From the Desk of the Executive Director
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Delta Upsilon’s motto is Building Better Men. In 2009, we strengthened our focus to create a premiere, 21st Century fraternity experience for today’s college student. We asked: if DU membership is to truly be a value-added experience to one’s college education, what should our organizational priorities be to make our members better equipped to make a difference on campus, in the workforce and in society?
We identified member assessment as a critical piece to creating a modern fraternity experience. By learning and understanding our members’ attitudes, behaviors and needs on a continual basis, we can tailor our operations and educational programs to address the needs of our membership—needs determined based on data.
We now have two years of data from our Membership Outcomes Assessment, and it has already allowed us to identify member needs on the chapter and national level, as well as enhance our educational programming.
How We are Using the DataOn pages 4 and 5 of this issue, you can find broad takeaways from this year’s data. We also want you to know how we are using what we are learning. As any organization or company should, data from the assessment is being used across all departments of the International Headquarters staff, driving strategy, conversations, programming and operations.
DU has been able to utilize results from the assessment to inform our educational programming curriculum. In essence, we are learning what levers to pull to obtain maximum desired outcomes. One primary example is we learned that one of our most predictive variables is Need for Cognition (problem-solving skills). When students score better on Need for Cognition, they are likely to score better on a number of other important variables. So, we maximized learning by focusing on the development of problem-solving skills through scenarios and group problem-solving activities.
In addition to having data on a broad, Fraternity level, data can be segmented at the chapter level. Starting with our 2016 Leadership Institute, each chapter received a chapter specific report that outlines its data and identifies three highlights and three areas for improvement. This helps the chapter better understand its current reality in a way that is approachable and useful. This also sets officers up to be data driven leaders and allows our Chapter Development staff to make their work more impactful and efficient.
DU has also been able to utilize the chapter profiles in our Loss Prevention work. This information has proven to be valuable for chapter reorganizations and membership reviews, and it has allowed us to better understand the core issues in the chapter, potential problems and what is really driving behavior. We saw significant improvements in the areas of hazing, alcohol use and sexual assault.
Because the assessment is providing data on attitudes and behaviors, we have been able to better define our membership. By knowing more about our membership, our Communications team has been able to talk about DU and show audiences “who DU is” better than ever before. In Year Two, as we see more results and trends, the data will help drive a year-long PR campaign to build affinity for the organization. It will also allow us to intentionally spotlight and create conversation around areas of improvement.
The FutureAs a Fraternity, Delta Upsilon is excited about the value of this work, and we have become the industry leader in the area of assessment and making data driven decisions. Last month we were honored with a Laurel Wreath Award from the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) for the project. The Laurel Wreath Award is presented to individuals or groups in recognition of their unique programs, community outreach, or influence within the fraternal world.
In the next 18 months, Delta Upsilon International Fraternity will begin to develop our next strategic plan. The data received through the Membership Outcomes Assessment will be a catalyst in the plan’s development. Through the data, our undergraduate membership will have a strong voice in determining Delta Upsilon’s future.
Justin Kirk, Boise State '00