Updates and Releases

Community of Research and Assessment Introduced

ACUI recently renamed the Community of Scholars; it is now the Community of Research and Assessment.

The Community of Research and Assessment endeavors to cultivate a culture of assessment, facilitate a dialogue around related practice, and establish a balance between research and assessment. According to the community's purpose statement, members will strive "to build a system of support and resources for individuals interested and participating in research and assessment projects.”

When the community met at the 2018 Annual Conference, community leaders Dr. Ben Perlman and Ashley Lynn noted that members were interested in participating in research projects, collaborating on research projects, investigating doctoral study, and much more.

"What we discovered was that there is definitely interest in research and assessment, but that interest is coupled with just as many concerns," Perlman said. "One concern is the daunting image of what we sometimes imagine research to be. Another concern is the amount of time it takes to conduct sold, valid research. Professionals in higher education are already so busy with all of their responsibilities, volunteer positions, and personal obligations that it is often difficult to see how we can carve out time to tackle any addition projects, especially one as intensive as a research project!"

Co-leader Lynn agreed: "We are encouraging our community members to participate in research projects. You can write a literature review for the Bulletin, collaborate with a colleague in a short-term research project, peer review for your colleagues, or share advice/messages on a variety of topics (selecting a doctorate program, sharing a relevant TedTalk, or even offering words of encouragement for those currently involved in research projects!). It is our hope that this refocusing of our mission will lead to more engagement with ACUI members and our partners."

Many ACUI members regularly conduct assessment and some might be doing research without knowing it, Perlman said. The goal is for increased community engagement that can lead to a decrease in the daunting reputation surrounding this work.

"The more we can learn through research and assessment, and the more we can support one another in our research endeavors, the more resources we will have available to inform practice," Lynn said.
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2019 Strategic Plan

Strategic Guidepost: Research

ACUI will take a leading role in researching the impact of the college union on campus

We strive for ACUI to become the respected clearinghouse for college union and student activities research, which will assist practitioners in making informed decisions and help higher education leaders articulate the value and impact of the college union.

  • Develop and strengthen partnerships focused on research.
  • Determine how staff and component groups can best use and advance the research agenda, emphasizing the topic of inclusive communities.
  • Enhance existing and develop new structures for the Association to collect and disseminate research, especially research related to inclusive communities.
Strategic Guidepost: Data

ACUI will leverage data to enhance education and delivery of services

As more individuals expect a personalized, customized association experience, ACUI must leverage available data to inform its strategies and business decisions. We will use data intelligence to more effectively explore new markets, enhance services, recruit volunteers, define educational gaps, and create just-in-time content.


  • Determine opportunities to better personalize/customize the ACUI user experience.
  • Develop practices to make ACUI’s data gathering, analysis, and application more effective and efficient.
  • Determine how to better reach international markets amid data privacy concerns.
  • Collect and report data to better understand demographic representation.
Strategic Guidepost: Volunteer and Member Engagement

ACUI will increase the value of engagement for members and volunteers

Member and volunteer engagement are critical predictors of retention and satisfaction. We are committed to understanding members, better meeting their needs, and creating different types of engagement experiences.


  • Learn and document volunteer and member journeys through ACUI.
  • Deepen institutional commitment to ACUI.
  • Leverage structures for networking and professional development, to include communities of identity.
  • Investigate desired engagement experiences among individuals who do not hold ACUI majority identities.
  • Identify opportunities to improve equity in volunteer recruitment and selection processes.
Strategic Guidepost: Active Dialogue

ACUI will advance campus community through active dialogue

We seek, through education, tools, and resources, to position the college union to promote dialogue and understanding among people with different perspectives and to improve humanity through college students’ constructive discourse and interaction.


  • Define the value of active dialogue, in particular, about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Define and understand the characteristics of a campus that supports active dialogue with an emphasis on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Curate existing resources and tools related to active dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion.