2012 SPARC Report: Division of Student Affairs


Strategic Priority 2: Retain dedicated, hardworking, academically and professionally striving students.

Outcome: Increase the retention, progression, and graduation rates for all Armstrong students.

Action/Steps: Increase the quality and effectiveness of the co curricular experience for all students.

A. Evaluate and prioritize services and programs for Residential; Graduate;
Online/Blended; Military?related; Commuters

i. With a focus on our military?related students, Career Services has created a new
military and veteran career assistance webpage, successfully applied for
Armstrong to be a Call to Serve institution, and partnered with our Military
Outreach Center to promote these opportunities by cross?linking webpages and
Facebook postings;

ii. Aligned with suggestions emanating from the Armstrong Summit with local
elected officials and successful business leaders, Career Services, in partnership
with Student Activities, Housing and Residence Life, Counseling Services, and
the Department of Economics, created and launched “OMGraduation” to teach
students fundamental life and job search skills that they will need upon
graduation, and throughout their professional careers;

iii. Worked with Counseling Services and Housing and Residence Life to evaluate
and revamp our emergency and suicide?related protocols. The new systems are
more effective and responsive to the needs of our students (and their parents)
and were lauded as exceptional in a recent audit of our residential life units by
the University System of Georgia;

iv. In support of the Armstrong RPG plan, Housing and Residence Life put forth
several initiatives to encourage and support student academic and personal
success. Specific programs included time management, career exploration,
maintaining motivation, study skills, online learning, understanding financial aid,
conflict management, finding a campus job, and managing stress for academic
success. In addition, Housing and Residence Life instituted peer tutoring for
residents of Windward Commons in the areas of math, science and writing.
Additionally, an early alert –related academic mentoring program was launched.
This initiative identified students who achieved less than a 2.00 GPA during their
first semester and provided one?to?one academic counseling and support by
academic advisors and senior level staff from Student Affairs. In addition to
these programmatic initiatives, Housing and Residence Life significantly
improved communication to residential students via a revamped monthly
newsletter and academic success focused community bulletin boards;

v. Restructured and refocused the Student Activities Committee to enhance the
on?campus campus experience and spirit by reviewing and recommending
campus traditions, intentionally seeking ways to integrate athletics into campus
life, and ensuring optimal collaborative scheduling of events and activities
throughout the division, and beyond;

vi. Recognizing that using the outdoors for adventure and community service has
experienced dramatic growth at many colleges and universities over the past
decade, Health and Wellness has expanded its Outdoor Recreation Program by
offering its first overnight trip ?? 3 days/2 nights White Water Rafting and
Horseback Riding excursion for 16 students. This was followed by taking 12
students skydiving (with a waiting list of 32 individuals);

vii. To be more reflective of best practices, the housing renewal process was
changed to allow students currently living in housing to choose to renew to their
current space or to select a new, specific room elsewhere on campus. By moving
away from assigning rooms to returning students based solely on availability at
the time of their application, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the
numbers of these students returning for the upcoming academic year. This new
approach was well publicized and Housing exceeded its target numbers for
returning student room reservations by a large margin;

viii. Collaborated with Advancement to significantly increase Armstrong’s student
representation in Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and to introduce students
to the Savannah Music Festival. For the first time, related to the latter event,
students were introduced to educational activities geared to appropriate dress
(for success), etiquette at dinners and receptions, and on the evening of the
event were treated to a cocktail reception prior to being transported to a
concert by Armstrong’s own Savannah Winds Concert Band. These types of
major opportunities elicited many positive comments and reactions from our
students, some life changing in nature. Also, these events in of themselves
created great visibility for Armstrong in the community (Strategic Goal #5);

ix. Implemented a priority registration process for our Office of Disability Services’
students;

x. Hosted by Hispanic Outreach and Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA), over 50
students and parents attended the first Domingo Universitario Program. This
program was an all?day outreach initiative targeting incoming Hispanic/Latino
students and their families and was focused on pre?college preparedness,
scholarship search, financial aid applications, academic advisement, and
parental engagement;

xi. As an initial step into eStudent Affairs, and to target our students who never or
rarely come to campus, Health and Wellness recorded and archived several
workshops on topics such as Nutrition and one on Exercising At Your Desk.
These are now prominently displayed on the Fitness and Wellness Programs
webpage; and

xii. Partnered with Enrollment Services to lead a cross?divisional team that was
divided into 9 working groups to review and revamp the University’s orientation
and registration program called Navigate. As a result, significant changes were
made to reflect a heightened focus on the academic, registration, and financial
readiness of each student. Additionally, these efforts now fully involve parents
and have been consolidated into the morning intake process to allow more time
throughout the day to resolve individual issues and concerns should they arise.

B. Review and rellocation of budget

i. To increase ownership and efficiency within their respective areas, worked with
Business and Finance to reallocated State funds to create a budget for the first
time in the Offices of Multicultural Affairs, Disability Services, and Hispanic
Outreach and Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA);

ii. Based on best practices within the University System of Georgia and working
with the Student Government Association (SGA), significantly changed the
composition of the Student Activity Fee Committee to increase professional
staff input and oversight to ensure a fair and optimal allocation of resources for
all students; and

iii. To increase efficiency, and to enhance and expand the spectrum of campus life,
restructured the allocation of student activity fees to include a preset allocation
for the professional staff within Student Affairs and, for the first time, set aside
a portion of the fees for use by our Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs)
only.

C. Review and modift staffing and organizational chart for the Division

i. Created the Office of Student Affairs Assessment to facilitate and support the
increasingly essential ongoing evaluation of programs and services throughout
the division;

ii. In partnership with Advancement and with minimal increase in funds, created
the Office of Parent Services to heighten our customer service and connection
to all parents which is important given Armstrong’s high number of first
generation students. Created and successfully launched a Parent eNewsletter
that is sent to all parent email addresses every three weeks. One of the goals of
this communication is to engage and better inform parents so they can
positively influence their students on how to be successful;

iii. Based on best practices and standards in the profession, increased the staff in
the University’s Counseling Center to more effectively serve our students; and

iv. Re?introduced the Dean of Students title, upgraded a coordinator to director for
consistency, crafted a new organizational chart for the division, relocated
numerous offices, and disseminated these changes throughout the institution to
heighten awareness and effectiveness of the division’s activities and services.

D. Optimize communication to students

i. In response to Armstrong?related emails being perceived by students as spam,
partnered with Academic Affairs and Advancement to address this critical issue
by creating and successfully introducing two weekly email vehicles. The Tuesday
“What’s Going on, Armstrong!” coordinated through Student Affairs includes
campus life related events and activities for the upcoming week and the
Thursday “Important Announcements” compiled by Academic Affairs
incorporates deadlines for registration, financial aid, etc.