Texas Tech Division of Student Affairs Wins National Award

Texas Tech University’s Division of Student Affairs receives the Ted K. Miller Achievement of Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)

Sandra Marquez Hall, head of strategic planning for Texas Tech University’s Division of Student Affairs, today (April 14) received the Ted K. Miller Achievement of Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

The award, presented in Washington, D.C., is for Marquez Hall’s adaptation of the CAS self-assessment guidelines for use by the 21 areas reporting to the Division of Student Affairs.

Once she discovered that the CAS assessment was too time-consuming for the departments she adapted the organization’s 13 criteria into easier-to-use templates for the departments. Marquez Hall also developed a training series and curriculum to help department directors navigate through the review process efficiently.

The CAS assessment measures everything from ethics to equity and access and from facilities and technology to leadership.

"This is a self-evaluation tool and it requires a major commitment from our department," said Marquez Hall. "The training, curriculum and templates allow more people within a department to participate in the process and offer their input. The goal is to use the assessment to raise the level of performance in each department."

Once a department has completed its assessment, another twist added by the division is to have an outside expert come in and evaluate the department’s final report. The outside reviewer then offers feedback and recommendations.

Michael Shonrock, vice president for student affairs said it is vital to know how well the division is living up to its mission of promoting each student’s learning.

"Assessment of our departments is required in the university’s strategic plan, but this assessment plan allows us to dig deeper and look at how we measure up to the standards that have been established for higher education in the support areas," said Shonrock. "The payoff is that we are better able to assess where we need to invest our resources in an effort to better our service and to help hold the line on college costs."

For the departments that have completed the process the next step is to work out ways to strengthen any weak areas and put improvements into place. Once every department has gone through an assessment, in about five years, the process will start over again.

CAS, established in 1979, is an international consortium of more than 35 major higher education associations representing more than 100,000 professionals and is devoted to the establishment and dissemination of standards and the enhancement of student learning.

Contact: Sandra Marquez Hall, Texas Tech Division of Student Affairs, (806) 742-6669 or Sandra.marquez-hall@ttu.edu.