This semester, I had the priviledge of supervising graduate interns Erika Garcia and Cynthia Rodriguez, whom many of you have met. Here are some thoughts from Cynthia:
As my internship with Strategic Planning and Assessment winds to a close, I can confidently say that I am a tried-and-true assessment nerd (and proud)! This developed over years as a teacher, master’s level coursework, and guidance from my internship supervisor/fairy Godmother, Kasey Neece-Fielder. Trying to find the words to describe my experience was proving difficult until I attended this month’s Student Affairs Council meeting on the NASPA/ACPA Competency of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research with guest speaker Dr. Rishi Sriram.
After minutes in the presence of Dr. Sriram, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Baylor University’s Higher Education and Student Affairs department, it was evident that he was a bit of an assessment rock star (and he had the microphone to prove it). Thankfully, he was able to better articulate some of the conclusions I had made throughout my internship experience.
Here are a few takeaways from the presentation:
- Assessment is not a bad word. Assessment is essentially research of things that we’d like to know and is always ongoing. We should not wait until times of reporting to think about assessment; instead the concept of research should be embedded in our daily work. To put it this way, if we do not know where we are going, how will we know when we get there?
- To be competent in research, we must build research values, research behaviors, research skills, and a research culture. The idea of being a researcher has typically been left to the faculty, but we should also consider ourselves Scholar-Practitioners that use assessment to inform our daily work.
- As practitioners, we are responsible for nudging each other to grow. Individually, we should make daily efforts to read current research in our fields; communally, we should be willing to engage in year-long projects involving research.
- We should call each other to research by hosting monthly interdepartmental reading groups to ensure that we know the current trends and issues affecting our departments and the field of Student Affairs.
- Lastly, and most importantly, knowing that we all believe there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish all that we should, we must not leave assessment competency entirely to our department’s assessment representatives. We should all be Scholar-Practitioners in our daily work. Go forth and explore!
Thank you all for an incredible internship and allowing me into your work-homes as I joined Kasey on her Rodeo Road Trip this semester. As I embark on a new journey outside of UTSA, I will never forget my experience and all that research has taught me.
— Cynthia Rodriguez
Cynthia, thank you for your role this semester, and we wish you all the best in your doctoral studies!
See you next month!