Powerful Programming for Student Learning: Approaches That Make a Difference

Powerful Programming for Student Learning: Approaches That Make a Difference

Powerful Programming for Student Learning: Approaches That Make a Difference

Powerful Programming for Student Learning: Approaches That Make a Difference

Synopsis

This is the 90th issue of the quarterly journal "New Directions for Student Services,"

Excerpt

Prior to designing and implementing any programmatic
initiative, the programmer must consider the assessment
of individual and group needs as well as environmental or
cultural dimensions.

Diane L. Cooper, Sue A. Saunders

Andreas (1993) points out that no matter in which student affairs area we are employed, chances are very good that we will be called upon to work on some phase of programming, from assessment and design through implementation and evaluation. Often, we arrive at a new institution eager to begin our position and are immediately faced with a set of program initiatives that seem outdated, unnecessary, underused, or redundant. When we try to ascertain why programs are in place, we are met with responses such as [we have always done it that way,] or [because Dr. X thought it would be a good idea,] or [because we had a problem with that once,] or [the Chron- icle says it is a problem nationally, so we assumed it is a problem here.] These difficulties and responses, as well as the fact that student affairs positions require some involvement in programming, all point to a need to know how to conduct assessment prior to both initiating new programs and refining or redesigning programs currently in place. This chapter identifies the models of program planning and discusses the differences between environmental assessment and needs assessment.

The term program may be used to describe a functional unit such as international student programs, a series of activities such as leadership development programs, or a one-shot event such as a résumé writing workshop (Barr, Keating, and Associates, 1985). Each of these types of programs requires a somewhat different assessment approach, which may also need to take place on several levels:

Individual or group level—assessing the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and
beliefs of individuals who will attend or take part in the programming ini
tiative . . .

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