A 360° Educational Approach
The Division of Student Affairs inspires and prepares students to be effective leaders, responsible citizens, and engaged scholars through student-centered programs, policies, and services.
Creating an engaging learning environment in which community is strengthened and individuals flourish
We encourage and carry out activities that recognize achievement, support innovation, celebrate tradition, welcome humor and a sense of play, and affirm the contributions of individuals and groups in our community.
We work together on tasks and activities by sharing time, resources, and expertise with individuals and offices. We share responsibility and embrace the strengths and abilities of one another while working toward common goals.
We value the uniqueness of people and perspectives. We embrace and celebrate one another’s differences, talents, and abilities.
We maintain open and transparent decision-making in all processes through the departments and division to the greatest extent possible. We work together with fairness and cooperation, and act in ways that are consistent with our values.
We strive to be exceptional in all that we do by establishing and achieving high expectations. We distinguish ourselves through activities that invest and contribute to the future of the division, institution, and profession.
We treat each individual with high regard, appreciation, and courtesy. We honor the contributions of individuals and departments.
We remember that students are central to our mission and we encourage and promote the student voice. Our work is guided by a commitment to their holistic development and learning.
Seligman's Theory of Well-being/PERMA
P = Positive Emotion: Happiness, satisfaction, feelings of living the "pleasant life."
E = Engagement: Being one with an activity ("flow"), loss of self-consciousness
R = Relationships: Positive relationships with others
M = Meaning: Sense of belonging to and serving something you believe is bigger than yourself
A = Accomplishment: Includes success, achievement, winning, and mastery for their own sakes
(From Flourish, Seligman, 2011)
Boyer's Principles of Community
A university should be...
- An educationally purposeful place where learning is the focus
- An open place where civility is affirmed
- A just place where persons are honored and diversity pursued
- A disciplined place where group obligations drive behavior
- A caring place where individuals are supported and service is encouraged
- A celebrative place where traditions are shared
(From Creating Campus Community, W.M. McDonald & Associates, 2002)
Guided by these key concepts, the Division of Student Affairs developed the following long-term priorities in the summer of 2012. The desired outcomes serve as our guides as we draft specific objectives and action steps that will give our vision concrete form.
I. Engaged Learning
At its best, education creates a spark that ignites a student’s curiosity and excitement for further learning. The Division of Student Affairs strives to foster an environment where students participate enthusiastically in their own education, integrate their learning across different areas, explore the value of what they learn beyond simply earning a grade, and practice the skills of leadership—and followership—that will enable them to make their chosen mark on the world.
|1. Students will play an active role in determining the goals of their own learning.|
|2. In every aspect of campus life, students will encounter opportunities to learn about themselves, others, and/or the world.|
|3. Students will understand the broad applications of what they learn and will be able to integrate their knowledge and skills across the various areas of their lives.|
|4. Students will be able to reflect on what they have learned and articulate how their experiences have affected them.|
|5. Students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and habits of reflective leadership.|
|6. Students will further develop and apply their critical thinking skills in extra- and co-curricular settings.|
II. Personal Well-being
Research in positive psychology suggests that well-being is a product of five distinct, teachable elements: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Well-being is also closely related to resilience—the ability to manage negative stress and persevere in the face of adversity. The Division of Student Affairs aims to ensure that our departments contribute to the development of these qualities in the students we serve, as well as in our own staff, in order to help strengthen the skills and habits that facilitate learning, personal growth, and overall success.
|1. Students will hone and apply their resilience skills.|
|2. Students and staff will exhibit patterns of well-being that meet the standard of flourishing.|
|3. Students will enhance and practice the interpersonal skills necessary to build meaningful, positive relationships.|
|4. Students will develop the self-awareness and skills to envision and pursue lives of meaning and purpose, consistent with their own values.|
|5. Students will manage their commitments and time in accordance with their personal values.|
|6. Students will act with a sense of self-efficacy and self-authorship.|
The Division of Student Affairs strives to build a community that honors the central educational mission of the university while also being open, just, caring, disciplined, and celebrative. We encourage students to participate actively in the creation and preservation of community standards and traditions, and to work effectively with others to identify and address areas for improvement on the campus and in the local, national, and global communities beyond.
|1. Students will experience the campus community as a welcoming and inclusive place for individuals of diverse backgrounds, identities, abilities, perspectives, and life experiences. Those who come here will feel they belong here.|
|2. Students will engage in ethical relationships with others, characterized by civility, empathy, and respect, even in the face of differences.|
|3. Working together and as individuals, students will assume responsibility for creating and upholding the standards of communities to which they belong.|
|4. Students will demonstrate the skills and motivation to make meaningful improvements to the life of the campus and broader community, through political and non-political processes.|
|5. Students will actively seek out and engage with diverse people and perspectives in their learning.|
|6. Students will be able to work collaboratively and effectively with diverse people to achieve common goals.|
|7. Campus celebrations will foster “Tribe Pride” among all members of the W&M community and promote lifelong relationships with the College.|
IV. Resource Development & Management
Members of the Division of Student Affairs aspire to be role models for students. We strive to foster a climate of creativity, innovation, and collaboration at all levels of the division, and to encourage one another in the pursuit of engagement and well-being. We commit ourselves to professional excellence and integrity in how we manage our work and the affairs of the division.
|1. Student affairs staff at all levels will take advantage of opportunities to increase their skills and develop their professional and personal talents.|
|2. Private giving to student affairs initiatives will increase as a result of increased attention to donor stewardship and prospect development.|
|3. Decisions regarding division resources (e.g., finances, facilities, staffing) will reflect the priorities of 360° learning and individual and community flourishing.|