Data & Evaluation

Data-driven decision making

Campus Photo For The Page 11 13 Merge

In order to make the best decisions to promote health and well-being within the Notre Dame community, the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being utilizes a number of data sources to continually measure and track students’ health related behaviors and beliefs.  This allows McWell staff to make thoughtful, intentional, and evidence based decisions regarding which programs and initiatives to implement.

The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being also cultivates and maintains relationships with many campus partners who collect data related to student health and wellness.  By connecting the dots between multiple sources of information on campus, McWell is able to provide a well-rounded and quantifiable understanding of health issues on campus.

Ongoing Campus Assessment

The McDonald Center for Student Well-Being regularly implements assessments to uncover the most pressing health and well-being needs of Notre Dame students, utilizing custom measures as well as nationally-recognized and published instruments.  

American College Health Association - National College Health Assessment

The ACHA-NCHA is a nationally recognized research survey tool used by many colleges and universities across the nation. This survey measures students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions on a larger variety of health-related topics. This survey allows McWell to track health trends on campus and compare Notre Dame students to a large national sample. The ACHA-NCHA has been implemented at Notre Dame in Fall 2013, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, and Fall 2023.

Wellbeing Improvement Survey for Higher Education (WISHES)

WISHES is a brief instrument developed by the Network for Improvement and Innovation in College Health (NIICH, a network of seasoned college health professionals) and was designed to assess a variety of student well-being variables that college professionals can use to measure improvement in student well-being. Administered frequently and yielding a high response rate, WISHES provides McWell with data to keep a pulse on student well-being issues, assess the impact of well-being interventions, and work toward creating a campus where all students flourish. WISHES has been administered at Notre Dame in Fall 2021, January and May 2022, Fall 2022, and Fall 2023.


AlcoholEdu is an online educational module focusing on alcohol and drug use that all incoming first year students at Notre Dame complete. The primary purpose of this tool is to provide incoming students with education, but students also respond to survey questions about their alcohol and drug use.  The online module and survey questions are completed before students arrive on campus and then again approximately half-way through fall semester.  This allows for a data  “snapshot” of the incoming class before they’ve arrived on campus and after they’ve joined the Notre Dame community.  As with the ACHA-NCHA, this data set also allows for comparison to a large national sample.

Initiative Evaluation

The McDonald Center prides itself on creating and implementing best practice initiatives that are consistently evaluated.  From workshops and presentations, to space utilization, McWell is measuring the impact we have on campus well-being in a number of ways.  This data is used to continually improve upon services and resources.