Creating an engaging learning environment where community is strengthened and individuals flourish
Through student-centered programs, policies, and services, the Division of Student Affairs prepares students to learn, lead, and live with integrity and purpose.
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.
- Professional Excellence
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.
- Student Centeredness
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(+V)
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
V = Vitality: Strong physical and mental health
(Adapted 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 freedom of expression is protected and civility is affirmed
- A just place where the sacredness of the person is honored and diversity is aggressively pursued
- A disciplined place where group obligations and well-defined governance procedures drive behavior
- A caring place where individuals are supported and service is encouraged
- A celebrative place where both tradition and change are honored
(From Campus Life: In Search of Community, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990)
Goals and Objectives
Consistent with our values, the following goals emphasize our commitment to students.
Goal 1: Integrated Learning
The Division of Student Affairs will foster an environment of curiosity and discovery, where students can explore what truly motivates and excites them, and where they can integrate what they learn across their academic and non-academic experiences.
- Develop opportunities for students to learn about themselves, others, and the world.
- Challenge students to strengthen and apply their critical thinking skills in a co-curricular setting.
- Create avenues for students to reflect on the meaning and value of what they have learned through their many and varied experiences at W&M.
- Encourage students to articulate the broad applications of what they have learned.
- Leverage collaborative efforts across departments and offices to help students see connections and points of integration among different areas of the university.
Goal 2: Leadership Development
The Division of Student Affairs understands leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, and values-based process. We will support students in building the skills needed to lead and participate responsibly in their chosen communities at W&M and beyond.
- Create opportunities for students to develop and apply leadership skills, regardless of their membership or formal role in an organization.
- Help students identify the values and priorities that shape their involvements.
- Provide opportunities for students to explore what it means for them to live a life of meaning and purpose, consistent with their own values.
- Facilitate mentoring relationships and opportunities through formal and informal activities and programs.
Goal 3: Personal Well-Being
The Division of Student Affairs will promote the well-being of the students we serve. We define well-being primarily as comprised of positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement, and vitality (PERMA+V).
- Create and enhance practical opportunities to develop interpersonal skills necessary to build meaningful, positive relationships.
- Teach and encourage students to manage their commitments and time realistically, in accordance with their personal values.
- Enhance community understanding and personal integration of the eight dimensions of wellness: social, emotional/mental, spiritual, physical, intellectual, environmental, financial, and occupational.
- Strengthen students’ ability to manage emotions and conflict, and to be resilient in the face of setbacks.
- Teach students to recognize and take advantage of available resources—from education and prevention to intervention—to promote their success and self-care.
Goal 4: Community
The Division of Student Affairs will foster an inclusive community that honors the educational mission of the university while also being open, just, caring, disciplined, and celebrative.
- Encourage students to participate actively in creating and upholding standards and traditions that benefit the communities to which they belong.
- Provide opportunities for students to engage with diverse people and perspectives in their learning.
- Teach students to work collaboratively with diverse people to identify and achieve shared goals.
- Welcome and encourage genuine involvement by individuals of diverse backgrounds, identities, abilities, perspectives, and life experiences in all aspects of campus life.
- Communicate the expectation that members of the campus community treat one another with civility, empathy, and respect at all times and in all contexts.
- Support and encourage students in identifying, understanding, and acting to address areas of need on the campus and in their local, national, and global communities.
- Administer policies and procedures that are fair and equitably applied to ensure accountability and to support the well-being of the community, as well as its individual members.
Consistent with our values, the following goals emphasize our commitment to professional excellence.
Goal 5: Staff Enrichment and Well-Being
The Division of Student Affairs recognizes the responsibility of our staff across all levels and positions to be positive role models, which includes a focus on well-being, professional growth and expertise.
- Participate in activities that develop our professional talents and strengths.
- Collaborate meaningfully with others beyond our own departments and seek out diverse perspectives to better inform our work.
- Encourage one another in the pursuit of engagement and other dimensions of well-being.
- Encourage and recognize innovation, creativity, and forward-thinking in accordance with the purpose, values, and goals of the division.
Goal 6: Resource Enhancement
The Division of Student Affairs will capitalize on financial, human, and relational resources within and beyond the campus to optimally support our goals and priorities.
- Develop strategic partnerships that provide tangible and intangible support to the division’s work.
- Increase private giving to student affairs initiatives through donor relations, stewardship and prospect development.
- Promote the long-term financial viability of the division by identifying and addressing inefficiencies, as well as pursuing new sources of revenue.
- Ensure the division is appropriately staffed to meet the needs and expectations of the entire W&M community.
Approved January 2015