Danieley Center Neighborhood shares winter 2023 update

Embracing a culture of assessment, the Danieley Neighborhood shares lessons learned and how it will do things differently moving forward.

Elon University places a large emphasis on strategic planning and assessment in its commitment to evidence-based, best practices in higher education. From the institutional level to the individual level, Elon has structures and processes in place to ensure alignment in how faculty and staff approach their services to and programs for students. You can see this from the “top-down” in Elon’s strategic plan for 2030, Boldy Elon, all the way to Danieley’s 2022-2023 Neighborhood Plan. You can read more about how Danieley’s Neighborhood Plan aligns with Boldy Elon here.

This methodology is what is known as a “culture of assessment.” Assessment is a method by which to assist in strategic planning; assessment elucidates the pathways in which to achieve an organization’s strategic plan. Strine-Patterson (2022) shares that strategic planning is a complex form of assessment. It creates a goal structure that organizes more specific goals within broader goals. It avoids staff acting alone, being isolated from larger assessment efforts and focusing on narrow issues and personal agendas.

Danieley’s assessment efforts provide evidence as to how we are achieving our priorities, goals, outcomes and objectives, which, hearkening to the image of Matryoshka dolls, in turn provides evidence for and support to how Residence Life, then Campus Life, then Student Life, and then Elon is doing the same.

Where is Danieley in its assessment process currently?

In the multilevel assessment process (MAP) outlined by Strine-Patterson (2022), there are multiple concurrent and interlocking cycles in the assessment process. Currently, Danieley is in the sixth stage of its MAP, “Interpret results and Identify Improvement Opportunities” (Strine-Patterson, 2022, p. 65). We have collected data that is informing our praxis (outlined below), and we will use what we have learned in order to inform the next step of the MAP, “Departmental Educational and Operational Plans” (which you will recognize as our Neighborhood Plans).

You will notice that in stages three through five of the MAP, Danieley will have planned measurements and data collection efforts, implemented these methods, and analyzed the data (Strine-Patterson, 2022, p. 65). Danieley uses a mid-fall survey administered to current Danieley residents in October, the Fall 2022 Student Satisfaction Survey that is administered to more than 6,000 students by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment in October, Danieley program attendance data, and other measurements to gain valuable insight into how Danieley is working to achieving its goals.

What are we seeing?

Being transparent with our data and related insights is important to us for a few reasons:

  1. Evaluation. Sharing what we know allows us to reflect critically on what programs and services we offered and to make any changes that impact what we will continue to offer.
  2. Accountability. Sharing what we know holds us accountable to providing the best programs and services possible. If we say we will make a change, you can trust that the change is data-driven.
  3. Empowerment. Sharing what we know lets students know that we approach our work with a dynamic and humble spirit in tune with what students want and/or need. It lets students know that we are listening and acting, and it signals that we are co-creating their experience with them and not for them.

With this in mind, here are selected data we want to foreground*:

  • Fall 2022 programs/opportunities overview:
    • Total offered: 38 (average 3 per week)
    • Total educational programs: 19
    • Total social programs: 19
    • Total campus or community collaborations: 7
  • Fall 2022 programs/opportunities attendance:
    • Total attendance: 1,087 (average 29 per program)
    • Total individual Danieley residents who attended: 316 (47.88% of neighborhood total)
      • Overall, residents are attending in expected demographic proportion with one exception (e.g., apartment residents comprise 34.42% of our attendees and similarly comprise 34.15% of the neighborhood population)
        • Residents who identify as female are more likely to attend than those who identify as male (11.03% more likely)
        • Residents who live in apartments are very marginally more likely to attend than those who live in flats (1.20% more likely)
        • Residents who are incoming students (in their first year of college) are attending at the same rate as residents who are returning students (incoming students are 0.12% more likely to attend)
        • Residents whose academic major is undecided are both less likely to attend (10.39% of attendees but 13.40% of neighborhood) and also are considerably less likely to attend than those who have declared their academic major (33.45% less likely)
    • Total individual Danieley residents who attended multiple times: 170 (55.19% of residents)

We also have an executive summary of data from our mid-fall survey, which you can read on our neighborhood webpage.

In our 2022-2023 neighborhood plan, we declared four goals based on our observations from the 2021-2022 academic year. We are pleased to announce that we have met all goals where possible, as noted below. Our achievements in goals 1 and 2 are marginal, though our achievement in goal 3 is significant:

  1. To increase incoming student engagement
    1. We have engaged approximately 0.21% more than this time last year
  2. To increase male resident engagement
    1. We have engaged approximately 1.95% more than this time last year
  3. To increase repeat resident engagement
    1. We have engaged approximately 22.65%
  4. To establish a living learning community (LLC)
    1. We will revisit this goal once the 2030 Residential Campus Plan is complete

What will we do with what we have learned?

We have many insights from what we have learned. We are eager to roll out new initiatives as soon as possible, though we acknowledge that some initiatives may take more time and thought. We have developed an action plan, which distinguishes between short-term, mid-term, and long-term action items. You can read our action plan on our neighborhood webpage.


Strine-Patterson, H. (2022). Assessment is a leadership process: The multilevel assessment process. New Directions for Student Services, 2022, 61-76. doi: 10.1002/ss.20429

*All data collection has been reviewed and approved by Elon University’s Institutional Review Board.