The three-year Strategic Plan released by the Division of Student Affairs is certainly not lacking in ambition. The plan, which is much more detailed than its 2014 predecessor, is filled with strategies toward three main outcomes: Unity, Wellness and Preparedness.
It sets out to accomplish these goals with a total of 112 of those strategies.
Taking on such a bold task is commendable, but the Editorial Board is concerned that the sheer complexity of the plan will make it difficult to implement all of these strategies in a way that will actually make a difference on campus.
Successfully accomplishing all of these goals will require a coordinated effort not only from the upper levels of the Division of Student Affairs, but also between its lower levels, other organizations on campus and the student body in general.
We are happy to see that all three outcomes have a notable focus on multiculturality, including strategies to create a wellness program in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), improve and enlarge the Multicultural Center and establish a Multicultural Leadership Retreat.
However, while the plan does mention coordination with the OMA in order to carry out these strategies, we are concerned that it does not include any information about collaborating with the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC) or Undergraduate Student Government (USG).
In order to accurately represent the voices of multicultural students on campus, the UDC and the USG, which both represent all students on campus, should be involved in all of these plans. The UDC and USG are mentioned in the acknowledgments as providers of feedback for the development of the plan and discusses working with the offices that advise these groups. However, the Strategic Plan doesn’t include any actions that will involve working directly with the UDC and USG.
Without actively involving the UDC and USG in its design, the Division of Student Affairs might not be able to accomplish its goals to their fullest extent. We believe that a stronger feeling of unity among members of the Case Western Reserve University community requires active participation with the community itself.
The Wellness Outcome in particular also concerns us because it shows a lack of communication with the student body. We are glad to see that the Wellness Outcome addresses student safety and security.
However, we would like to see better safety-related communication between the university and the community, and this is not brought up at all in the plan. We know that security is not the responsibility of the Division of Student Affairs, but since it is addressed in the Strategic Plan, we hope they will go beyond and work with the Division of Public Safety. In turn, the Division of Public Safety should do its part to collaborate with the Division of Student Affairs.
Communication isn’t the only safety issue that the plan does not discuss. We desire improvements to the SafeRide and shuttle systems, as well as better lighting on campus. While these areas do not fall under the Division of Student Affairs, they are still important issues that affect students, as well as faculty and staff, at CWRU. Again, to fix these problems, the Division of Student Affairs should work together with other parts of the administration.
The Strategic Plan’s outcomes are admirable, and overall will move CWRU in a positive direction. However, accomplishing everything it sets out to do is beyond the scope of the Division of Student Affairs. If we truly want to achieve what the plan desires, the whole community must work together.