A strong assessment program is based on a strong foundation and vision. Additionally, it plans well into the future in order to allocate resources and staffing for projects, and to ensure that all assessment activities address library outcomes.
Strategic assessment provides a solid foundation for continuous improvement, and helps to effectively demonstrate the impact that services, collections, and resources have on our constituents and stakeholders. The primary goal of assessment is betterment; assessment is not an end in itself, but a vehicle for better understanding the effectiveness of what the libraries have to offer.
Effective practice of assessment begins with and enacts a vision of the services that we most value for students, faculty, and staff, and the learning that we strive to help them achieve. This vision is exemplified in the Miami 2020 Plan, Space Strategic Plan, and other documents. The outcomes described in this plan derive directly from the principles set forth in our vision.
Ongoing needs of our constituents and stakeholders are best satisfied through ongoing and cyclical activities, such as reference statistic collection or information literacy benchmark testing. These activities provide a wide range of data for improvement and decision-making, and create efficiencies in work flow and resource allocation.
However, assessment would not be complete without one-time programs that help decision makers ponder specific questions. To that end, it is necessary to allocate time for non-cyclical projects that will help the libraries continue to be nimble and responsive to changing user needs and an ever-changing higher-education landscape. The cyclical activities in that plan will also be regularly evaluated to ensure that all data collected is utilized, and that cyclical activities are retired as appropriate.