Division of Student Life presents accomplishments, future plans
On Wednesday, March 7, members of the Division of Student Life gathered in the Shelnutt Gallery to present on the past year of progress and goals for the future, and get input and feedback from the Student Senate.
Interim Vice President for Student Life LeNorman Strong began with an explanation of Student Life’s purpose, which is to provide support for students, advance the Institute’s goals of intellectual agility and multicultural sophistication, and establish partnerships and links that help the division provide for students.
He then elaborated on the accomplishments of Fiscal Year 2018, which included fully achieving the structural goals of Clustered Learning Advocacy and Support for Students, developing a Greek Life Commons structure—on which Strong is hoping to do more work—and the implementation of the Off Campus Commons.
Student Life also “worked on enhancing student health services availability and accessibility,” especially through the implementation of a triage model in the Counseling Center. Executive Director of the Health Center Leslie Lawrence elaborated more on the service, which aims to allow students to be seen on the same day that they seek assistance.
One of the triage counselor’s main goals is to work with the student to alleviate stressors on the same day as their visit. Lawrence gave the theoretical example of a student who is greatly struggling with a class like Data Structures; the counselor would recognize this as a major stressor, and walk the student to the Advising and Learning Assistance Center or, if the situation is bad enough, to their class dean.
Separately, Lawrence said, “If you don’t see an appointment on the [health] portal, we always hold back a certain number of appointments. Because I’ve started to see things on Reddit about how the Student Health Center never has appointments—and I’ll admit we’ve been busy the last month and a half—but we always have extra appointments. Please pick up the phone and call us. I know people nowadays don’t like to use the phone, but we will squeeze you in. Never feel there’s not an appointment.”
Strong, continuing to reflect on Fiscal Year 2018, addressed the implementation of The Arch. “I’ll be candid with you and say that we have data in the office from a recent survey that helps us to understand that students still don’t get it—that there is a huge gap between what the program does and what students believe that it’s doing.”
He recognized that more needs to be done to distribute information about the program, and expressed that Student Life intends on making an effort to collect more student opinions on the matter.
Strong then moved on to Student Life’s many goals and strategies for Fiscal Year 2019.
One goal revolved around increasing student involvement in the capital campaign through student-developed proposals on where to direct donations, so that campaign officers can share these plans with potential donors.
The Arch preparatory course, another initiative which aims to assist students in creating a job search strategy and a plan for making their away semester meaningful, will be available this fall on the Learning Management System.
“Something that has hit us really hard this fall is the fact that our students who might be brilliant with developing technology aren’t so sometimes when it comes to using it, particularly social media,” shared Strong.
Student Life plans to create resources on “digital world realities” to help students better understand the implications of social media and its potential to affect job opportunities.
Title IX and sexual misconduct training is currently in place and required for many leadership positions, but Student Life aims to bring that experience to the rest of campus so that the entire community is receiving the same information.
Other goals included increasing services available to international students and underrepresented students, and enhancing the graduate student experience.
Strong then shared updates on some major initiatives, which included the creation of a Student Life advisory committee that would meet frequently to provide more consistent feedback from student representatives and their constituencies. The committee would be comprised of people appointed by the grand marshal and Executive Board, the Student Life Committee of the Student Senate, and the Athlete Student Advisory Committee.
After the presentation, the members of the Division of Student Life opened up for questions from the Senate.