The Student Affairs Collaborative Blog, a group blog of student affairs administrators, has a post up on student leader self-assessment. It lists a dozen questions to help students evaluate their “experience as a student leader.”

Here’s the list:

    • What did I learn as a student leader?
    • What will I need to remember from my student leadership year?
    • Which interactions with others taught me the most about how to work with people?
    • What do I know now that I didn’t know a year ago?
    • What am I better at as a result of this student leadership experience?

    • How would I describe my student leadership experience in 100 words?
    • How am I better prepared for the next chapter in my story?
    • What would I have done differently as a student leader?
    • If I had one hour with a group of newly elected student leaders, what would I want to talk to them about?
    • What mistakes did I make this year and what did I learn from them?

    • What do I hope to be remembered for as a student leader?
    • How could I have done better as a student leader?

I’ve gotta say that the conception of self-assessment presented here strikes me as really, really narrow.

“What did I learn,” it asks. “What am I better at? What mistakes did I make?” These aren’t bad questions. But what about “What did I accomplish?” or “Who did I help?” or “What did I change?” 

There’s nothing here to encourage reflection on how the student’s involvement has changed their group or their campus or their community. 

And that’s a particularly weird thing for a  “student leader” self-assessment to leave out, because if leadership is about anything at all, it’s about change.

What it means to call someone a “student leader,” and whether that term is a useful one, are questions for another post. But if you’re a leader of any kind, you’re by definition leading folks, and you’re presumably trying to get them to a place better than where they are.

And those concepts are pretty much absent in these questions. 

To a point, this reflects the nature of the student affairs administrator’s role. Universities are, by and large, not set up to support students’ efforts to make real change, and student affairs personnel are employed by universities, not students.

But I’ve known student affairs people who did actually believe in student empowerment, ones who encouraged students to ask themselves questions that were a lot more searching than these. 

And so I turn it over to y’all. If you were preparing a self-assessment questionnaire for student activists, or student government types, or student organization leaders, what questions would you put on it?

What questions should we all be asking ourselves as this school year comes to an end?