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New office to assess, strategize

Strategic planning and evaluation provide a foundation for organizational success, and with that in mind, the Division of Student Affairs has formed the Office of Student Affairs Assessment and Strategic Initiatives.

The new office, formerly the Center for Quality, will focus internally, said Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs.

“We asked ‘What do we want to be good at?’” he said. “We want to strengthen our core services and create a more flexible organization able to respond to the changing needs in a semester.”

The new office will help units in the Division of Student Affairs construct methods to collect data and come up with assessment plans, according to director Christina Knickerbocker.

“How are offices conducting their programs? What are the outcomes?” she said. “For every program they’ll have an assessment plan and their data will come back for benchmarking.”

Cross-divisional initiatives will also be key. “We’re taking a holistic approach,” Knickerbocker said. “We’re looking at the student as an entire student, and really trying to move the Division of Student Affairs to a much closer relationship with the academic component of the institution.”

Knickerbocker said the office will be looking at the characteristics of a Binghamton student.

“We’re a detective agency of sorts and the information we collect can be used in many ways,” she said, “whether for retention, use of resources or figuring out how to most effectively get information into the hands of students. We’ll have the research and will design strategies to deal with the issues we uncover.”

The office will work with the division in a way that contributes to the success of students, Knickerbocker added. “We’ll form hypotheses, ask questions, talk to people, do gap analyses and figure out what we can do to address any issues we find.”

Collecting precise information about student needs will help the division and the campus develop appropriate responses, Rose said.

“Having this assessment office will help us use our resources wisely,” he said. “And we’ll truly respond to the data we collect. I’m absolutely committed to using what we learn to improve student experiences and outcomes.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08