Upcoming Workshops & Events

Strategic theme/ Competency

Description & Registration

***(RSVP HERE)***


Date & Time



Advancing Assessment

A1: Assessment Ethics, Purpose and Series Overview

Attendees will learn why assessment has been woven into the fabric of higher education and student affairs, specifically. Important ethical considerations are identified and discussed. An overview and desired outcomes for the assessment series will be provided. (Duration: One hour)

Pro Tip: A good assessment will 1) focus on an intentional outcome linked to your department’s mission statement and 2) inform important decisions.

Thursday, October 12 at 2:00 pmRoom H, R.C. Cook Student Union
Advancing Assessment

A2: Intro to Evidence

Practitioners want to make decisions based on good data, but not all data is good data.  This session reviews important epistemological considerations (i.e., what constitutes meaningful data) as well as factors of reliability and validity, which differ slightly from traditional requirements of rigorous scientific inquiry. (Duration: One hour)

Pro Tip: Although we may personally favor one method of discovery over another (e.g., quantitative v. qualitative), we must recognize the validity of respected methods and use the best tool for the task at hand.

Wednesday, October 18 at 9:00 am

Fran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC 
Advancing Assessment

A3: Outcome Statements 2.0: Writing, Planning, and Enacting

Many higher education professionals have experience writing learning or program outcomes, but challenges remain when linking outcomes to operational, programmatic, or student learning goals.  This session will fill these gaps by 1) reviewing outcome-writing techniques (i.e., SMART goals), 2) mapping outcomes against the strategic planning and student learning goals, and 3) coordinating logistics. (Duration: Two hours)

Pro Tip: Engage stakeholders in the outcome-writing process and enlist champions to ensure momentum is not lost.

Tuesday, October 31 at 9:00 amFran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC 
Advancing Assessment

A4: Qualitative Methods I: Conducting Focus Groups, Interviews & Content Analyses

Likert-type survey items are not always the best tools. Sometimes, giving students opportunities to respond to open-ended questions or prompts uncovers new and important attitudes and understanding. This session provides step-by-step procedures for running focus groups and interviews effectively. Attendees will also learn how to analyze narrative feedback (written or oral) with content analysis methods. (Duration: Two hours)

Pro Tip: When interpreting qualitative data, take great care to look for the intended meaning of the collected data and not your subjective/personal understanding situation.

Wednesday, November 15 at 9:00 am Fran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC

Leadership/ Management Training

The Top 10 Leadership Mistakes *RSVP Required - email krystyna.varnado@usm.edu*

In an effort to provide more development opportunities for leaders at USM, Human Resources will offer a one-hour session "The Top 10 Leadership Mistakes" presented by our AVP of HR Krystyna Varnado, in Cook Library (map) Room 123 on the Hattiesburg campus. With 20 years of human resources experience, Varnado will expose the most common mistakes supervisors make in managing people and introduce new ways of thinking about leadership. Seats are limited, so priority will be given to faculty and staff with current supervisory responsibility.

To register, please e-mail krystyna.varnado@usm.edu(link sends e-mail).

Thursday, November 16 at 10:00 am Cook Library Room 123
Advancing Assessment

A5: Qualitative Methods II: Assessing Experiences with Guided Reflections

Sometimes we need to understand how students make meaning from their experiences in our programs. In other words, are our students actually learning teamwork or problem-solving skills? Multiple methods could answer that question, but this session will focus on using observations and guided reflections to understand the degree to which our students are learning from the experiences you are providing them. Attendees will be able to incorporate these methods into their VALUE rubric (and other) assessment protocols. (Duration: Two hours)

Pro Tip: Use rubrics or other established criteria to 1) identify effective observation opportunities and 2) write effective reflective prompts. This practice helps ensure your respondents provide data related specifically to the outcome statement.

Tuesday, November 28 at 9:00 am Fran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC 
Advancing Assessment

A6: Questionnaire Design Considerations

While it may seem easy to create a survey or questionnaire, creating a useful survey requires attention to detail and a clear purpose. Attendees of this session will learn important considerations when asking demographic, Liker-type, and open-ended questions in their surveys. Attendees will work on their own survey through guided assistance while also preparing their own results statements.

Pro Tip: Before distributing your survey, have two or three would-be respondents complete the survey while in front of you. Ask them to think out loud, especially when they are confused by a prompt. Listen to their comments, fix the trouble spots, and repeat until the instrument is clear.

Tuesday, December 12 at 9:00 amFran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC
Advancing Assessment 

A7: Quantitative Methods I: Using Descriptive Statistics Effectively

Quantitative methods use numerical data to quantify and understand specific elements of the environment including student attitudes, understanding, and behavior. This data may be used to produce descriptive or inferential statistics. This session will focus on the former. Attendees will learn about cross tabulation as well as how and when to interpret means, medians, and percentages when reporting typical survey or attribution data. Limitations of descriptive data usage will also be explained.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop to enhance participation. (Duration: Two hours)

Pro Tip: After writing the outcome-statement and planning the program or operational task, write the result statement as you imagine it to be in the end. This helps to ensure you will have the type of data that will be helpful to the organization.

Tuesday, December 19 at 9:00 amFran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC 
Advancing Assessment

A8: Quantitative Methods II: Inferential Statistic Basics

This session focuses the basic inferential statistics that can be useful within student affairs contexts. Specifically, attendees will learn about three analyses (i.e., Chi-Squared tests, Correlation, and t-tests) including a demonstration of each process. The meaning derived from inferential statistics is based on several assumptions, which will also be reviewed. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop to enhance participation. (Duration: Two hours)

Pro Tip: Inferential statistics can be great, but they are only as good as the data being used. Garbage in, garbage out. All inferential statistics operate with assumptions, such as random selection and normal distribution. These are often difficult to achieve in small-scale assessments, though not impossible. Practitioners must understand these assumptions, the tests’ robustness against violations, and how violations could affect the analysis.

Thursday, January 23 at 9:00 am

Fran Jones Legacy Room (210) TCC

Advancing Assessment

A9: Closing the Loop: Using Assessments to Guide Improvement

Assessments will not be helpful unless we use the experience and the data to inform our pedagogical, operational, or administrative practice. When done well, assessments prove effective tools in the decision-making process, a process called closing the loop. Attendees of this session will learn how to close the loop, thus ensuring the data is used with a meaningful effect. (Duration: One hour)

Pro Tip: Tell stakeholders about improvements resulting from assessment-informed decisions. Sharing evidence of these outcomes will encourage others to conduct their own assessments and it will show participants that their time was well spent.

Tuesday, January 30 at 10:00 amFran Jones Legacy Room (210), TCC