During the past several years, the Division of Student Affairs at Case Western Reserve University has developed multiple assessment strategies and produced annual reports to track the overall progress of the university. In November, Student Affairs announced the completion of the 2014-2017 Midway Progress Report, which is a document implemented in Fall 2014 that outlines goals and outcomes achieved by the university. Not only does it mention some of the student-led successes accomplished this year, but it also summarizes the critical changes required for future success. This report aims to aid students in getting an idea of how DSA supports students on campus.
When asked about the foundations of this progress report, Associated Vice President for Operations and Planning Dennis Rupert said, “It tells the story of divisional accomplishments, initiatives underway and how we are moving forward into the future, all of which enhance student experience.”
As Rupert explained, the newly released report places an emphasis on student experience, both inside and outside of the classroom. With an additional focus on relaying the work being done between students, faculty and staff, the report serves as a tool of encouragement for more interactions between faculty and students. When asked about the importance of this focus in the report, Rupert mentioned, “It helps the community at Case Western Reserve University give direction to future endeavors.”
Because the Midway Progress Report places an emphasis on the multiple aspects aforementioned, its comprehensiveness sometimes poses a challenge in the drafting process.
“The initial feedback we received from the departments was an extensive document that needed to be boiled down into its most salient points,” Rupert said. “The other challenge, as with all strategic plans, was to continue to follow, assess and communicate our commitment and progress.”
The strategic plan was further adjusted based on feedback from students, faculty and staff. In fact, an external review team visited CWRU in late 2013 and engaged with students, faculty, staff and administration, and advised Student Affairs on how to draft the report. Rupert commented that “many of [the review team’s] recommendations laid a strong foundation for our plan.” By collecting suggestions from all kinds of individuals and groups both on and off campus, Student Affairs aims to produce a report that consists of feedback from different perspectives.
Recently, Student Affairs informed the community of discussion groups open to all students. The function of these discussion groups was to gain student insight into the progress of the university, including academic-related issues as well as issues pertaining to diversity on campus. With between eight to 10 students participating in each of the three discussion sessions, Student Affairs gained a clearer vision heading into the next phase of the strategic plan.
Additional explanation of the strategic plan is available on Student Affairs’ website, and student feedback is welcome.