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The Student Affairs Assessment Advisory Council (SAAC) and Student Affairs Assessment Support Services (SASS) are here to support you as you strive to continuously improve your educational programs and make a difference in the learning and developmental outcomes of numerous JMU students. Through systematic collection of information and quality assessment practices, we can help you make evidence-based decisions about the effectiveness of your programs. We can also help you demonstrate improvements in student learning and/or development associated with your program. We strive to help our clients use assessment practices to share learning improvement stories from their program!

SAAC and SASS overlap in their mission to support student learning and development via Student Affairs programming at JMU but there are several distinctions between how each can support the assessment of your programs.

How the SA Assessment Advisory Council can assist you:

The SAAC was formed by the SA division Vice President and Associate Vice Presidents in the summer of 2012. Each SA department has a representative on the council. The SAAC consists of Student Affairs practitioners with a variety of interests and disciplines.

Members of SAAC can provide:

  • Historical context regarding previous assessment practices in various Student Affairs departments
  • Ideas for Student Affairs assessment projects related to student learning and development
  • Information regarding professional assessment training opportunities (e.g., conferences, grants, on-campus opportunities)
  • Support for assessment initiatives within your department.

If you would like to get involved as a member of the SA AAC, please talk with your immediate supervisor or contact any member of the Council.

Additional support for your assessment work can be obtained by submitting a Student Affairs Learning Improvement application. Applications are due each year on May 15th

Here are 4 examples of the Learning Improvement application:

How Student Affairs Assessment Support Services can assist you:

SASS is part of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies (CARS) at JMU. SASS consists of a team of professional faculty and graduate students who specialize in assessment and measurement. SASS was created to enhance the assessment capacity of Student Affairs professionals through direct consultation, education, and the dissemination of scholarly work relevant to assessment practice.

Members of SASS can provide:

Technical Assistance with Educational Assessment

  • Help develop student learning outcomes that are manageable, measurable, and meaningful.
  • Provide techniques for mapping elements of curriculum or programming to each objective.
  • Help with the selection and design of instruments and advise and/or analyze an instrument's reliability and validity.
  • Assess implementation fidelity to help determine whether programs occurred as intended.
  • Offer methods for collecting the right kind of information in order to address important research questions about student learning and/or development.
  • Help manage and analyze data.
  • Help interpret data to uncover potential implications and limitations of inferences drawn from results and identify areas to target for improvement.

Workshops and Additional Training Opportunities

  • Offer workshops on each stage of the assessment cycle and other topics relevant to assessment, measurement, and learning improvement. Contact SASS for more information about workshop opportunities.
  • CARS also provides a summer training fellowship program (i.e., the Assessment 101) for individuals who are interested in refining their assessment skills. If you would like additional information about this program, please contact Sara Finney at or Jonathan Stewart at
  • SASS also provides a more advanced partnership with the Division of Student Affairs that focuses on the improvement of student learning and/or development. The document provided explains this opportunity and how to apply.

Dissemination of Scholarly Work: Assessment is Scholarship!

  • Collaborate with SA departments to present their work at international, national, and regional professional conferences.
  • Consult with SA departments to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.

To learn more about SASS visit their website ( or contact them at

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