The BFA Institutional Self-Assessment Guide is designed to help your institution take stock of how low-income student concerns are being addressed. These questions are designed to spur thinking about how deeply integrated low-income student support services and approaches are, and about whether they have been implemented in ways that best serve the students who need them.
This inventory is not designed to identify deficiencies. Rather, it offers an opportunity to identify areas that have already gained traction and determine existing efforts that can be broadened or deepened. It can also shed light upon the many additional ways low-income students can be served and determine new activities your institution might implement. Finally, it may uncover areas for growth and improvement that might require more substantive planning and longer-term action.
This assessment is best undertaken by a cross-functional core team of leaders at your institution. For example, consider embedding this self-assessment into the activities of an existing committee, such as a student success committee. The team could include the administrators and practitioners who oversee academic affairs or instruction, student development and services, financial aid, admissions, enrollment, and institutional research and planning. Using the assessment in this way will likely lead to more rapid interpretation of results and allow for more focused action planning.
However, interacting with the self-assessment as a team may be difficult, given time and scheduling constraints. Other options include having all members of the team independently complete the assessment and convene to discuss individual results or designating a leader to take the self-assessment who then presents the results to the team for reaction and discussion.
The Interpretation Guide offers guidance on understanding and discussing the results of the self-assessment. Please review the “Conducting the BFA Institutional Self-Assessment Guide” section of the Implementation Guide as it offers helpful suggestions and details about process. Teams may find that they initially do not have all the information they need to address the questions. That is part of the process, and indeed is part of what students encounter. Recognizing and reducing complexity are important steps in supporting the success of low-income students.