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Student Affairs Strategic Plan 2015-2018

Background and introduction

Under Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s leadership, UC San Diego introduced its first strategic plan to the campus and regional community in the spring of 2014. The vision that emerged is a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.

In the fall of 2014, Juan C. Gonzalez began his tenure as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. In addition to identifying student retention and success, safety and wellbeing, assessment and team work as key areas for the division to address, a focal point of his inaugural year was to update the Student Affairs Strategic Plan that  was launched in 2008.

This new Student Affairs Strategic Plan accounts for the campus strategic plan, addresses organizational and leadership changes that have transpired since 2010, and prepares the staff for new challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.

Strategic goal areas

  • Goal 1: Recruitment & Yield - Attract and enroll highly capable and diverse California, out-of-state and international students.
  • Goal 2: Retention - Increase the academic success, persistence and timely graduation of all students.
  • Goal 3: Learning - Provide learning experiences that develop the skills and character needed to lead, innovate and solve problems.
  • Goal 4: Community Building - Build a welcoming, engaging, safe and inclusive community to create a sense of belonging for all students.
  • Goal 5: Wellbeing - Deliver programs and services to facilitate a culture of health, safety and wellbeing of students.

Strategic plan process

Beginning in fall 2014, the Student Affairs Leadership Team engaged in a year-long process to update the division’s strategic plan. During the fall and winter quarters the vision, mission, and core values for the division were revised and vetted with staff in each unit of the division.

In March 2015 a SWOT analysis of strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats occurred with over 30 members from Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, the Undergraduate Colleges, and Alumni and Community Engagement. Strengths identified were the staff and the student-centered philosophy, followed by the collaborative nature of the division and a growing culture of assessment. The greatest opportunity identified within the division was the integration with Academic Affairs and the campus’ new mission of being a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university.

The SWOT analysis also identified critical areas to be examined including aging facilities and infrastructures, low staffing levels and compensation. Challenges to the division, perceived as opportunities, were identified as the changing needs of our students and external factors, such as state and national laws and policies.

Spring quarter was devoted to a review and reformatting of the division learning outcomes. This resulted in the identification of six learning domains units can use to anchor their student learning outcomes and design their programs and initiatives In addition, units and departments are developing unit-level assessment schedules with outcomes that align with the overall goals of the division strategic plan.

Finally, in the summer of 2015, the components of the strategic plan were finalized and presented to staff at the start of the 2015-16 academic term. The Student Affairs Strategic Plan will remain in place for a period of three years; it will be reviewed annually and updated as needed or as circumstances dictate.

Campus partners

Throughout the strategic planning process campus partners were consulted and invited to participate in updating the Student Affairs Strategic Plan. These campus partners included colleagues from Academic Affairs, the Undergraduate Colleges, Alumni and Community Engagement, and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.  

Student Affairs sees cross-divisional collaboration as essential in serving students and embraces its location under the umbrella of Academic Affairs, which aligns the division more closely to its counterparts in the classroom. Future updates to the Student Affairs Strategic Plan will continue to involve our campus partners. 

Definition of terms

In this strategic plan various terms are used to refer to processes or items in place in the Division of Student Affairs. The list of terms below explains the meaning specific to Student Affairs and the Student Affairs Strategic Plan.

Strategic Goal Areas: Strategic goal areas refer to broad and overall goals for the division.  Each unit within Student Affairs will develop more specific goals relative to the five goal areas outlined in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan.

Institutional Goals: Institutional goals refer to goals defined by senior campus leadership that cross divisional lines.  Most commonly these refer to the areas of undergraduate recruitment and student retention.

Outcomes Assessment: Outcomes assessment refers to the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs and services undertaken for the purpose of improvement (Palomba & Banta, 1999[1]).  It is an iterative and on-going process.

Evaluation: Evaluation refers to the systematic process of making value judgements based on criteria and evidence (Scriven, 1991[2]).

Learning Domains: Learning Domains refers to six learning areas UC San Diego Student Affairs programs and initiatives address. 

Student Persistence & Retention: Student persistence and retention refers to strategic efforts to retain students year to year that leads to a successful graduation. 

Recruitment & Yield: Recruitment has to do with the early recruitment of high achieving and diverse prospective students. Yield occurs after an admission offer has been made and is the collective effort to get highly sought-after students to accept that offer and enroll at UC San Diego. 

Wellbeing: Wellbeing refers to all the dimensions of personal wellness including, but not limited to, emotional and psychological, personal, financial and spiritual wellbeing. In addition, we consider wellbeing to include safety in its personal and psychological forms.  

Community: Community refers to a sense of personal belonging, mutual respect and awareness for one another, as well as upholding the UC San Diego Principles of Community.



[1] Palomba, C. A. & Banta, T.  (1999).  Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

[2] Scriven, M. (1991).  Evaluation thesaurus.  Newbury Park, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Assessment and program evaluation

We engage in outcomes assessment to improve student learning, programming, and service delivery. Evidence is used to identify areas of success as well as areas for improvement. It is an ongoing, systematic, and intentional process.

As a division, we created Student Affairs Learning Domains and units have created outcomes that align with the learning domains to ensure our efforts intentionally contribute to our mission, vision, and goal areas 3, 4, and 5.   

We engage in program evaluation to determine the impact our programming and services have on students’ long-term outcomes such as graduation and retention rates. Specifically, program evaluation is our mechanism to measure goal areas 1 and 2.

Accountability

The Student Affairs Strategic Plan covers a three-year period beginning in fall 2015 through spring 2018.

The Student Affairs Leadership Team will evaluate the plan annually and convene appropriate ad hoc workgroups to address any updates that are needed or as circumstances dictate.

Review the entire Student Affairs Strategic Plan (PDF) to read more about accountability methods and cross-collaboration with our campus partners.