Professional Development

Assessment from a Vice President's Point of View

Listen in as Dr. Zebulun Davenport (West Chester University), Dr. Cathy Akens (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and Dr. Laura Bayless (Fitchburg State University) talk about the importance of assessment and storytelling in this webinar entitled Assessment from a Vice President's Point of View. The conversation includes questions regarding the role of assessment in Student Affairs divisions, how assessment has been used to make change, challenges related to assessment, and ways staff can use assessment to support the work of the division.

Assessment/Research Ethics Certification

Planning a research or assessment project? The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is for you! After completing the training, you become eligible to submit an Institutional Research Board application (this is the board that governs research studies at WCU). The training involves a series of online modules and quizzes that cover our responsibility to protect participants from harm, issues that may arise during a study, and the ethical principles set forth by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research.

The Social Behavioral Research - Basic Refresher track is recommended for most Student Affairs staff. Once completed, the certification lasts for three years. Courses completed at other institutions may be eligible for consideration at WCU.

For more information about starting CITI training, click here .

Research and Assessment Guidelines

Research and assessment activities often explore people’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and more. The difference between research and assessment is based on who the results will be shared with. Assessment is primarily focused on internally on process improvement whereas research is primarily focused on advancing the field. Still, sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a project fits into research or assessment – and the requirements for conducting research are different than the requirements for conducting assessments. To learn more, read about the Research and Assessment Guidelines .


There are plenty of assessment, evaluation and research articles available. Here are links to a few resources specifically for higher education and Student Affairs.

Professional Organizations


  • ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute
  • ACPA Institute on the Curricular Approach
  • Assessment Institute in Indianapolis
  • Assessment Network of New York Conference
  • Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education
  • Association for Institutional Research
  • Drexel University Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning Assessment
  • Institute of Best Practices in Institutional Effectiveness
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education Annual Conference
  • NASPA Assessment, Persistence and Data Analytics Conference
  • New England College Assessment Conference
  • Texas Association for Higher Education Assessment Conference
  • Virginia Assessment Group's Conference


Student Affairs uses assessment to support student learning and success through strategic initiatives. Some of our reports include the following: