BPACE Alum Andrea Wise shares what participating in the experience meant to her

Andrea Wise, Associate Director Public Service Center, University of California- Berkeley

H. Anne Weiss, Indiana Campus Compact Director of Strategic Measurement and Impact had a chance to ask Ms. Wise about how her participation in the BPACE (Best Practices in Assessing Community Engagement) section focused on student learning outcomes (SLO) assessment has impacted her work. We hope you enjoy learning more about a recent alumna of BPACE and how they found it beneficial to their role in higher education. If you would like more information about the full catalog of BPACE opportunities or support please visit our website here>> or please contact Anne with any questions via anne {at} incampuscompact(.)org">email here>> 

H. Anne Weiss: How did completing this experience help you in your role?

Andrea Wise: Completing this experience gave me both the theoretical and practical understanding of community engagement assessment. It also allowed me to access some awesome tools and resources that I can (and do!) reference often. 

 I felt “new” to assessment and daunted by it, so I felt fortunate to have a space to explore it “safely.”  Shortly after completing BPACE I changed positions and moved into a role where I now oversee assessment for the Public Service Center at UC Berkeley.

BPACE was one of the pieces that made me feel like I had been trained and was ready to take next steps to lead and implement assessment in a new environment. 

H.A.W.: Why should others participate in this experience?

A. W.: BPACE will offer tools, resources, articles, and community to explore community engagement assessment.  It guides groups step by step and can also set you on a path to completing a meaningful project for your work. It’s a space to practice and learn from one another – and it isn’t very time consuming. It’s a great opportunity, whether your primary role is assessment or not. Plus, developing a relationship to Anne has been an added benefit – I’m grateful to be able to contact her for support and resources when needed!

H.A.W.: You are presenting at The Assessment Institute in October, what will others learn about by attending your session? 

When I came to UC Berkeley, I led a process of redesigning our student leader learning outcomes and our ways of assessing students’ learning. We found that some of the resources in the field did not represent the possible learning trajectories of the range of students the Public Service Center engages.  

Jo Wong, Program and Organizational Effectiveness Director at Stanford, and I are presenting about what we have learned in light of this, in a session called “Critically Exploring Assessment: Tensions in Developing Inclusive Assessment Practices.” 

In our session, we hope folks can explore together questions like: How do we assess learning for students coming from a range of backgrounds and experiences? How do we create inclusive assessment practices? How do we ensure we find ways to incorporate assessment into our work that don’t re-create harmful experiences that students have experienced within other systems/institutions?  

H.A.W.: Why is assessing students’ learning an important factor of being a Community Engaged Leader (CEP)?

A.W.: First, assessment helps students see their own trajectory and their own learning and growth. It helps them name the skills they have developed and the learning they have gained.

Second, in our field I think we’re always trying to find the best way to tell our story. Our work is so fun and meaningful, and yet the full meaning of our work sometimes feel complex and hard to describe.  Assessment is critical to capturing those beautiful learning moments and the impact of our work, and then being able to share the stories with those around us – campus leadership, alumni, donors, students, staff.