-Katherine Lawton and Tara Duprey

In its second year, GW UN 360 program provided 21 GW students with a unique opportunity to learn about the work of the United Nations (UN) and its partner organizations through a series of site visits and events. The students were selected from a competitive pool of nearly 200 applicants and represented academic backgrounds which ranged from undergraduate students majoring in speech, language and hearing, psychology, international affairs, and public health to graduate students studying security policy, global health, and education.

The program aims to provide a 360-degree view of how these organizations ‘get the work done’ as well as uncover the skills required to be competitive for positions within these organizations. Under the leadership of the Center for Career Services staff and GW faculty member Lisa Benton-Short, the cohort learned about how different organizations work toward achieving the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address global topics ranging from hunger, health and gender to climate change, peace and education.

This fall semester while in D.C., the cohort visited the UN Foundation, World Food Program, USAID, UNICEF USA, and the World Bank. During GW's fall break, the cohort traveled to New York City and met with professionals at UN Headquarters. The cohort also had the opportunity to network with alumni and professionals supporting the SDGs during a culminating reception held in November at the UN Foundation in DC.

Students in the cohort felt the opportunity to be a part of GW UN 360° made a meaningful impact on them as they navigate their possible career next-steps, with 100% of the students reporting that this program met their expectations.

DSA staff members are once again invited to wear casual attire, including appropriate jeans (no holes, rips, or tears), and may also wish to wear buff and blue GW attire whenever they want to show their Colonial spirit throughout winter break from December 26-January 12.  At all times, please continue to use your discretion in making appropriate clothing decisions based on your experience, needs, and professional context, including during Spring Colonial Inauguration. If you have any questions about these guidelines, including what is appropriate casual attire, please talk with your manager.

-STEMworks Communication Team

Located on the entrance floor of Gelman Library, STEMworks is a one-stop shop for quantitative and spatial reasoning skills for students, faculty, and staff of any major or discipline. After opening this fall, STEMworks provides more than 125 hours of drop-in tutoring on STEM subjects each week, as well as makes one-on-one meetings and small group sessions available by appointment. Consultations are available for academic, research, and personal projects in statistics, econometrics, GIS, programming, software development, and digital scholarship. Additionally, workshops hosted in STEMworks provide opportunities to brush up on data skills, programming, and GIS.

The Professional Development and Teambuilding (PDTB) Committee hosted a tour of the new Harlan Greenhouse in the Science and Engineering Hall for DSA staff on Friday, December 1st. Greenhouse Manager Rachel Klein gave a tour of the greenhouse’s plants, displays, animals, and insects as well as some of the ongoing student research projects. The greenhouse is available for tours Fridays between 1:00 and 3:00pm and volunteers may be able to help with gardening tasks at these times. Follow @GWBiology to learn more about all that the Greenhouse has to offer!

Please contact any member of the Professional Development and Teambuilding Committee if you have questions or ideas for Forums, personal development activities, or fellowship activities: Ben Cerny (Center for Career Services), Toby Davidow (Planning and Outreach), JoEllen Finley (Center for Career Services), Kathy Gaitán (Finance), Sherry Leung (Center for Student Engagement), CJ Maduka (Center for Student Engagement), Robert Snyder (Planning and Outreach), Karen Troccoli (Colonial Health Center), and Jennie Whitlock (Planning and Outreach). 

Thank you for your attendance and participation at the DSA Staff Forum, Conference/Academic Presentations and Papers Showcase on Tuesday, December 12th! It was wonderful to hear about the following research, trainings, and interests colleagues are engaged in and learn from their continued experiences:

  • Reclaiming my Time: Work-Life Integration Through the Lens of Travel - Ron Alexander, Center for Student Engagement and Ethan Stubbs, Center for Student Engagement
  • Positive Leadership Certificate Program - Rachel Brown, Center for Career Services
  • The Freshman Transition: A Needs Assessment of First-Year Student Subjective Well-Being at the George Washington University - Kiran Edelstein, Student Support and Family Engagement
  • Advising Through Controversy: Balancing Student Desires, Institutional Needs, and the First Amendment - Anne Graham, Center for Student Engagement and Tim Miller, Center for Student Engagement
  • GW TRAiLS and Mental Health Services: A Unique Partnership - Sarah Harte, Colonial Health Center and Lin Philpott, Center for Student Engagement
  • Fraternity/Sorority Hazing: Trends on College Campuses and Best Practices for Eliminating Hazing - Travis Roberts, Center for Student Engagement
  • Student Body Presidents and Institutional Leaders: Navigating Power and Influence - Robert Snyder, Planning and Outreach
  • The Student Org Advisor Relationship and Student Success - Christina Witkowicki, Center for Student Engagement

We value your feedback on this Forum and are asking for your participation in a very brief survey accessible here that should take you now more than 3-5 minutes to complete.

Please save the date for the next Forum titled, “Generation Z”, to be held on Tuesday, January 23rd from 10-11:00am in Post Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.  Also, for an optional Personal Development Activity focused on wellbeing in January - date to be announced.

Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) is pleased to announce that registration for "Applying and Leading Assessment in Student Affairs,” an online open course available at no charge through Colorado State University in collaboration
with SAAL, will open on January 8, 2018.

This eight-week course starts on February 5, 2018. The curriculum is self-paced and aims to provide participants the opportunity to:

    • Review concepts that contribute to sound assessment practice and a sustainable culture of evidence,
    • Explore and engage in the development of foundational assessment components including planning, articulating goals and outcomes, and providing feedback,
    • Identify and practice strategies for guiding assessment efforts across multiple functional areas and building assessment capacity among teams, and
    • Discover ways to translate data to a story of student success and a plan for action.

The first assessment staff training of the semester began with the good, the bad, and the alternatives to surveys. The workshop, “Beyond Surveys”, was presented by Kaitlyn Schmitt and Emily Kane on Thursday, November 16. The workshop included an overview of the downfalls of surveys, alternative assessment methods, and a productive conversation about practical application.

Survey fatigue, surveying individuals to the point where they become uninterested in taking surveys, is one of the commonly encountered downfalls of using surveys. Surveys can also be time-intensive to build and lack explanations for the data gathered. However, surveys can be useful to measure quantitative data, understand surface level opinion, and sample a large number of participants.  

A solution to survey fatigue, along with the other downfalls of surveys, is to use an alternative assessment method. Some alternative assessment methods include found data, focus groups, benchmarking, rubrics, and observation. The workshop outlined when to use each method, as well as their downfalls.

At staff trainings, members of the Assessment Committee strive to help participants practically apply their newfound knowledge to their work. As such, this workshop ended with a productive conversation which led participants to formulate new ideas about how to efficiently utilize alternative assessment methods in current and upcoming projects.

If you would like to learn more about found data, visit students.gwu.edu/staff-training to view the 2017 presentation, “Found Data”.

For a copy of the entire “Beyond Surveys” presentation, visit students.gwu.edu/staff-training.

Don’t miss our upcoming staff trainings!

  • “R Rubrics 4 U?” workshop presented by Robert Snyder on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 1pm.
  • Drop-in office hours on Wednesday, July 18, at 1-3pm. Office hours are open for anyone in the division to ask any assessment questions, including but not limited to Continuous Improvement Projects, learning oriented assessment, or an assessment project you would like to work on. Benefit from the collective brainpower of the Assessment Committee and join us for office hours. Sign up today or feel free to drop in!

The following is an overview of the Continuous Improvement Projects (CIP) that DSA departments have proposed to undertake. The Continuous Improvement Project is a rigorous, standards driven assessment model that analyzes at least one program or service in each department every year. Throughout the course of the Departmental Continuous Improvement Project process, updates will be provided as appropriate. Some projects will also be spotlighted in the Assessment Results Showcase as part of the DSA Forum on Monday, March 19, at 1-2:30pm.  

Center for Career Services

  • GW Students of Color: Engagement with the Center for Career Services: Develop and implement two focus groups for Black and Latino students to understand how they perceive and utilize career services.

Center for Student Engagement

  • An evaluation and development of a proposal for an updated student org advising structure: Update our advising structure for student organizations to provide a high level of service and support within a reasonable staffing and workload structure.
  • Greek Life Task Force Revisited: Gain feedback from constituents on the recommendations, the implementation, and whether any updates are necessary to the Greek Life Task Force.
  • CSE Staff meetings revamp project: Review each of our meetings: All staff members, SAT (advising) team, and senior leadership to determine their relevance, value, content, delivery method, timing, and frequency.
  • CSE and GW Housing Merger: Examine all of the ways that these two important organizations come together and how to best manage the integration of the different cultures, processes, systems, people, and passions present in GW Housing and CSE.

Colonial Health Center

  • Electronic Health Records System: Identify the needs of the Colonial Health Center related to selecting an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. This includes evaluating the current vendors for EHR systems for college student health centers and selecting the appropriate vendor that meets our needs.

Office of Military and Veteran Student Services

  • Departmental Review/Action Plan: Examine the purpose and structure of the office, communications and social media, engagement and community building, and academic and financial policies and procedures.

Planning and Outreach

  • Evaluating and Enhancing the Continuous Improvement Project (CIP) model at the Conclusion of its First Year: Gain feedback on the new Continuous Improvement Project model in order to improve the process moving forward.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • Case Referrals: Process Improvement focusing on the referral process for drug and alcohol cases- includes Student Rights and Responsibilities, Health Promotion Education, and Student Support and Family Engagement.

Student Support and Family Engagement

  • Assessment of Academic Component of Colonial Inauguration: Analyze survey results, campus partner feedback, and best practices to determine the most effective way to engage students with the academic experience at CI.

Here are some current titles that may be helpful in fostering your professional development. If there is an article that you have found particularly helpful, or if you have written something yourself, please feel free to submit it to Jennie Whitlock at jwhitlock@gwu.edu for possible inclusion in an upcoming Buff 'N Blue Report.

The Administrator as Change Agent

The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College

A Thanksgiving Letter to My Students

Winter Break, Well Spent