Over the last few months, all units on campus have needed to plan in unprecedented ways for how best to support students, faculty, and other communities in response to the pandemic. As the activities related to teaching, learning, and research continue remotely during the spring term amid incredibly challenging circumstances, understanding the barriers students and faculty face has become more important than ever. Assessing and addressing community needs is also important for developing  appropriate supports for these communities as colleges and universities prepare for a still-disrupted fall semester.

Come join us on on Wednesday, May 13th at 3:00 pm ET as we convene a moderated discussion on the assessment strategies institutions are taking to understand evolving teaching, learning, and research support needs during the pandemic along with panelists Michael Bates (Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education, Harper College), Melissa Sturm-Smith (Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Student Success, Drake University), Julie Beth Todaro (Dean of Library Services, Austin Community College), and Craig Smith (Assessment Specialist, University of Michigan Library).

The need to assess research, teaching, and learning must be balanced against placing an undue burden on the communities engaged in these practices. Many institutional assessment activities with campus communities–surveys, interviews, focus groups–have needed to be postponed or altered. The methods for conducting the assessment that is going forward also needs to be re-thought as assessment itself also transitions to remote delivery. Likewise, entirely new assessment activities have also emerged. Many emergency response surveys–including the Ithaka S+R COVID-19 faculty and student surveys–have been deployed. Many units–perhaps especially academic libraries–are also looking to existing data sources on user behavior so as to not burden communities with additional requests at this time.

Creating a coordinated assessment effort across units is more important than ever. There is information about faculty research and teaching practices as well as student learning practices and holistic needs that many areas–including libraries, teaching and learning centers, institutional research offices, provost offices, and various student affairs support services–need in order to effectively address community needs. Thus, units may need to work together in new ways during the pandemic to address these needs. Having assessment data siloed in just one unit is not an efficient use of labor–not only for those designing and administering the assessment activities but also for those who need to contribute their time to participating as respondents.

What can we learn from taking a multi-unit perspective on assessing and addressing community needs at this moment in time? What additional opportunities for collaboration exist? We hope you can join us on May 13th at 3:00pm ET and invite you to share your institutions’ experiences and needs in the comments below and during the event.