In the role of interim VP for Student Affairs I identified several major goals for the year ahead, dating back to February. Serving in this role offers an opportunity to address some things that are stuck in my craw and that will hopefully reduce some ongoing friction points with students. The big three, in no particular order, are as follows:
ARAMARK will be presenting some preliminary findings to student government next Monday from the Market View study they have been conducting over the past several months. The preliminary recommendations should be well-received by students, faculty, staff, and the administration. The next step will be to study the costs of the recommendations and then roll them out to the students and University community this fall. Some changes could be made as soon as early spring. I am very excited about the opportunities for an extreme makeover to our dining program.
Next week a consultant will meet with fraternities and sororities as a community and then individually to look at our overall program and individual club orientation programs and values. This is on the heels of the roll-out of the new Greek Alumni Advisory Board and the new alumni advising system that is being put into place. In addition, and related to the consulting, we will convene a group that can help us develop ways for groups to socialize off campus in as safe a manner as possible. This is also exciting as it appears that administrators (particularly me), students, and alumni are all ready for a less adversarial relationship. We need the alumni involvement in this and they are thrilled to be involved.
At the Board of Trustee meeting late next week we will take a little time to discuss the three-year residency requirement. Why do we have it? Is it still relevant? Does it hurt more than it helps? Does it make students feel controlled? Do our facilities support the requirement? I have ideas, but the trustees certainly do too. Ideas from this discussion will be helpful as the full university-wide strategic planning process unfolds this year.
Student Affairs is still engaged in year three of its own five-year strategic plan, is looking at weekend campus programming options, hoping to revive the Tigers' Den (related to ARAMARK plan), developing leadership programs and a men's conference, building a sexual assault survivor ally program, and is focusing on social media as a way to connect with students and other constituents. Expanding or redefining Career Services will certainly be discussed in the broad strategic planning efforts of the University. Look for updates on these issues and others in Student Affairs as the semester moves forward.