Summer is here...time for a road trip! People incorporate varying degrees of planning when taking a road trip. However, I would contend that some planning is always required. Even if your trip is “spontaneous,” you still have to get in the car, start it, decide on a direction (the car won’t drive itself), and pick a route to take you where you want to go.
Assessment is also integrated into a road trip. One example is checking the gas gauge. We don’t ignore the gas gauge simply because it might tell us something we don’t like such as “5 miles to empty.” We might not make it past the end of the street if we don’t check it. Also, it does not carry judgment…it is just a measurement of how much fuel is left. Luckily, the gauge cannot add any editorial statements like “if you hadn’t have been running late to work today, you could have filled up earlier, and you wouldn't be getting so close to empty now!” In the same way, try to not to editorialize about your data/assessment findings. Interpret the information, consider the context, but don’t include judgments about yourself or your department/program.
Just as planning and assessment are integrated into a road trip, planning and assessment should be integrated into the daily content of our work, as well. Happy motoring this summer!