May 22, 2017
Dr. Dawna Wilson Horton, Research Analyst and Dr. Kimberly Lowry, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Success at Eastfield College are the 2017 recipients of the NASPA Assessment, Evaluation and Research Knowledge Community Innovation Award.
Dawna and Kimberly are being recognized for their innovative approach to improving peak registration through assessment. Historically, Eastfield College practiced limited to procedural reviews of student affairs processes and procedures. When faced with mounting complaints regarding registration inefficiencies, Horton and Lowry designed and implemented a comprehensive registration assessment plan between 2015 and 2017. Relying on both broad quantitative and deep qualitative methods, students and employees provided data focused around a need to enhance customer service, focus on employee training, communication and physical space for peak registration.
Based on the data, changes were implemented in stages. The most recently collected data indicates steady improvement in our processes as well as student and employee experiences. Assessment outcomes further revealed recurring concerns that stemmed from departments’ siloed approaches to conducting registration.
Horton and Lowry’s assessment initiative has impacted students, employees, administrators and our college as a whole. Unexpectedly, this effort has prompted a new level of engagement by students and staff. For example, both groups expressed heart-felt appreciation for being formally asked their opinions, believing their voices would make a difference and eagerly volunteered for subsequent focus groups. From an administrative perspective, we see more clearly the need to gather critical data from key stakeholders when planning and making decisions. Finally, our college has adopted a campus-wide, collaborative approach to peak registration. All student affairs, deans and directors formally and intentionally come to the table with directors of the business office, financial aid, facilities, information technology, and marketing to jointly plan, implement and review peak registration.
Through their innovative efforts, Drs. Horton and Lowry underscored the value and need for assessment when pursuing continuous improvement among student support services. More importantly, they shifted mindsets and moved our institution forward in building a culture of assessment within our student affairs division.
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