stale with my programming – but maybe it’s time to work on my assessment again.
What will you do this summer to challenge yourself in a way that benefits your department/area/students? Have fun, get you some of that melatonin – but push yourself a little as well. Exercise your body AND your mind this summer!