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Common Themes from Feedback Sessions 2018

Dear Student Affairs Colleagues,

Last year after publishing the results of the Student Affairs staff survey, I visited with each department to review the outcomes with you and collect your feedback. Your perspectives and opinions are important to me. They augment what we learn from the survey, giving me a better understand of the Division’s organizational health. I shared your feedback with the Student Affairs leadership team, and it informed our planning for this year.

 Since that time, we have introduced initiatives and created plans to make changes in the Division based on your suggestions. I want to be sure you are aware of these activities. Below you will find a summary of the common themes from my conversations with you and how they are being addressed. I plan to update this page periodically to reflect our progress to improve the Division of Student Affairs.

Patricia Telles-Irvin
Vice President for Student Affairs


Common Themes from Feedback Sessions 2018

Social Justice and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training

The Division needs to increase social justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion training for staff. It needs to become part of job descriptions, recruitment, staff orientation, and required professional development. 

Update March 2019:
  • A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Institute with a new facilitator was held in December 2018 and was well received by staff who attended. This training will continue annually.
  • Plans are underway to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Division’s new staff onboarding, new staff orientation, staff development programs, division and staff goals, staff recruitment, and performance excellence.
  • Division leadership has encouraged continued focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in department activities. Several departments have initiated and participated in their own activities.


Communication needs to improve, and Division leadership needs to communicate more frequently. Staff are receiving too many emails that are not relevant to them; communication needs to be consolidated, and rules need to be established for listserv use.  

Update March 2019:

We have developed a communication strategy.  The first initiative will be a weekly Student Affairs e-Newsletter that will begin publication in early April. The e-Newsletter will include updates from Division leadership and announcements that are frequently communicated via the listservs and individual emails.


Staff stress levels are still too high. The Division should add professional development about managing stress. Communication from leadership encouraging staff to take care of themselves and to take advantage of available benefits, including vacation, would help. Supervisors should check in with staff regarding stress issues they are experiencing.

The Division should explore flexible work schedules to recognize that staff are not necessarily working only during the standard University work day.

Update March 2019:
  • The new e-Newsletter and HR update will serve as a platform for communicating resources available to staff for addressing stress.
  • A proposal for some flexible work arrangement ideas is under review by Division leadership.

Succession Planning & Promotion

The Division should support staff career progression with training and mentoring specifically addressing strategies for advancement and career ladders in each department with succession plans for key positions.

Job descriptions for all positions should be reviewed and updated more frequently to ensure they reflect the work being performed. Career opportunities in the Division and across the University should be more broadly shared with staff.

Update March 2019:
  • A divisional HR strategic plan is under development and will include career progression as a major focus area.
  • A program as part of the HR strategic plan will intentionally work to ensure that job descriptions are reviewed on a regular basis for all positions in the division.

Community within the Division

Lunches with VP and the VP breakfasts are popular events and should continue. Affinity groups are appreciated and should be expanded to include other groups.


The current budgeting situation creates stress, which might be reduced with more frequent communications about the status of budgets. Staff who deal hands on with budgets would also benefit from more professional development regarding best practices.

Update March 2019:
  • The Vice President is working on a presentation about the Student Affairs budget for full staff.
  • Different management budget reports have been updated and are now provided to each manager who oversees budgets. Quarterly update meetings between Business and Finance and budget managers occur.


Create transparency into how decisions are made and provide avenues for staff to offer suggestions and ideas.

Update March 2019:
  • The e-Newsletter will provide Division leadership a platform to provide more transparency about decision-making.
  • Division priorities and goals will be shared more intentionally and broadly.