Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Value of Assessment, Stephanie Moran

Everyone loves a good story.  I know I certainly am impacted when someone creates an accurate picture with great content for me to ponder and consider.  You may never have actually thought of assessment and the telling of a good story as being partners in impact, but I hope to convince you otherwise in the few words that have been given me.

Each year Indiana Campus Compact member campuses have an opportunity to participate in the  Campus Compact Annual Membership Survey.  While the process can take some of your valuable time, it offers many opportunities to tell of the great story of Service Engagement on your campus and how it impacts the lives of those who are both on the “giving and receiving” end of the services recorded.  As most find, the more accurate statement would be, “it allows for you to tell a story of those who are both on the unintentional receiving and the intentional receiving end of the services recorded.”  It becomes evident in the stories told, that by giving one’s self away while adding to the value of another person’s life, there provides an unintended lesson, the one blessing becomes blessed.

A more practical application of telling the story of service engagement on campuses through survey and assessment, is that is gives your campus a chance to actually measure the amount of students, alumni, faculty and staff that participate in service engagement through your campus’s service opportunities and how your community partners are involved in them.  It demonstrates what areas of study and community are impacted by the act of the service represented by these groups and individuals.  And it demonstrates the commitment your campus has in making a difference in the world and your community through service to others.

Whether the services provided by your faculty, staff and students impact the community, locally or globally, in a practical or comprehensive way, the story can be captured from the data you collect for the ICC Annual Survey.  The data that we have been able to collect at Anderson University has given us leverage not only justify programming to administration, but to the governing board and community leaders as well.  The data demonstrates the need for programming and learning through service engagement to meet the needs of this generation of learners as well as measures the areas of impact by their service.  The story that is created by “the  who, what, when, where, why and how “of service engagement can be generated by information collected for the survey.  This information is exciting, inspiring, progressive, and encouraging.

Current data shows that this generation of young people is looking for ways to make impact on the world around them and in their chosen field of study, even while attending school.  The ICC Annual Survey has given us a wonderful tool to promote the opportunities that exist for prospective and current students wanting to experience as much as possible during their time at your school.  If service to others is part of your institutions ethos or mission statement, the results of the survey can clearly verify your commitment to fulfilling that mission.

When you listen, look at, and read the great stories that come out of your data collection as you prepare for the survey, you walk away with a meaningful collection of examples of community and personal impact that can help you tell the even larger story of what your University is all about.  It is a story that reads like a good book about the lives that are impacted by your university family.  Let ICC help you write that story.

Stephanie Moran is the Director of the Community Partnerships Center at Anderson University and the Indiana Campus Compact Advisory Council Chair

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Indiana Campus Compact is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for significant funding in support of programs, training,and resources for our member campuses that allow them to deepen their commitment to community engagement and service-learning.