Oct. 3, 2017
I want to thank each of you for your efforts in successfully launching a new semester. We have been involved in so much. Here are some of these highlights.
First, I offer heartfelt thanks to all for supporting our students who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. You make a difference in so many different ways including making housing accommodations, coordinating class absences, lending a comforting ear and word, and more.
As we continue to offer students support for their individual needs, we took the time to celebrate at our Division-wide Kick Off meeting. I was delighted to see so many team members representing our nine departments. We celebrated your departmental accomplishments and made connections with the larger team that we are. Clearly, we collaborate across departments to address students’ needs and partner with the larger university community.
We acknowledge that there are many trends and other factors affecting our students and our campus environment, and higher education in general. These topics includes access and affordability, hate and bias first generation status, mental health, sorority and fraternity life and many more. We realize and operate in an evolving social media and technology environment in which events are viewed in real time. Students have greater expectations that their voices are heard and there be a quick institutional response. There is growing sensitivity to society social justice issues as they relate to students lives. As a Division, we are listening and helping shape responses. We are also listening to our own voices and concerns.
Our Let Us Know initiative that began last January with a survey to all Division staff is a step in that direction. In addition to the survey, we held meetings with our departments, alumni, parents, faculty and other campus partners during the spring. The Let Us Know report includes priorities that reflect your voice to further guide us in addressing our own concerns and setting direction. Please contact your department director to learn more. I look forward to working with you on these priorities:
- Direct student impact
- Developing a campus climate survey
- Increasing on-campus housing
- Renovating Hogg Auditorium
- Staff focus
- Broadening collaboration across departments and units
- Completing equity adjustments
- Implementing a Division-wide new staff orientation
- Increasing inter-Division communication
- Initiating budget reductions
- Expanding our communication strategy
- Generating new revenue and gift opportunities
Finally, today marks the launch of our 2016-2017 Impact Report which showcases some of our signature accomplishments. I encourage you to discover the many ways our team has engaged students, parents, faculty and staff to inspire students to become their best selves. Keep up the good work!
Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students