PU talks Performance Plan, end of semester

I hope everyone is having a great week so far. My Derby article is a bit scattered this week. I’ve chosen to dedicate the first portion of the article to recent business and the second portion of the article to upcoming events.

On Monday, Vice President for Student Life Timothy Sams held a second Student Life Performance Plan Cross-Cutting Review for the general student population. It was attended by both students and Student Life staff members. Speakers included Sams, Director of the Registrar Sharon Kunkel, Dean of Students Mark Smith, Assistant Vice President of the Student Experience Lisa Trahan, Director of the Union Joe Cassidy, and the Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton. It was a great opportunity for students to give input and feedback to the Student Life division, offering advice, suggestions, and, more importantly, get questions answered.

For those who couldn’t be in attendance, the Performance Plan’s main goal is to continue to focus on supporting the Institute’s overarching goal: to achieve greater prominence in the 21st century as a top-tier technological research university with global reach and impact. The plan focuses on many aspects of the student experience as they relate to the department including student retention; student support; the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students initiative; and communication between the Student Life Division and students. Their highest priorities include leadership education and staff development; platform and site development; health, safety, preparedness, and response; fundraising and revenue generation; as well as diversity. These priorities are discussed through a series of goals, strategies, and actions to achieve those goals. A couple of key strategies were brought up for discussion at the meeting, such as the institution of Student Life advisory committees made up of students who will help to communicate information to the general student body.

Overall, the meeting had a great turn out. There was a lot of great discussion and a request from students that there be even more opportunities to openly meet and discuss Student Life initiatives in the future. Sams constantly encourages students to seek him out to talk about the Rensselaer experience. It’s important for the Student Life Division to understand the student perspective, so they can better develop the Performance Plan to fit our needs and everyone in the Division is very enthusiastic about getting student feedback.

The end of the semester is fast approaching and that means finals are coming up quickly. This is a critical time in the semester, filled with extra tests, projects and general work. There are a lot of great events going on in the upcoming week to help you both study and relax during finals. This Friday, Sheer Idoicy has a show at 8 pm in Mother’s, and UPAC Comedy presents Eugene Mirman, a stand-up comedian show in the McNeil Room, also at 8 pm. On Saturday at 8 pm, UPAC Concerts and the Class of 2014 will be hosting DJ 5&A Dime and The Dean’s List in the McNeil Room in the Rensselaer Union. On Sunday, head over to Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at 7:30 pm to enjoy the Festival Chorus Holiday Concert. Red & White will be hosting Study Days at the Heffner Alumni House on both Monday, December 12 and Tuesday, December 14 from 7 am to 3 am on December 15. Feel free to stop by any time and enjoy the comfortable study space and free coffee and snacks. Monday’s events also include the Late Night Breakfast from 9–10:30 pm in The Commons Dining Hall, and President Shirley Ann Jackson has invited all faculty, staff, and students to the 2011 Campus Seasonal Celebration in EMPAC from 11:30 am–1 pm.

I wish everyone the best of luck with finals, and hope that everyone has a great winter break. If you ever have any questions about the Union or the Executive Board, feel free to contact me at