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2021-2026 Strategic Plan Themes and Objectives

Note: These are 3-5 year objectives for the division of Student Affairs.

Champion Holistic Well-being


  1. Lead the development, implementation, and promotion of a student well-being strategy, incorporating the principles of equity, community, and compassion (campus-wide).
  2. Invest resources in both preventative and intervention strategies that embrace a culturally relevant and comprehensive approach to advancing mental well-being.
  3. Enhance the community of care coordination by leveraging campus and community resources, creating intentional connections across services, and defining clear pathways for referral and coordination.
  4. Create, implement, and assess a comprehensive, data informed prevention and intervention plan focused on reducing high-risk Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) student behavior.
  5. In partnership with campus partners, create, implement, and assess a campus-wide educational program focused on the principles of holistic well-being.

Foster Meaningful Student Engagement


  1. Identify and incorporate consistent values and outcomes for student development and engagement across all advising, services, facilities, digital environments, and programs within the division.
  2. Increase opportunities for meaning making throughout student involvement by building competencies and skills around reflection, self-awareness, self-responsibility, self-authorship, and storytelling.
  3. Curate High-Impact Practices for students to shape their individual Northwestern experience, with a lens using racial justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into students well-being and learning outcomes.
  4. Educate students on healthy communication behaviors that upholds the dignity of others, fosters belonging, centers community and self-accountability, and owns impact.
  5. Educate stakeholders on emergent (short- and long-term) student needs generally and for key populations to aid in advising, program development, service delivery, and maintaining physical and digital environments.  
  6. Develop strategic partnerships across Student Affairs, Northwestern, and the Evanston and Chicago communities, to achieve collective goal attainment. 
  7. Update and enhance student-focused spaces (physical, virtual, programmatic) to better support community development. 

Invest in Organizational Development  


  1. Establish and communicate clear processes and pathways for the full employee lifecycle, rooted in equity and anti-racism, to include recruitment, onboarding, retention, development, advancement, and off-boarding. 
  2. Invest in, create, and promote existing opportunities for professional development at all staff levels.   
  3. Create, implement, and evaluate an internal communication strategy to better share division priorities and engage with the full division. 
  4. Review, evaluate, and adjust or create work-life strategies and policies that improve  divisional staff experiences. 
  5. Review division programs and services to align both divisional resources and efforts with our strategic plan.   
  6. Develop, implement, and assess a divisional staff-focused, racial equity strategy, incorporating the principles of equity, justice, and compassion. This includes implementation of a foundational competency in racial equity and social justice for all Student Affairs staff. 
  7. Create, implement, and assess a division-wide competency development on equity, inclusion, anti-racist, and social justice work.  

Pursue Equity, Justice, and Belonging  


  1. Develop strategies to assess and remove barriers to participation, including but not limited to spaces, systems, fee structures, and policies.  
  2. Lead the development and implementation of a student-focused, racial equity strategy, incorporating the principles of equity, justice, and compassion.  
  3. Review racial equity or social justice-based task force and committee recommendations and develop specific goals with timelines for achievement for those connected to or overseen by the division.  
  4. Leverage and enhance existing data-informed frameworks to help students develop a sense of responsibility and accountability to include self, Northwestern, community, and world.  
  5. In partnership with the Provost and Office of Human Resources, collaborate to develop training for staff and faculty to better understand their roles in helping students develop and understand accountability, responsibility, and community.  
  6. Develop and implement additional systems for connection, engagement, and healing, including but not limited to restorative practices, alternative resolution models, healing spaces, and community engagement. 
  7. Create avenues for connection and engagement that help inspire trust and heal relationships between students and Northwestern administration.