A New Approach to Outreach Assessment: Evaluation of ROI for Out-of-Class Student Programs



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The University of Houston Libraries’ 2017-2021 Strategic Plan includes a focus on positioning UH Libraries as a campus leader in student success initiatives. To ensure the success of this goal, a team was assembled and tasked with assessing the return on investment for the Libraries’ involvement in out-of-class programs that enrich the student experience. This poster will describe the project goals, methodology, findings, and recommendations.

The goals of this project were to identify out-of-class programs that the library sponsors or has significant participation in, assess their purpose and impact, and make recommendations for how to prioritize and allocate resources moving forward. Team members defined the scope of the project, collected and categorized data on student-focused programs across branches and departments, and holistically assessed their purpose and impact to determine the return on investment and make recommendations.

The presenters will share practical strategies for facilitating a cross-departmental team of librarians and staff on an assessment project with a short timeline. The completion of this project led to the creation of new workflows and communication strategies in order to enact the project recommendations, enabling this assessment project to be sustainable and affect future practices.

This poster will present a unique project within the broader landscape of academic library outreach assessment. Much of the literature focuses on assessing outreach efforts at the individual program level - for example, how to gather data to assess the impact of a specific event. This project focused instead on assessing the Libraries’ outreach programming from a holistic perspective. This is a significant endeavor as this type of assessment had not previously been undertaken at UH Libraries and is not often represented in the broader literature.

The return on investment project was completed in 2017 and the recommendations are now being operationalized. The results of this project have implications for outreach assessment and libraries’ impact on student success through engagement with their out-of-class experience.



library assessment, library outreach, libraries, collaborative assessments, campus engagement, student programming