Assessment, Research, and Divisional Effectiveness

Working with OARDE

If you want to work with OARDE on an assessment, data analysis, data collection, or research project, please complete a project request form.

Asking about Demographic Characteristics

A resource on asking about demographic characteristics, including age, first-generation student status, military affiliation, gender identity, race & ethnicity, residency, and other characteristics asked for in surveys and questionnaires. 

More information can be found starting here.

Assessment Plans

What is an assessment plan?
It describes, in detail:

  • Each department’s mission, vision, and goals
  • Signature and significant programs and services offered in the Division of Student Affairs
  • Links between departmental efforts and the division’s mission, values, and priorities
  • Assessment efforts employed to examine programs and services
  • Key metrics and measurements used to gauge efficacy

Why do we need a division-wide assessment plan?

  • The Division of Student Affairs has nearly 30 departments and over 50 functional areas
  • No division-level understanding of all efforts exists
  • A lot of our individual work is similar to others’ work in the division

Our ability to tell a cohesive story hinges on a clear understanding of what everyone in each department is doing, at least at a high level.

Program Reviews

Program reviews are designed to allow departments and staff understand their work, specifically:

  • What’s working (and why)
  • What isn’t working (and why)
  • What could be added (and why)
  • What doesn’t need to be done any longer (and why)

They are data-driven processes that occur in three steps:

  1. An internal-to-the-department self-study
  2. An external review of the department conducted by department-identified experts in the field
  3. Consideration of the external review team's recommendations and developing plans for moving forward

Key Documents

  • Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities (PDF)– this is an overview of the program review process, and details out who will oversee what components of the program review.
  • Self-Study Outline – this outline (in PDF) provides the structure for a department’s self-study
  • External Committee Member Identification – this form is used to identify potential members of a department’s external review team.
  • Program Review Recommendations Worksheet – this Excel worksheet is to be used by departments when reviewing the final report from the External Review Team. It is a means for identifying all recommendations made and determining if and/or when they will be addressed by the department.
  • External Review Team Example Schedule (PDF) – a potential schedule for the 2 1/2 days of the review. This can be altered to fit the needs of the department, with approval by the Director of Student Affairs Assessment & Research.


Survey Timing

The timing of a survey is just as important as the questions being asked. In an effort to ensure staff at ISU have the greatest chance of getting the most viable information from their survey administration, the Director of Student Affairs Assessment & Research has worked to develop a calendar of what surveys were/will be administered from one or more offices in the Division of Student Affairs. Current and future semester calendars are updated on an on-going basis as information about and participation in various surveys are determined.

If you have a survey you would like added to this list, or if you want to discuss timing for your survey, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or call 515-294-5162.

Submit a Survey or Key Date for 2023-2024

2023-2024 Academic Year Surveys and Key Dates

Previous years

2022-2023 Academic Year Surveys and Key Dates
2021-2022 Academic Year Surveys and Key Dates 
2020-2021 Academic Year Surveys and Key Dates
2019-2020 Academic Year Surveys and Key Dates


Assessment is not a solo activity – it is something that is best done in collaboration and consultation with others. With that in mind, assessment resources for the Division of Student Affairs at Iowa State University are provided here.


Assessment: Start with Questions – Fall/Winter 2021-2022 Assessment Workshops

Assessment Level Up – Summer 2020 Webinar Series

Spring 2020 Assessment Webinar Series

Primer on Focus Groups – presented to ISU College of Engineering learning communities staff May 9, 2017

Spring 2017 Assessment in Student Affairs Series


Assessment Planning Template (MS Word)