Debunking the Myths
BY ADAM S. GREEN
It is no surprise that many college and university leaders are calling on senior student affairs officers
(SSAOs) to provide concrete evidence of student learning for accreditation purposes. Gone are the days
of simply viewing student affairs professionals as service providers. Gone are the days of simply
counting the number of students who attend student affairs-sponsored programs and events. Gone are
the days of simply asking students to complete satisfaction surveys. Higher education leaders recognize that
student affairs divisions provide educational experiences, as SSAOs have long advocated. Now SSAOs must
be accountable for those educational experiences.
Unfortunately, many SSAOs are still left scratching their
heads about how to engage in learning outcomes assessment,
let alone produce meaningful learner-centered reports for
accreditation committees. A number of misconceptions often
accompany the implementation of student affairs learning
outcomes assessment practices.
MYTH 1: Student affairs divisions need to assess
student learning because of accreditation requirements.
The purpose of assessment is to provide SSAOs and other
student affairs educators with useful data and evidence to
appropriately make decisions to enhance the overall student
experience—with student learning at its core. The accredita-