From Surviving to Thriving: Cultivating Success as an Assessment Site Administrator
We at Anthology have the privilege of speaking with a variety of assessment site administrators every day. No matter the person’s role at the institution, the type of college or university where they work, or the part of the country they are in, many faced similar obstacles that they shared with us as they searched for best practices. The last two years, in particular, have challenged higher education administrators in unprecedented ways, compelling them to reconsider and redefine how to work smarter and thrive in the midst of uncertainty.
Recently we hosted a webinar, Thriving as a Site Administrator, where we discussed these challenges and best practices from the field with Susan Riley, M.Ed., assistant dean of academic initiatives, University of Cincinnati-Clermont College. Susan currently uses the Anthology Planning solution, and during the discussion it was clear that there is significant interest in learning about approaches and practices in general. This highlights the importance of supporting professionals who manage, oversee, and direct what happens with assessment on their campus. We’ve written this piece for you to apply where and when appropriate to improve your overall assessment experience.
Thinking outside of a specific solution or tool, we can offer five suggestions from successful site administrators who thrive in this role.
- The Solution Is the Tool, Not the Goal
As the site administrator, you are responsible for a powerful solution that can do so many things. It’s easy to spend a lot of time focusing just on the site itself, but it’s also important to step back, look at the big picture, and consider the end goal for your campus. If you’re having users undertake something that doesn’t feed into your overall goals, think about scaling that back. Conversely, if there’s a need on your campus that you haven’t utilized your solution for, talk with your team or manager about how to use the solution to meet those campus goals.
- Interact with Your Users When Possible
Whether through user guides, hosting drop-in meetings to chat with you, or running training sessions on your campus, interacting with your users one-on-one or face-to-face helps you as the administrator of the solution understand their needs and what might help deepen their understanding of how best to use the tool. Some solutions have a large number of users, and some only include you – scaling that training and interaction with your users is essential to understanding how others use the solution.
- Lean on Your Support Network
When things are busy and overwhelming, it can be easy to put anything on the back burner, especially if a new initiative or issue keeps you from moving forward. To that, we say – lean on us! Anthology can work with you on site analysis, project management, best practices, and more; we help campuses every day work towards their goals and customize their solutions and sites in a way that makes sense for their institutions. Additionally, due to the nature of being a site administrator, your work tends to make you feel like you’re working solo – you need strategic support from your managers/senior sponsors in order to relay to users how important participation in your product is for a campus.
- Celebrate the Successes
This is where the real fun happens! Whether it’s producing a report from the work you’ve done in your solution or you’re nominating your campus for an award, it’s crucial that you find ways to celebrate those successes and share them widely. This way, your campus users will understand that improvement comes from participating in this type of endeavor. Share the wins!
- Try Something New
Within the Planning tool, do you have a new strategic plan but don’t know how to build it in the site? Do you want to test something in Planning, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Oftentimes, our site administrators have ideas about new initiatives but fall back on doing things as they’ve always done them. The best thing about this tool is that it’s personalized for your campus, so reach out to your Adoption Consultant team to chat about some things you’d like to try in the site.
We know it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of competing tasks, multiple demands, and an unending to-do list as a site administrator. The most important priority in the end, however, is cultivating your ability to succeed in the site administrator role and begin to thrive – when that happens, the results also reflect in the improvement and accountability measures happening on your campus. Your true challenge is to take back your time. Start the process of overcoming this obstacle by applying these suggestions. And remember to contact us anytime - we can help you shine on your campus.
Candace Morgan, Ed.D.
Candace Morgan, Ed.D., is currently an adoption consultant at Anthology, focusing on improvement and accountability solutions. Previous to this role, she worked in higher education for over 15 years in multiple student affairs, academic affairs, and administrative roles. Her doctoral work in higher education administration focused on the finance of higher education, particularly for small, private colleges. She has presented regionally and nationally on best practices in assessment, student services, leadership, and student support. She strives daily to work with institutional clients and assist them with reaching their assessment goals. She currently lives in southeastern Connecticut with her active-duty military spouse, Mark, and two children, Jacob and Noah.