After originally being unable to engage in the State of the Union address last night (I was packing during the beginning, but listened as I placed my life into boxes and bags), I hopped online in time to see many skeptical and concerned eyes turn toward Obama's College Scorecard initiative. Of the responses to it, Cindy Kane's stood out to me, and I immediately responded:
Will we be involved in these talks?
I recognize that, as an assessment professional, that seems like an odd thing to say. And I don't say it to diminish the need for assessment in our work. I think that we should have a way to measure our successes, and to have reference points by which to improve upon our current methods. But (controversial statement ahead) is that why we have assessment professionals? Chris Conzen, in typical mentor fashion, made a great point about our field in relation to (or as we sometimes treat it, measured against) academic affairs and operations:
|This one got some wheels turning.|
But this post isn't designed to talk me out of a job. Rather, it's a call for (or maybe at this point, just a hope for) a valuing of the work that we do. At one point, Joe Sabado brought it to a question that, for me, could merit a whole separate entry: is the purpose of higher education to encourage learning for its own sake, or to get its graduates jobs? I am admittedly unprepared to answer that question right now. But what I will say is that our work, when done well, does both those things. "Our work" in this context includes the work of both student affairs and academic affairs. Students who are well prepared with both a broad base of knowledge that can be gained in the classroom, and the practical application of that knowledge in venues for student engagement, could be unstoppable. I truly believe that. And so do the future employers of our students, who are demanding with increasing frequency graduates with critical thinking skills, the ability to work well in teams, and an understanding of how to apply knowledge to "real-world" situations. All of those things can be learned in student affairs settings, we've all seen it from our best and most involved students.
|Stats AND intangibles got Luck to the #1 spot.|