Learning Outcomes Assessed in the 2015-2016 Academic Year
Students will develop and maintain meaningful relationships.
Students will develop a broad cultural awareness.
How Data was Collected
Data was collected throughout the year from various instruments including surveys, focus groups, and other assessments. Some examples include the annual Housing and Residence Life student satisfaction survey in November 2015. The department also distributed surveys to its employees and members of RHA and NRHH. It also collected information from Hall Directors reports which reported on learning that took place within the residence halls.
Results, Conclusions, and Discoveries
The Department of Housing and Residence Life has continued with their regular assessment cycle, choosing to evaluate the learning outcomes: "Students will develop meaningful relationships" and "Students will develop a broad cultural awareness." To assess these learning outcomes. Housing utilized surveys and instruments that were used in previous years with revised prompts to better measure this year's learning outcomes. This includes the annual student satisfaction survey, the RHA and NRHH surveys, Hall Director reports, and the annual student employee survey. In addition, we have also included assessment results for the annual Tunnel of Oppression event hosted by Peer Diversity Educators. While not done to specifically address the learning outcomes. Housing and Residence Life continues to hold focus groups on the Resident Assistant training process to assess the effectiveness of training and find ways to improve the process.
Surveys indicated that most respondents were able to meet the outcome, "Students will develop and maintain meaningful relationships." Over 82% of respondents, for example, agreed on the satisfaction survey that their RA encourages relationship and community building on their floor and over 85% agreed that they were able to solve conflicts with their roommates. Hall Director reports indicated there are many activities held throughout the year that promote meaningful relationships. Hall Directors reported evidence that students bonded with fellow residents during activities.
The learning outcome, "Students will develop a broad cultural awareness," proved more difficult to assess because the elements for this learning outcome were not very measurable. While we have evidence that students met the elements, "students engage in activities that differ from their cultural upbringing" and "students correctly observe cultural norms in specific settings," we have less evidence that students met the element, "students recognize the difference between a national context and a global context." For this element, we may have to re-evaluate if it should remain part of our outcomes. Like the meaningful relationships outcome, we were able to adapt our surveys to measure part of the elements. Overall, students agree on many of the surveys that programs in Housing engaged them in activities that differed from their cultural upbringing. In addition, the assessment committee worked with Peer Diversity Educators, developed an instrument to assess their annual Tunnel of Oppression event. Results indicated that a majority of participants, "engaged in activities different from their cultural upbringing" and correctly observed cultural norms in specific settings."
While we are pleased with these results, Housing and Residence Life is also committed to ensuring our environment is safe for all residents. In the satisfaction survey, most respondents (over 97%) agree that Housing is a safe place for residents of all backgrounds and identities. We also asked residents if they had experienced an act of bias against themselves or if they had witnessed an act of bias. The purpose of these questions was to get a sense of the frequency of incidents of bias beyond the number that is reported. The survey showed that 10% of respondents said that they had experienced one and 18% of respondents had witnessed and incident. While the numbers are concerning, it should be noted that the question did not specifically ask if those incidents tool place in the residence halls. In the future, the committee will consider revising the question accordingly.
How the Results were Used
Since our outcomes were met based on our assessments, we have not yet made any program changes. However, we are currently working to make changes to our assessment program as a whole. These changes include streamlining the learning outcomes and editing them to better align with the UW-Eau Claire Guidepost Goals. Along with the re-writing of the learning outcomes, we hope to utilize data from the Office of Institutional Research to determine if on-campus students are meeting these goals. The use of this kind of data to supplement our assessment methods curbs our reliance on self-reported data, which, as noted in previous reports, can be problematic.