Comparative, mission-driven assessment results lead to insights that are essential to the continuous improvement of campus programs.
John Lynch needed help. The area director for second-year students at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, was asked last year to expand his campus’s innovative Second Year at Emory (SYE) program from a targeted pilot to one that included all sophomore students. Sure, he had heard some anecdotes about what worked and what didn’t from the staff. But for an undertaking this large he needed to be sure he knew what direction to take the program in order to ensure the maximum return for students.
Looking for answers, Lynch and his team turned to results from the university’s ACUHO-I/EBI assessments. What did they learn? The survey results revealed that students already participating in the SYE displayed high levels of satisfaction. Meanwhile, those sophomore students who were not part of the program said that they felt dissatisfied with both their residential experience and its cost. “SYE students felt they were getting a terrific experience, while other students felt they were missing out and paying too much for their experience,” says Lynch, adding that the non-participants “consistently cited their satisfaction with room assignments and personal interactions as being quite low.”
The next step was to translate the survey results into action. Based on the feedback provided, Lynch and the SYE steering committee developed a mission statement for the program, which emphasized the responsibility to offer programs and services that would allow second-year students to “develop greater self-awareness, define goals for their Emory experience, identify and utilize campus resources, and connect with others through meaningful relationships.” The committee continued to examine the survey results and also discovered how widely the learning experiences of second-year students differed by residence hall.
The story continues in the September + October 2011 issue of the Talking Stick, the official magazine of ACUHO-I (the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International).