2021-2026 Strategic Plan

Goal 1: Student Engagement

Enhance the student experience through meaningful engagement and high-impact practices.

Tactics

  • Define and adopt a Division and institutional definition of student engagement that reinforces a broad array of significant learning experiences
  • Inventory and evaluate existing high-impact practices* to identify effective practices and opportunities to scale
  • Implement interventions to increase equitable participation in student engagement activities
  • Align resources to support effective practices and signature programs focusing on a continuum of engagement (all virtual to all in person)
  • Create partnerships across campus, particularly with the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Research, to promote engagement opportunities, including undergraduate research
  • Implement the Hawkeye Engage tool, a data-driven platform to help students explore and reflect upon opportunities for engagement

Updates

Fall 2020

  • The Student Engagement Work Group has been charged with creating a definition of engagement. View the work group charge and members.
  • Director of Project and Partnerships serves on Hawkeye Engage Steering Team, and updated goals, timeline, and requirements for the Hawkeye Engage tool have been outlined.
  • Piloting Division of Student Life Undergraduate Research Fellows to provide a research experience for undergraduate students and support staff in the Division of Student Life in conducting research projects.

Spring 2021

  • The Student Engagement Work Group has submitted its report, outlining a definition of student engagement and providing recommendations on how to integrate the definition across the Division of Student Life.  View the work group's report and recommendations
  • Hawkeye Engage is a web-based tool where students can purposefully plan experiences (co-curricular and curricular based), and for the University of Iowa to capture, catalog, and analyze the breadth of student engagement activity that supports student development. Hawkeye Engage is partnership between the Division of Student Life, Office of the Provost, and Information Technology Services. Phase one of the project is expected to be complete in fall 2021.
  • The Undergraduate Research Fellowships provide a research experience for undergraduate students and assist staff in the Division in conducting research projects in support of student success. Spring 2021 was the initial pilot of the program with four research projects and five fellows. Fellows indicated that as a result of this experience they can create clear objectives or research questions for a research project, select the most effective methodology to use, and present their research to a broader audience. View the spring 2021 report.

Fall 2021

  • The Student Engagement Implementation Team is charged with implementing the recommendations of the Student Engagement Work Group. See the work group charge.
  • The first phase of Hawkeye Engage will launch in spring 2022. 

Metrics

  • Percent of 4th year students engaged in high-impact practices broken down by all students and underrepresented students
  • Hawkeye Engage usage data
  • Number of high-impact experiences offered
  • Number of partnerships outside DSL
  • Funding and resources audit for effective practices and signature programs
  • Connect student attendance information to student success measures (GPA and retention)

Goal 2: Holistic Well-Being

Lead a campus-wide movement to enhance holistic well-being.

Tactics

  • Adopt a common definition of well-being to incorporate safety and access to basic needs
  • Define organizational model/structure for a collaborative and holistic approach to well-being that addresses health inequities
  • Prioritize well-being through staffing, hybridization (in person and virtual) of services, creation of an integrated well-being facility, and adequate resource allocation
  • Partner with the Office of the Provost to leverage the well-being model to support University of Iowa retention goals

Updates

Fall 2020

  • The Well-Being Collaborative is working on a health and well-being model and facility planning.
  • Mindfulness and resiliency programming expansion for students.
  • Reinvigoration of Kognitoan online, interactive role-play simulation program for students, faculty, and staff that builds awareness, knowledge and skills about mental health and suicide prevention, and other suicide prevention work.
  • The 2019-2022 UI Alcohol Harm Reduction Plan contains multiple, mutually reinforcing, and research-based strategies.
  • The University of Iowa Anti-Violence Coalition (AVC), made up of campus stakeholders and community partners, worked together to identify action items for the 2018-2021 Anti-Violence Plan that focus on prevention and education, policy, and intervention. The plan will be updated in summer 2021 with data from the 2021 administration of the Speak Out Iowa Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct

Spring 2021

  • The Okanagan Charter was identified as a guiding document for becoming a health and well-being promoting campus. The Division of Student Life will move forward with formally adopting the Okanagan Charter. A definition of well-being has been drafted by the Well-Being Group.
  • The Well-Being Group is conducting focus groups with campus partners to receive feedback on the well-being definition and understand strengths and gaps around health and well-being on campus.
  • The definition of well-being was outlined: Well-being at the University of Iowa is a process focused on life-long learning that promotes and sustains optimal health, personal connectedness, meaningful experiences, and a purposeful life.  
  • To advance the work around holistic well-being and support the Division of Student Life’s goals, several units/initiatives have been aligned under the Office of the Dean of Students under the Well-Being and Basic Needs umbrella. These units/initiatives include: Student Wellness, Student Care and Assistance, Student Legal Services, Off-Campus Housing Student Support, Harm Reduction, Food Pantry, and Clothing Closet.

Fall 2021

  • The Well-Being & Mental Health Collaborative has been charged with outlining strategic priorities and a 3-year plan to meet our vision for the University of Iowa to embed well-being and mental health into all aspects of campus culture and, leverage research, collaboration, and action to improve the well-being of our campus, the state, and the world. The Collaborative consists of participants who oversee mutually reinforcing activities around health and well-being on campus or in the community. View the charge.
  • Student Care and Assistance added new staff:  A. Basic Needs Coordinator to support student basic needs, including helping raise awareness, create partnership, and increase access and support for the food pantry, Clothing Closet, and other campus and community resources. B. two new Student Care Coordinators to provide follow-up services for students who have had law enforcement contact, crisis intervention, or hospitalization.
  • The University of Iowa began a new partnership with CommUnity Crisis Services in Iowa City to provide 24/7/365 mental health concern and support assistance via phone, chat, and text for all students, in addition to in-person response and transport to care facilities as needed and appropriate for the situation.
  • DSL held a session targeted at supervisors/leaders around workplace flexibility and wellbeing. Our goal was to educate leaders about ways they can better support flexibility in the workplace to increase employee well-being. 

Metrics

  • NCHA data
  • Student climate data
  • Clinical load data
  • Retention data
  • Well-being facility usage
  • Student Care and Assistance data trends
  • Basic needs assessment and allocation of resources (food pantry, meal share, etc.)

Goal 3: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lead boldly through the Division of Student Life’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan.

Tactics

  • Integrate DEI into daily work by establishing leader behaviors (student-first, employee-first, organization-first behaviors that demonstrate organizational values and illustrate desired organizational norms of being and doing)
  • Engage leadership in an Equity Institute
  • Revise the Division’s supplemental performance evaluation document to increase accountability for DEI
  • Communicate the DEI Action Plan consistently throughout the Division and across campus
  • Refresh the plan as goals are achieved to ensure continuous improvement

Updates

Fall 2020

Spring 2021

  • Departments within the Division of Student Life are integrating various DEI programs and practices (i.e. professional development and training opportunities, DEI dialogues, DEI work groups, etc.).
  • DSL Executive Leadership is following the President/Cabinet model of reading and discussing a shared book, Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. Time is allotted during Executive Leadership Team meetings to discuss the book.
  • Refocused the supplemental performance evaluation document to prioritize goal setting for the next year and integrating practical DEI goals that support equity and inclusion in everyday work. See the updated supplemental performance evaluation document
  • Implementation of the DEI Action Plan for the 2021-2022 academic year will focus on four priority areas and updates will be provided on a yearly basis.

Fall 2021

  • The Division of Student Life is partnering with the Multicultural Initiatives Research Team to provide workshops to DSL leadership on a process oriented approach to DEI work and consulting with the MCI team on strategic projects.
  • The Division of Student Life has outlined three priority areas for the 2021-2022 academic year, 1) create a diversity, equity, and inclusion training plan for DSL staff, 2) outline a retention plan for staff of color, and 3) conduct a review of departmental policies, processes, programs, and physical spaces.
  • Implicit bias training will be available to the Division starting in spring 2022.
  • The Division of Student Life Executive Leadership Team has worked through the half of the Caste workbook and were the initial group of DSL staff to undergo the implicit bias training.

Metrics

  • Student and employee climate data
  • URM staff retention
  • Staff participation in DEI work
  • Staff participation in pipeline/leadership programs on campus (such as the Executive Leadership Academy and VPSL fellowships)
  • DEI evaluation further developed in program review

Goal 4: Community and Sense of Belonging

Cultivate virtual and in person programs and physical spaces that promote a sense of belonging, opportunities for socialization, and community development. 

Tactics

  • Develop cultural neighborhood with both infrastructure and robust programming (staffing, physical plant, and adequate resource allocation for existing cultural and resource centers; construction of a Cultural Neighborhood)
  • Complete a graduate and professional student needs assessment and develop intentional outreach that invites graduate and professional students to participate in initiatives and programs
  • Invest in student support partnerships with collegiate and academic advising staff
  • Invest in the student employment experience by providing high-impact practices through Iowa GROW® and essential skill development
  • Collaborate with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to facilitate ongoing opportunities for the community to engage in difficult dialogues
  • Promote a broad definition of civic engagement and create high-impact opportunities for students
  • Using evidence-informed practices, outline programs and services to increase sense of belonging for first-generation students

Updates

Fall 2020

  • Virtual Lesson Learned Work Group has been charged with capturing and generating themes of the lessons learned from the switch to virtual programming in the 2020-2021 academic year and outlining principles for the Division of Student Life moving forward. View the work group charge and membership
  • Graduate & Professional Needs Assessment Work Group has been charged with creating and administering a needs assessment to graduate and professional students. View the work group charge and membership
  • Drafted a working definition for civic engagement at the University of Iowa and are collaborating to align with the definition of student engagement from goal #1.
  • Identified key campus and community partnerships that are critical to the development of a civically engaged student body.
  • Working to engage and coordinate with student organizations who have a civic engagement mission that aligns with the University’s vision for civic engagement.

Spring 2021

  • Completed the second year of planning for the cultural neighborhood with Campus Planning and Development.
  • Met with cultural center stakeholders multiple times during phase two planning. Feedback on the purpose of the centers was analyzed and the themes emerged: providing a sense of belonging, creating a space to enhance identity development and promote inclusivity, providing a place to honor heritage and cultural connections, ensuring universal access to students of all abilities, and supporting student success in various ways.
  • The Graduate & Professional Student Needs Assessment Work Group has been collecting information on tailored services for, utilization of services by, and existing sources of data on graduate and professional students. Four subcommittees, Needs Assessment, Distribution, Focus Group and Report Subcommittees, have been created and will start meeting in the summer.
  • Iowa GROW® is focused on making student employment a high-impact activity, one that requires students to reflect on their learning and connect their learning within and beyond the classroom. 2021 student employee data indicate that those who have Iowa GROW® conversations are more likely to agree that their student employment experience helped them gain key skills such as critical thinking, conflict negotiation, verbal communication, and working with diverse others.
  • Mindful and Engaged Hawkeyes conversation sessions (in-person/virtual) were used as an opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to come together in community and speak freely about events that were happening in our community and world.
  • Through this last school year, over 10 sessions (in-person/virtual) were provided that were attended by faculty, staff, and students. Conversation in these spaces was thoughtful, healing, and needed.
  • Mindful and Engaged Hawkeye will be used again in the 2021-2022 academic year, as a platform to invite conversation, differing ideologies, and opportunities to sit and talk in community with peers.
  • A cohort of first generation students will be working in the Division through the Hawkeye Talent Initiative in fall 2021.

Metrics

  • Percent of all students served by Division programs/services broken down by undergraduate and graduate/professional, first-generation status, and underrepresented minority (URM) students
  • Percentage of students involved in civic engagement activities
  • Sense of belonging data from first-generation and URM students
  • End of year reporting from departments on communities served

Goal 5: Staff Support

Recruit, retain, engage and develop employees at all levels to enrich student success.

Tactics

  • Review staff salaries for competitive alignment with peer institutions, industry norms, and internal comparative positions
  • Assess experience and expectations of merit staff’s sense of belonging as Division employees
  • Utilize and share data from the Working at Iowa Survey and employee exit interviews to guide policy improvement and effective supervision
  • Implement consistent and equitable opportunities for professional development across the Division
  • Continue to engage staff through multiple effective communication strategies, including periodic Division gatherings, and both virtual and in person options
  • Expand the hybridization of our programs and services to support remote work and student access

Updates

Fall 2020

  • Identifying opportunities for staff advancement and identifying internal staff for open positions.
  • Providing staff fellowships in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and the Office of Assessment, Improvement, and Research.
  • Regularly identifying SPOT, Exceptional Performance and High Five awards for staff.
  • Conducting a salary equity review.

Spring 2021

  • Exploring the option to implement a strategic analysis of P&S salaries aligning potential market adjustments within the departmental review process.
  • All regular Merit staff were awarded 1.1% across-the-board salary increase in addition to the Iowa Board of Regents 1% merit increase effective July 1.**
  • Outlining DSL priority areas for the next two years in alignment with data from the Faculty/Staff Climate Survey.
  • DSL has utilized experiential development opportunities to develop staff proficiency in various areas of interest.
  • Staff members were offered the opportunity to become implicit bias trainers to expand their training competency and experience.
  • A return to campus pilot plan has been implemented with a number of staff electing to work a hybrid or flexible work schedule.

Fall 2021

  • Based on the results of the Working at Iowa and Faculty & Staff Campus Climate survey data, the Division has identified two priorities and several strategies to address our results. Priority #1: Ensure Division of Student Life staff feel valued. Priority #2: Increase education and training for supervisors to create a positive culture by focusing on leadership skills, not just supervisory skills.
  • The Awards and Recognition Program Work Group has been charged with creating a comprehensive DSL Awards and Recognition Program. View the charge

Metrics

  • Staff retention
  • Working at Iowa Survey data
  • Climate Survey data
  • Staff participation in professional development and division events

Goal 6: Resources and Development

Grow and align Division resources and revenue to support priorities.

Tactics

  • Develop new sources of revenue through philanthropy and partnership
  • Partner with the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA) to increase alumni engagement based on affinity/student engagement
  • Work with campus partners to build parent and family engagement strategy
  • Sponsor development training for staff
  • Recommend adoption of customer relationship management (CRM) system to track students through alumni status
  • Review sources and uses of funds to identify opportunities for efficiency, including outsourcing and shared service models
  • Establish partnership with campus master plan
  • Expand strategic partnerships 

Updates

Fall 2020

  • Identified priorities for UICA capital campaign.
  • Parent and Family Network redesign.
  • Capital project planning (residence halls, IMU, well-being, Cultural Centers).

Spring 2021

  • Negotiated an MOU with UIDPS to pay for a Case Manager position to be housed in the Dean of Students.
  • Outsourced Hawk Shop, which brings recurring monetary benefits to the DSL and IMU. This outsourcing is expected to provide $1.3 million annually.
  • Vice President Hansen serves on the core Campus Development Team, which oversees the campus master plan.
  • Scott Seagren, DSL Business Officer, serves on master plan committee.
  • Exploring campus-community partnership to expand after hours mental health support.
  • Underwent a process to identify cost savings in each department/unit. Reallocated funds and staffing to priority areas (e.g., basic needs, student care).
  • The Parent and Family Network has outlined a new mission, “Connecting all University of Iowa parents/guardians and families to the undergraduate student experience at the University of Iowa.”
  • The Parent and Family Network Council has also outlined a new mission, “The Parent and Family Network Council provides opportunities for involvement for parents/guardians who want to make a positive impact on undergraduate student life at Iowa through advocacy and philanthropy.”
  • Meetings with the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA) are ongoing in an attempt to inventory shared data amongst colleges, departments, and the UICA. An additional potential outcome of these discussions is an agreed upon CRM to move forward with at the campus level.
  • Collected all current data sharing agreements that departments in the DSL have with the UICA. 

Fall 2021

  • Created and currently implementing a donor acknowledgement “system” to be utilized by DSL directors/leaders to thank donors making gifts to DSL-related UICA funds.
  • Reimagined the former “CSIL Collaborations Fund” to the “DSL Priorities Fund” and have secured approximately $55K from Undergraduate Student Government for the second consecutive year to support DSL priorities.
  • Secured $20K annually for five years from Follett Higher Education Group to support UI Dance Marathon (not part of the Operating Agreement).
  • Increased the utilization of “ThankView” videos to both thank donors and encourage donor engagement.
  • Worked with Undergraduate Student Government leadership to secure funding from the USG contingency account for DSL-related programs, services, and activities.
  • Increased support for DSL departments and units from the Student Activity Fee regular, annual SAF allocations process.
  • Secured $50K annually from Follett Higher Education Group to support DSL priorities, at the discretion of the Vice President.
  • Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement (LSCE) worked with the Pomerantz Career Center to transition the Introduction to Leadership academic courses to the PCC. This transition allows LSCE to focus their time and talents on signature, high-impact experiential learning opportunities, such as Hawkeye Service Breaks, building more robust civic engagement opportunities, Mindful and Engaged Hawkeyes, and ensuring that student organization leaders are equipped with skills to lead now and in the future.
  • The University of Iowa began a new partnership with CommUnity Crisis Services in Iowa City to provide around-the-clock mental health crisis and support assistance via phone, chat, and text for all students, in addition to in-person response and transport to care facilities as needed and appropriate for the situation.

Metrics

  • Philanthropic giving
  • Alumni engagement
  • Number of strategic partnerships
  • Grant writing development and training