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2013-2018 Strategic Plan

Student Success Matters

One primary student development theory is limiting for a division with such diverse departmental missions. The division of Student Life affirms the importance of theory-based practice, and expects each department to articulate and publicize the theory or theories that guide our work. However, the guiding elements of the Trinity Tomorrow plan, and the Student Affairs strategic agenda, call on many facets of wellness as essential elements of student success. Where possible, the division will draw upon wellness as an over-arching philosophy the division embraces.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment
The Council for the Advancement of Standards publishes learning outcomes that the division will use as guides to identify learning and developmental outcomes for divisional and departmental services and programs. There are six outcome domains, each with more specific dimensions. Departmental self-studies will be conducted over the next five years.

Strategic Agenda

The next divisional strategic plan will more accurately be characterized as a strategic agenda, which will include the following:

  1. Departmental and functional self-studies will be conducted using CAS guides
  2. Use of CAS learning outcomes in evaluation of services and programs
  3. Implementation of elements of the Trinity Tomorrow plan as engaged partners
  4. Examination of current programs in context of Trinity Tomorrow plan
  5. Development of a Wellness plan and QEP proposal

Strategic Approaches

  1. In order to be effective in implementing the institutional strategic plan, the Student Affairs staff must be involved. That is, we will seek participation in the campus process, work collaboratively through planning, invest ourselves in implementation, and review our work through assessment.
  2. Student involvement and participation is critical in achieving goals and self-studies and at every opportunity student voices will be included.

Departmental Strategic Goals

1.  Action Step 1a: Create a Center for Engaged and Experiential Learning.
The Center for Engaged and Experiential Learning (CEEL) will facilitate faculty and staff partnerships and undergraduate experiential education in all its forms.  It will serve as a liaison with various campus offices including Campus & Community Involvement, Academic Affairs,Career Services, Alumni Relations, Risk Management, Study Abroad, the Center for International Citizenship, and community partners.


  • Achieve community service Carnegie classification and acquire two AmeriCorps VISTAS. (CCI)
  • Define the role for service learning, volunteerism, and internships as components of experiential learning. (CCI/CAR)
  • Connect career components to other student experiences and trips. (CAR
  • Develop a corporate advisory group, sponsor trips and network receptions, including alumni. (CAR)
  • Apply centralization guidelines to internships across the University. (CAR)

2.  Action Step 1c: Strengthen experiential learning opportunities for all students.
Trinity will become a place where all students will have numerous opportunities to learn about themselves and other industries from powerful experiences such as internships, client projects, off-site travel, independent research, artistic and cultural programming, and volunteerism.


  • Refine student volunteer organizations and programs in relation to service learning opportunities. (CCI)
  • Integrate internship coordination and employer relations into responsibilities of new staff. (CAR)
  • Develop additional residential living-learning communities using HOPE Hall as a model. (RLO)

 3.  Action Step 1f: Equip students to demonstrate their achievement in experiential learning. 
We will develop ways for students to demonstrate their accomplishments to employers and graduate programs through experiential transcripts, micro-credentials, e-portfolios, or other recognizable achievements.


  • Initiate conversations with campus colleagues about database management and how students log, track, and articulate experiential learning and leadership opportunities (consider inclusion of a reflection and recognition component). Implement transcript as needed. (CCI)
  • Develop career portfolios to help students coordinate how they self-brand/market (such as Creighton) or professionalism certificate program. (CAR)

  4.  Action Step 3c: Develop greater institutional coherence across international initiatives.
Trinity will strengthen the coordination of international


  • Examine existing international student data to determine how to better serve this student population during NSO and engage them in existing programs/services throughout the year. (CCI)
  • Develop resources to better support international students in the job search. (CAR)
  • In collaboration with Alumni Relations and International Student and Scholar Services, establish an international alumni group to gain insight on how to better guide students into becoming global professionals. (CAR)
  • Include International Programs staff in Student Affairs meetings. (DOS)
  • Consider appropriate use of residential space and communities for international students. (RLO)

 5.  Action Step 4a: Improve undergraduate academic advising and student support.
The VPFSA will lead an initiative to revamp the advising process to include conversations about students' current and future goals - academic, professional, and personal. While these conversations certainly occur in some advising interactions, they are not as universal as they should be. Effective advising enhances student learning.


  • Review role of Associate VP for Students as Associate VP for Student Success or Development. (DOS)
  • Consider four-year advising model and holistic advising syllabus. (DOS)
  • Include advisors on CARE Network software. (DOS)
  • Explore advising based on developmental/chronological needs. (DOS)
  • Examine how to prepare first-year and transfer students for the academic advising process (pre-New Student Orientation and forward-looking). (CCI)
  • Pursue support from NetVUE in the forms of:  1) a Network-sponsored consultation, and 2) a $50,000 programming grant in order to strengthen our mentoring of students. (CHAP)
  • Assist in creating a link between the advising process and the housing/residential life student staff positions and residential model. (RLO)

 6.  Action Step 4c: Improve the coordination of curricular and co-curricular activities.
- We will urge senior administrators to coordinate the campus events calendar and to develop mechanisms to assess the quality and impact of these events.
- We have asked staff from Academic and Student Affairs to consider developing an activity time block in the class schedule and a plan for integrating visiting lectures and performances into students' course work.


  • Convene a committee and develop procedures to coordinate the University calendar. (CCI/DOS)
  • Review and reduce programming by organizations. (CCI)
  • Review and reduce programming in residence halls. (RLO)

 7.  Action Step 4d WELLNESS: Expand existing and pilot new programs to improve student success, career exploration, and holistic wellness.
- It is incumbent upon us to foster a strong sense of wellness in every aspect of their lives - personal, professional, physical, financial, social, and spiritual.
- The Center will organize forms of academic support, such as peer tutoring and writing assistance, with resources for social support, such as workshops on time management, handling stress, and sustaining healthy interpersonal relationships. By proactively publicizing and coordinating these services, we hope to increase our students' likelihood for success in college and after graduation.
- Beneath the auspices of the Student Success Center, the VPFSA will oversee a variety of wellness activities and personal growth opportunities for all students at various milestones in their academic career.
- In the service of holistic student development, whenever possible, wellness programs should be devised and carried out by faculty and staff partnerships.


  • Create a peer-facilitated consultant role that serves to engage students in involvement opportunities across campus (to include peer advising and coaching) in collaboration with residential student staff. (CCI/RLO)
  • Propose a model for a Student Success Center, to include academic support services, wellness promotion, disability services, and counseling services. (CSG/ HS/DOS)
  • Explore a physical space for a Student Success Center in Counseling Services area. (CSG)
  • Propose and develop a Health/Wellness educator position. (CSG/HS/DOS)
  • Undertake bold initiatives: Alcohol/drug issues, sexual assault, etc. (DOS/CSG)
  • Continue involvement in Trinity Food Project. (DOS)
  • Explore and implement on-line health and wellness courses. (DOS)
  • Propose that Trinity becomes a tobacco-free campus. (HS)

 8.  Action Step 4d REFLECTION: Expand existing and pilot new programs to improve student success, career exploration, and holistic wellness. 
First-year students will be encouraged to think broadly about their goals through "reflection seminars," modeled on similar programs offered at Stanford and Harvard.


  • Assess the application of leadership skills in leadership programs. (CCI)
  • Pilot the use of StrengthQuest as a tool to improve student self-awareness and understanding of personal strengths and implement in Sophomore College. (CAR/RLO)
  • Coordinate the use of University values in reflection exercises for all engagement. (DOS)
  • Utilize Class Marshal and Alumni Sponsor in promoting reflection on a macro level. (DOS)
  • Residential Life and CCI staff will play a prominent role in developing and implementing a reflection program through structuring of student staff and volunteer positions. (RLO)

9.  Action Step 4e: Sustain opportunities for students to explore their spiritual beliefs and practices.
In its commitment to excellence, Trinity University is not only concerned with intellectual development, but also with moral and spiritual growth. The integration of body, mind, and spirit to achieve a wholeness in human life is fundamental to the well-being of the individual and to the very nature of the University itself. Recognizing these truths, the University strives to create an atmosphere in which basic civility and decency are expected, mutual respect and open communication are fostered, and spiritual growth is encouraged. 


  • Examine ways in which current (or future) leadership programs provide opportunities for spiritual growth. (CCI)
  • Utilize Erlandson Fellows to interview students in order to facilitate reflection on the connections between service and faith. (CHAP)
  • Establish a mid-week worshipping community. (CHAP)
  • Implement a holistic vocational exploration retreat for 20-30 sophomores (pilot program in January 2014). (CHAP)

10.  Action Step B5: Enhance program assessment for all University divisions and academic and co-curricular programs.
Periodic program reviews are a helpful mechanism to ensure the health of all academic and co-curricular programs. Such reviews require programs to define their goals and provide evidence of their success.  The involvement of an independent reviewer, whether from outside or inside the University, will provide a broader context for the self-review as well as support for resources needed by a disciplinary or interdisciplinary program.


  • Adoption of CAS departmental and program assessment. (SA)
  • Incorporate CAS learning and development outcomes in all services and programs. (SA)

11.  Action Step C1: Strengthen the connection between Trinity alumni and the University.


  • Continue local alumni annual involvement survey. (DOS)
  • Develop stronger infrastructure with Alumni Services to identify future partners for career programming. (CAR)

12.  Action Step D2: Develop a Facilities Master Plan.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will develop this plan in consultation with Facilities Services, Financial Services, Academic Affairs, Conference Services, and Residential Life.


  • Implement a small renovation to Coates Center. (DOS/CCI)
  • Explore student organization space, staff space, and other options in the Coates Student Center following decisions related to possible relocation of other departments. (DOS/CCI)
  • Settle on physical locations for Career Services and Counseling Services. (DOS)
  • Explore development of a campus Wellness Center (DOS/CSG/HS)
  • Review residency requirement and upper-class housing renovations and addition of single rooms and apartments. (DOS/RLO)

13.  Action Step D6: Develop a new generation of faculty, staff, student, and alumni leaders.
Through the division of Student Affairs, we will enact similar programs to ensure that all Trinity students have opportunities to hone their leadership skills both inside and outside the classroom.


  • Coordinate interactions between fraternity/sorority students and alumni to increase opportunities for developing leadership skills outside the classroom. (CCI)
  • Explore ways for student leaders to showcase/teach/act as peer facilitators through existing or new programs. (CCI)
  • Explore University funding of Twilight at Trinity Senior Banquet. (RLO/DOS)