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News & Press: Association Leadership

Assessment Resource; NODA & Skyfactor Partnership

Tuesday, September 8, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Assessment Resource; NODA & Skyfactor Partnership


NODA Members,

What a difference a year makes! It’s safe to say that this ‘Back to School’ season is far different than we could have possibly imagined. Many of us may still feel a bit unsettled ourselves, even as we work to help new students acclimate to our campuses amid this new, hopefully temporary ‘normal’.  One thing is for sure: the occurrences of the last few months have made our work more complex and perhaps even more meaningful. As always, we are here to support you. To that end, today I’d like to highlight the importance of gathering insights that enable you to deliver the most value to your students, their families, your staff and institutions.

Understanding student needs is now more than ever.

From national social justice protests to public health concerns, this year’s new students are entering with additional stressors than previous classes. However, many new students may not feel comfortable sharing their thoughts in public forums.  Conducting timely surveys can provide students with an outlet to communicate their needs in a safe space. Many students and their families will want to provide feedback on their current realities. Assessments can help you gain the critical insights needed to impact student success, acclimation to campus, and retention, particularly in light of the shifting needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting students, their families and staff amid challenges requires insight.

Nothing is routine. Even for the most seasoned orientation professional, many of the realities and norms that have driven our work have changed. What remains unaltered is the immense value in understanding the needs and sentiments of students and the staff who support them. The questions we find ourselves asking may change as we uncover needs related to the impact of issues like learning online, health concerns, and social movements on our campuses and around the country. However, the imperative of gathering feedback (and using that insight to drive the work we do) remains. Insight from students, their families and your staff, can help you better support students in developing a sense of belongingness and engagement, particularly in times of immense change. 

Validating effectiveness and value of orientation is critical. 

Research and data are critical for effectively communicating the value and results of our work, especially as many institutions face leaner budgets, staffing changes and in some instances, questions about the value of your orientation program. These realities are why it is so important to continue conducting meaningful measurements and benchmarking that help you better understand and demonstrate the results of your work to both accreditors and key institutional stakeholders.

Assessment is just as important as it ever has been, perhaps even more so than before. NODA is proud to continue to partner with Skyfactor Benchworks to continue to deliver assessments and benchmarking that align to our standards. These quantitative and qualitative infographics that illustrate the impact of the quick pivot to online learning due to COVID-19 are perfect examples of the timely, nationally benchmarked insights Skyfactor assessments can empower you to provide to key stakeholders at your institution. I encourage you to learn more about how you can customize these instruments to better fit the unique needs of your institution by contacting Courtney Briley, Senior Assessment Specialist, East at or Glenn Skaggs, Senior Assessment Specialist, West at

Thank you for all that you do to support students and the welfare of our communities, particularly at such a time as this. 


Joyce Holl
NODA Executive Director

1.866.521.NODA (6632) | 1200 S Washington Ave, Suite 215, Minneapolis, MN 55415