While assessment is essential, data has little meaning if it is not effectively utilized to make improvements
We gather data on a daily basis, but gathering and analyzing all of this wonderful data is meaningless if not utilized to take action and affect change. Our ultimate goal is to leverage NASCE data to transform the culture of higher education until 100% of undergraduate students are actively involved in meaningful community service.
NASCE data can and should be utilized to implement a strategic plan to not only increase the number of students who perform service, but to enhance students’ perceptions of service and to increase the frequency and depth at which they are meaningfully involved. Below are a few (of many) examples of institutions’ experiences with the NASCE:
Siena first administered the NASCE in 2009. Contrary to what we expected, the results were not something we were proud of or impressed by. Thus, we utilized the 2009 data to gain support for an Office of Academic Community Engagement (ACE), which now hosts a Bonner program of over 50 Bonner Leaders, a VISTA program with more than 25 VISTAs, more than 10 full-time staff members, a comprehensive service-learning program, and several other curricular and co-curricular opportunities that actively involve Siena students in the greater community.
In 2011, Siena incorporated 3 NASCE data points into its 2011-2016 Institutional Strategic Plan for Engagement, “Living our Tradition.”
Data from Siena’s 2013 administration of the NASCE demonstrates significant progress towards our strategic goals, and reflects institutional growth and development in campus-wide service participation and students’ levels of service involvement.
Furthermore, we’ve relied heavily on institutional NASCE data in applications for grant funding, as well as the Carnegie Classification of Community Engagement and the President’s Service Honor Roll.
“Our NASCE has been extremely useful. We draw on it for marketing purposes but that is only secondary. The primary value for this report is informing and focusing our civic engagement efforts for the next few years. From the findings, we have a grasp of the key areas where Allegheny College is making an impact in the community and the areas where we have significant opportunity to improve. We are sincerely grateful to Siena College and the staff of the Research Institute that have partnered with us in this important project.”
— David Roncolato, Ph.D., Director of Community Service and Service-Learning, Center for Experiential Learning
“In addition to internal data, we used the NASCE results to form the backbone of our department’s strategic plan to develop and streamline General Community Service. Overall, we had a great experience and look forward to completing the NASCE again.”
— Patrick Gruber, Bonner Scholars Coordinator
“We have been very impressed with the professionalism and follow-through of the staff associated with Siena College and the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement. They were involved and committed to our campus from first contact to final report. The data collected will allow us to move forward in a strategic direction with confidence knowing we will be impacting both our students and the community.”
— Michele Meyer, Director of Community Engagement