Student Learning & Development Outcomes

Relying heavily on the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education’s (CAS) Frameworks for Assessing Learning and Development Outcomes (FALDO) (Stayhorn, 2006) and the revised CAS Learning and Development Outcomes (CAS, 2008), our framework of student learning and development domains was created to be a resource for practitioners within Enrollment Management & Student Affairs (EMSA). More specifically, the framework serves as an organized description of desired outcomes of our collective work, provides a common language for our efforts, is useful for developing program objectives and related assessments, and is linked to theory that guides our practice. Furthermore, our articulation of a common set of learning and development outcomes for EMSA provides the division with a tool to guide strategic planning efforts and professional development of staff. Importantly, such a tool also enables staff to clearly communicate the benefits of involvement in EMSA to students themselves.

Full Introduction Continued

“The college experience for students is like completing a jigsaw puzzle” (King, 1999 p. 2). Students make their way through their collegiate journey – from Orientation to English 105, from courses in their major to their Liberal Studies requirements, from joining a club or organization to serving as an RA – all in an effort to make the most of their undergraduate career. The collection of these different elements or “pieces” of their educational experience broadens and deepens as their interactions within the institutional contexts multiply, but one could question if all students complete this process in an intentional manner. Does the typical NAU undergraduate have an idea of the puzzle they are building?  Perhaps not.  It is the responsibility of the university to share “the picture on the puzzle box” with our students and “explicitly communicate the knowledge, skills and attitudes we hope they will acquire as a result of their collegiate experiences” (ibid, p. 4). Indeed, faculty and staff must themselves be familiar with the puzzle and the picture created by the many pieces of an undergraduate education. 

In an effort to share that picture of the puzzle, EMSA has identified the learning and development domains relevant to the activities, services, and programs in our division within which students participate. We acknowledge that the primary goal of college is academic learning and that no one experience is alone responsible for producing college outcomes (NASPA & ACPA, 2004). Rather, “all areas of college engagement provide opportunities for student learning” (Ibid, 2004, p.20). In out of class contexts, EMSA staff educates and guides students through development that complements academic learning. And, the student learning and development that occurs through involvement in EMSA lie within several domains including: social development and establishing a sense of belonging, intrapersonal development and exploration of the self, and knowledge acquisition that enable the development of practical competencies students require to manage college life and prepare for life after college. It is these domains we have set out to describe in this framework.


Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) (2008). CAS Learning and Development Outcomes. Washington, DC.

King, P.M. (1999). Putting together the puzzle of student learning. About Campus:  March-April, 2-4.

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and American College Personnel Association (ACPA) (2004). Learning reconsidered:  A campus-wide focus on the student experience. Washington, DC: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association.

Stayhorn, T. (2006). Frameworks for assessing learning and development outcomes. Washington, DC: Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.