ATLAS Site Visit Preparation for Assessment & Evaluation
To help us prepare for our visit to your institution, please address the following area. You may also download this information, along with three sample visit agendas, here (PDF).
Please provide answers to the following questions.
- Who at your institution will serve as the visit coordinator?
- Please list your two or three primary goals for this visit in order of their priority.
- What questions do you have about your students?
- What questions do you have about your institution’s assessment data?
- What assessment evidence do you routinely collect?
- Please describe the ways in which your campus has disseminated its assessment evidence?
- What assessment evidence has, in the past, proven to be the most useful to your faculty and staff?
- In what ways have you engaged students in your assessment work?
- Do you have any prior assessment reports or pieces of evidence that you’d like us to review prior to our visit?
Our site visits usually last three days and two nights. Meetings typically start mid to late afternoon on the first day and end around lunch on the third day. Start and end times will depend on flight times.
In setting up meetings during our visits, we have found the following to be helpful best practices for fostering campus discussions about assessment evidence:
- Scheduling a preparatory meeting for the visit team and the visit coordinator at the beginning of the visit, to review the agenda and discuss goals for the visit.
- Setting up two to three meetings with students over the course of the visit. Groups of five to ten students per meeting usually work best.
- Students may be more willing to attend meetings if food is provided. We are happy to meet with students during dinner on the first night or during lunch on the second day.
- Forty-five minutes to one hour is usually sufficient for meetings with small groups of faculty, staff, students, or administrators.
- Scheduling breaks (at least 30 minutes) after several meetings so that we have time to reflect on what we heard and consolidate our notes.
- Unless we are meeting with students, please keep our dinners free to provide time for us to reflect on the visit and consolidate our notes. This is especially important on the second night of the visit since we need to prepare for our exit conversation.
- Setting up a final debriefing session with the visit coordinator and other constituencies who will be responsible for generating follow-ups to our visit.
- Please leave 1 ½ to 2 hours free before the final debriefing session so that we can review our notes from the visit and prepare for the exit conversation.
- Also, please provide a list of specific questions that you would like us to address in our final session.
To give you an idea about what past site visit schedules have included, please see our three sample visit agendas (PDF). These are just examples. You should develop the agenda for your visit based on your needs and goals for the visit.
If it would be helpful, we can give presentations to the campus community or specific groups within your institution during our visit. We can also facilitate workshops on topics related to assessment and using evidence for improvement. Please let us know if you are interested in either of these activities so we can discuss topics, audience, and goals.
We will make our own travel arrangements, including reserving our flights, hotels, and rental cars. We will submit all receipts for travel expenses, food, and lodging to you for reimbursement. Please let us know in advance if your institution has specific reimbursement policies and procedures.
Please communicate answers to the following questions to us upon requesting this service:
- What is the best airport to fly into? How far is the airport from campus (driving distance)?
- What hotel(s) do you recommend near your institution? If you get a special institutional rate at a hotel, please let us know.
- What is the dress code on your campus? Please consider that people/groups with whom we will be meeting and be as specific as possible; “business casual” means different things at different institutions.
We typically write a memo at the end of the visit that summarizes what we heard and learned during the visit and provides recommendations for your institution related to your goals for the visit. We send a draft of the memo to the visit coordinator so people on campus can review the memo and let us know if it meets your needs or needs revisions before we send the final document. Please let us know if you would like us to provide a memo after our visit to your institution.
ATLAS workshops are designed to serve as a retreat where college and university faculty and staff can create and discuss assessment plans in the company of supportive colleagues.
In addition to our consulting services, we offer two assessment workshops each year. Learn more about our workshops.