Illuminating pathways for students
We must think intentionally and strategically about the first-year and how we onboard students into our community: Who are we? What do we value? How do they fit within our community? What are our expectations of them as our newest community members? How do we provide pathways for sophomores and juniors to lead and launch? How do we help students to thrive and flourish at Denison and prepare our seniors to launch successfully to their lives beyond Denison?
- Navigation: Student Life will help students navigate the four-year experience, by illuminating opportunities to engage
- Enriching experiences: We will provide a student experience that prepares all students to address the needs and challenges of a diverse and ever changing world by connecting students to co-curricular activities and hands-on enrichment opportunities, on- and off- campus
- Communication: We need to clearly communicate to student the opportunities they can participate in and build awareness to opportunities to connect throughout their Denison journey
Foster a sense of belonging & inclusion
In alignment with Denison Forward, Student Life will intentionally build awareness and competence using a lens of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism in all aspects of our work, to better serve our diverse student population. We will examine institutional decisions that will ensure access and achievement for all students, especially out students who have been traditionally underserved.
- Welcoming environment: Promote an inclusive environment for all members of our community. This requires each member of our community to value and respect the diversity of our community, engage in appropriate conduct, recognize implicit biases, and eliminate barriers to participation.
- Building awareness: Provide learning opportunities for all members of our community to develop and grow. Create conditions for each community member to work collaboratively within diverse communities by increasing exposure to other cultures, identities, and ways of thinking and learning.
- Elevate IDEA: Making IDEA integral to all student experiences, services, and programs.
- Expand resources: Adequate financial, physical, and supportive resources are vital to creating an equitable campus
Empower students to manage their well-being
We must develop a cohesive vision of wellness and clearly communicate our expectations to students. How do we help students to build the habits and skills that promote their wellness while on the hill and throughout their lives?
- Empower students to be the agents of their own wellness: Denison provides many tools and resources for students to employ to manage their wellness and to be agents of their own well-being. Reframe our messaging; help students develop the habits and skills to manage their own wellness; equip faculty and staff with the tools, language, and resources to support students.
- Address the paralysis from perfectionism: Students often come to Denison fearing making a mistake—academically, co-curricularly, athletically, and even socially. Create an environment where we normalize that failure is ok and focus on the learning that results from failure.
- Infuse Mindfulness Throughout Campus: Mindfulness and contemplative practices are a key aspect of our wellness approach. Develop one or two signature mindfulness programs that we encourage all students to participate in.
- De-center counseling: De-center counseling as the primary tool for wellness and managing stress. We need to focus on helping students manage their mental health before it reaches a crisis point—helping them be mindful of how sleep, nutrition, movement, connection to others, time spent outdoors, all impact our mental health.
- Create a wellness center known for high-quality care: Create a wellness center known for high-quality medical and counseling care. We want students to feel valued and respected by administrative support staff, clinicians and medical providers. Establish consistent expectations for customer service, communicate clearly to students and families. Through our partnership with OSU provide students with access to additional services.
- Approach wellness through the lens of DEI and anti-racism: Our wellness approach must demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism. In recruitment and hiring of staff or through external partnerships. Ensure services continue to be accessible, financially and physically.
Build connection & community
We want to help students to feel connected to our campus community. We want to strengthen the sense of community on campus. We want residence halls to be a site where students learn what it means to be an active citizen within their communities.
- Campus pride and gratitude: Cultivate campus pride by reaffirming what it means to be a Denisonian. Partner with athletics to increase campus engagement at sporting events. Introduce campus traditions and events that engage the entire campus community.
- Student-centered spaces: Prioritize and coordinate facility planning, maintenance, and infrastructure to maximize resources in support of student-centered spaces and places around campus including but not limited to residential spaces and Slayter student union. Enhance collaborative opportunities. Prioritize the integration of the campus engagement software to reduce friction in facility utilization and event planning.
- Connection: Help students identify ways to connect to opportunities, experiences, and organizations.
- Community values: Develop an upstander intervention model for Denison. Clearly communicate to students who we are as a community and what we value.
Divisional professional culture of innovation & excellence
We strive to create a professional culture of innovation and excellence. We want our team to be known, on campus, and beyond, as doing exceptional work. We want to raise awareness of the great work that Denison is doing in support of the student experience.
- Professional development opportunities: We will support an environment that allows employees to grow professionally and enhance their occupational well-being.
- Collective talents: We are a home to a wide range of professionals with varied experiences. Harness the collective talents and expertise within Student Life to advance institutional priorities. Strengthen professional relationships across the Division and University. Use assessment to inform decision-making and program effectiveness.
- Career competency: Advance Student Life infrastructure related to the profession of Student Affairs. Support opportunities for staff to contribute to the field of Student Affairs on a local, regional, state, and national level.