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Our Mission

The Commission for Assessment and Evaluation promotes assessment skills and knowledge to facilitate and support student learning, development, and effective student affairs practice.


ACPA’s Commission for Assessment and Evaluation will be an international leader in the development of sound practices and education in student affairs assessment and evaluation.
CAE group photo
group photo in presentation

Commission history

At the annual ACPA Convention in Baltimore in just a few weeks, the Commission for Assessment and Evaluation will celebrate its golden anniversary. Originally titled “Commission IX”, it was among the first eleven functional areas recognized by the association in 1961. Over the course of these past fifty years, the Commission has continued to grow, benefitting from forward-thinking leadership and an involved membership.

In 1986, Marcia Baxter Magolda chronicled the Commission’s 25-year history and, in conclusion, noted:

…while activities have changed over the history of the Commission, the major focus during each period accurately reflected the needs of the profession at the time.

Indeed, this effort to meet the needs of the profession remains a mainstay of the Commission these additional 25 years later.

Since Baxter Magolda’s reflective piece, the landscape of assessment in higher education, in general, and student affairs, in particular, has changed dramatically. Calls for higher education reform (cite sources) took hold late in the decade of the ‘80s and grew powerfully through the 1990s. Increasing demands – by the government, employers, and parent – for institutional accountability for learning left colleges and universities, as well as accrediting agencies, scrambling for means to demonstrate what students were learning and how. Grades, exam scores, and graduation rates – albeit important – no longer sufficed as indicators of learning. Student affairs professionals needed to be able to demonstrate co-curricular student learning and development as well as efforts to improve practice based on evidence.

The Commission’s focus shifted slightly, then, as the territory of assessment moved away from testing and towards student learning and institutional improvement. Efforts to enhance assessment skill capacity for student affairs professionals continued to grow as primary focal point for the Commission. Building on our history and strong foundation, today, the Commission’s mission is to “promote assessment skills and knowledge to facilitate and support student learning, development, and effective student affairs practice.” Among many others, some of the steps taken to help us achieve that mission have included:

  • Taking on leadership of the ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute – an annual curriculum-based institute designed to help student affairs professionals develop basic assessment skills.
  • Collaborating with the Commission for Housing and Residential Life to offer the Residential Curriculum Institute on an annual basis.
  • Sponsoring the maximum-allowed number of presentations and institutes on assessment and evaluation at the ACPA Annual Convention.
  • Developing and disseminating the Assessment Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Standards under the leadership of Alice Mitchell and Gavin Henning. These standards not only benefitted Association members but also served as a critical launching point as ACPA and NASPA sought to develop competencies for the profession.
  • Highlighting emerging best practices in the field of student affairs and assessment, first as awards presented to institutions and most recently as a monograph intended to reach a broader student affairs audience.
  • Maintaining relevant resources for association members. These resources included for several decades the maintenance of a clearinghouse of testing instruments and evaluations. Today, the Commission links members to online survey tools, assessment offices, and provides assessment tips via our websites and monthly membership newsletters.
  • Nearly doubling our membership from 450 to over 800.
  • Increasing our collaboration with other commissions and standing committees (e.g., Commission for Administrative Leadership, Commission for Housing and Residential Life) to reach even broader audiences.
  • Taking increased advantage of technology as a means to offering assessment education. We’ve offered and/or sponsored webinars, assisted with drive-in conferences, used our website to provide assessment education resources (including program presentation materials), and even used Twitter to communicate salient points from sessions at the Assessment Institute.
  • Crafting a series of monographs and publications for the association membership on such topics as emerging best practices in student affairs assessment, the role of student affairs in accreditation, and

As we look to the next 50 years, we have a tremendously solid foundation on which to build. The future of student affairs assessment and evaluation as well as student learning and development will continue to change. As it does so, Commission IX will be there to meet the ever-changing needs of our profession.

News & Updates

upcoming events

Assessing Experiential Learning with VALUE

Many departments within and outside of Student Affairs create employment and leadership development opportunities for students. As beyond the classroom educators, we should view these contexts for what they must be—highly effective learning experiences. However, assessing this learning in a meaningful manner can be difficult. Attend this webinar to learn how departments at the University of Southern Mississippi have enhanced the educational potential of these experiences using intentional learning-focused conversations, AAC&U’s VALUE Rubrics, and sound pedagogy.

Connected Student

Featuring Amy Homkes-Hayes and colleagues. University of Michigan’s Student Life has advanced research and practice on student learning using integrative learning pedagogy. Integrative ePortfolios measured by action based research have demonstrated significant gains in student learning. The scope of research has widened to include content analysis and controlled experiments. Integrative outcomes have also served as models for measuring student life wide student learning outcomes. In this session, practitioners and researchers examine both effective approaches to measuring student learning, and the practical implications of the research.

Assessing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

Many colleges and universities across the United States have created committees, departments, and leadership roles dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. 

In this webinar, Ryan J. Davis, Director of Assessment and Educational Programs at Purdue University, will provide an overview of a variety of approaches that campus officials may employ to fit their institutional and departmental missions, values, goals, and cultures. Specifically, participants will be able to identify multiple approaches to assessment and planning that enable campus officials to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within and across each campus unit. 

Recruiting Strategies Across Generations

The work environment is composed of a multi-generational landscape (Silent, Boomers, Gen X, Y, and soon Z). Each generation has different work values and preferences impacting employer recruitment efforts. This session will examine recruiting strategies across generations collected via an online survey. Participants will examine their work values and motivations through a generational lens and have the opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussion about recruiting strategies for the various generations and how they can assist both students and employer partners.

Narrative Inquiry

Narrative inquiry is a form of qualitative research that privileges participant stories. It is a complex methodology widely in educational research. However, it is rarely leveraged by administrators in student affairs. During this session, participants will hear from and be able to ask questions of a panel of two doctoral candidates and one faculty member who used narrative inquiry as the methodology of study for their dissertations. Challenges and strengths of narrative inquiry will also be identified and discussed.

Assessing Cultures of Assessment

With increasing calls for accountability, assessment has become a staple function for all divisions of student affairs. Ad hoc assessment occurring in pockets must be transformed into a culture where assessment is embedded into daily practice. Based on a chapter in the forthcoming ACPA/NASPA publication entitled Coordinating Divisional Assessment, participants attending this webinar will describe characteristics of cultures of assessment, use a tool to assess a division’s culture of assessment, and develop steps to cultivate such a culture.

Meet the Directorate

Our Directorate Board is made up of a variety of people all who are dedicated to helping us accomplish our mission. Each year the Directorate board develops teams, sets goals for each team and members work year-round to accomplish their goals. This year’s goals include having fun, developing educational sessions targeted at new and mid-level professionals, developing our on-line tools and resources, providing educational sessions at Convention and solidifying our communications plans. If you like to write about assessment, plan or facilitate education sessions, help us better utilize social media or just want to learn more about assessment while applying your event planning or communication skills, consider running for our Directorate board.

Kellie Dixon


North Carolina A&T State University

Danielle Acheampong

Directorate Member

University of California, Los Angeles

Gianina Baker

Directorate Member

University of Illinois

Shaun Boren

Directorate Member

University of Florida

Crystal Cyr

Directorate Member

University of Colorado, Boulder

Jerri Danso

Directorate Member

University of Florida

EmmaLe Davis

Directorate Member

University of Arkansas – Fayetteville

Claudette Drake

Directorate Member

North Carolina A&T State University

Sierra Gray

Directorate Member

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Hector Guzman

Directorate Member

Seattle University

Paul Holliday-Millard

Directorate Member

UNC Charlotte

DeVoneia Jordan

Directorate Member

California Polytechnic University Pomona

Andrea Kennedy

Directorate Member

Virginia Tech

Jade Kline

Directorate Member

Virginia Tech

Jeananne Knies

Directorate Member

Virginia Tech

Sarah LaFrance

Directorate Member

James Madison University

Quan Phan

Directorate Member

University of Oklahoma

Tori Rehr

Directorate Member

The Ohio State University

Valerie R. Samuel

Directorate Member

Kent State University

Michael Self Sr.

Directorate Member

Metropolitan State University

Krista Soria

Directorate Member

University of Idaho

Britt Spears

Directorate Member

Howard University

Anna Van Gurp

Directorate Member

Emory University

Alcedos Vanterpool

Directorate Member

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Mandy Westfall-Senda

Directorate Member

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Amy Westmoreland

Directorate Member

Pennsylvania State University

Sara Wills

Directorate Member

Western University

Myrah Wilson

Directorate Member

Howard University

Lin Zhang

Directorate Member

University of Arizona

Get Involved

Do you LOVE student affairs assessment, even if it’s not your full-time job? Join the Commission for Assessment & Evaluation to stay up-to-date with all things higher education assessment.

Ready to join?

Joining an Entity through the ACPA Member Portal automatically identifies you as a member of that Entity! You will begin to receive Entity communications through their respective email listserv and have access to any resources they share!

  1. Login to your ACPA Member Account
  2. Click on Community Groups (Chatter)
  3. Click Groups
  4. Click Active Groups
  5. Find the entity you want to join and within that group, click +Join

Contact, to learn more about ACPA’s Commission for Assessment & Evaluation.

Any ACPA member can become involved and there are varying levels of involvement:

  • Join our listserv (sign up under “my profile” in the ACPA membership area)
  • Attend our open business meeting at the annual ACPA convention
  • Review conference programs for the annual convention
  • Submit a sponsored program proposal for the annual convention
  • Host a webinar
  • Submit a proposal for a paper to be published on our website
  • Tell us how CAE can help you in your professional journey

cae blog

Find Time & Design Assessment

By: Megan Forecki Have you ever found yourself thinking “I just don’t have time for assessment!”? As a young professional, I understood the importance that assessment and evaluation has in higher education, but the thought of actually starting an assessment project...

CAE Awards

Every year, the Commission for Assessment & Evaluation recognizes dedicated assessment professionals at convention. The open nominations process allows professionals across the field to nominate themselves and others for recognition of their service.