Student organization advisors play an integral part in the development of students, both on a personal and professional level; They have the opportunity to observe leadership skills in action and provide constructive feedback to students. The SLLO project provides structured resources as a means by which to provide that feedback and document student growth.
The rubrics, used to provide feedback, can be a useful tool in a variety of contexts. The executive body of an organization may choose to work on the same rubric as individuals, the advisor may work with individuals on rubrics closely aligned with their function (i.e., treasurers using the fiscal management rubric), or the advisor may find a need for a rubric at a specific period of time based on current events. The rubrics are based on theories and models, so care should be used if they are going to be implemented or revised without the SLLO project training.
Several advisors have found that with some training, the more experienced student leaders are able to be in the role of providing peer feedback themselves, with the advisor in the background.
Some student leaders and advisors have started using other methods to document skill development, including learning contracts, reflective photography, exit interviews, and one-minute papers. Being flexible and creative helps students integrate learning in a variety of ways.
All organizations are not created equally, so advisors need to understand the mission and culture of the organization, the individual or group readiness to adopt learning strategies, and their own readiness to talk to student leaders about learning. The guide below may help you decide which topics may be best addressed with different groups.
Students and advisors have also found success in using learning contracts, a plan for accomplishing professional goals. Not only do they provide the objectives, they specify the activities to achieve the goal or outcome, the timeframe for accomplishment, and the evaluation tools to document and confirm learning.
Here's what students have said about their learning contract experiences:
"My learning contract has been very helpful the past two years, and this year in particular. Writing down concrete yet realistic goals has really helped me commit to these goals and take the necessary steps to see them through. The contracts have provided the infrastructure and accountability I have needed to accomplish these goals. Also, I do not believe that I would have set these specific goals for myself if I had not been involved in the learning contract exercise, but I can learn from the outline of these contracts and implement them in goals that I set throughout my life."
"Making my Learning Contract improved my awareness of my performance so far this year. The process of writing it allowed me to take a critical look at defining my specific goals and assessing whether or not I was meeting them or working towards them. It helped me develop a clear vision of what I want to improve upon and the way in which I should best pursue that. I believe that writing my learning contract was a very positive experience that will benefit me and the success of my committee in the future."
Introductory sessions and additional professional development sessions are offered throughout the year. Please contact Darby Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and registration.
Check back to see professional development opportunities for fall 2015!
This is a division-wide initiative to provide students the opportunities to reflect throughout the year on their learning from their involvement. The focus is to understand student’s experiences in the co-curricular and within their student organizations. Questions will connect to the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and will be around integrated learning and life-long learning.
The SLLO Assessment Team is asking advisors/staff members to volunteer to be part of this project. Advisors/staff will be provided the pre-printed, one-minute reflections at the beginning of seven months during the academic year. The first month is September and will continue through April. Advisor/staff will administer these one-minute reflections with their students during those months at regular organization meetings. Anyone can volunteer to be involved in this project.
Advisors/staff members who would like to participate in this reflection project should contact Kelly Cox (email@example.com) with the name of their student organization(s) and how many students would be involved.
The SLLO Project does not subscribe to any one leadership/outcome model or theory. Rather, each skill area is based on a particular model or theory and the Project embraces mutliple models of leadership. Examples include:
During the 2007-2008 school year, six student organizations particpated in a research project involving the SLLO rubrics. The purpose of the project was to determine if there were any changes in skill development throughout the year between the organizations using the rubrics and those that were not using the rubrics. The project also examined differences and similarities between how student leaders rated themselves on specific skills and how their organization advisors rated them on the same skills.
Department of Student Life Studies: http://studentlifestudies.tamu.edu/
E-Learning/Blackboard (for SLLO Committee) http://elearning.tamu.edu/
AAC&U VALUE Rubrics: http://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/index.cfm
Office of Institutional Assessment: http://assessment.tamu.edu/
Center for Teaching Excellence: http://cte.tamu.edu/
Texas A&M Quality Enhancement Plan: http://provost.tamu.edu/initiatives/quality-enhancement-plan
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: http://www.sacs.org/
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