Strategic Initiatives:15 Strategic Initiatives for Student Development
15 Strategic Initiatives: short and detailed descriptions
- Community partnerships: Organize, enhance and increase partnerships with community constituencies to benefit pre-college students.
- Marketing program enhancements: Enhance marketing and positioning efforts targeted toward external audiences. (p. 2)
- Recruitment outreach: Expand recruitment outreach and financial aid support to enroll a more engaged and diverse student body. (p. 2)
- Academic support: Establish and support an organizational unit to develop a single and seamless approach to academic support services. (p. 3)
- Quad enhancements: Create a welcoming, residential quad that promotes community activity and supports student living and learning. (p. 3)
- Living and learning: Create living and learning options for all sophomores, based on the model of the Ignatian Residential College. (p. 4)
- Faculty learning communities: Continue faculty learning communities in support of the core integration initiatives. (p. 4)
- Electronic portfolios: Develop and utilize electronic portfolios for all stages of development. (p. 5)
- Leadership development: Develop programs that enhance leadership skills through mentoring, volunteer work, study abroad, and more. (p. 5)
- Discernment activities: Establish affinity groups to support student discernment. (p. 6)
- Capstone development: Expand opportunities for senior capstone experiences linked to academic disciplines or to the liberal arts and broader Jesuit values. (p. 6)
- Graduate student services: Build graduate student community through reflective portfolios, gathering spaces, special events, governance, improved services. (p. 7)
- Graduate program expansion: Expand opportunities for graduate study to a diverse population through new programs and additional delivery options.(p.7)
- Arts and culture visibility: Maximize the impact of Fairfield's arts and culture programming. (p. 7)
- Alumni opportunities: Coordinate activities across the University to ensure that Fairfield's graduates stay connected. (p. 8)
Organize, enhance and increase partnerships with community entities (academic outreach, arts, community service, community relations, etc.) in line with marketing and communications plans that target the pre-college group and their influencers; track these relationships and activities to enhance the reputation and image of the institution and to better serve the region. This will provide an opportunity to leverage existing partnerships now managed in isolation within various offices across the campus. Opportunities for further development of new and existing partnerships may emerge through this process. Survey pre-college activities and determine the appropriate organizational structure for coordinating these efforts.
Enhance marketing and positioning efforts targeted toward external audiences, including prospective students, utilizing the efforts of key constituents (faculty, students, and alumni) to better tell the Fairfield story. Align institutional marketing, branding initiatives, and student recruitment with the strategic vision in order that both internal and external constituents understand the intentional experience that is a Fairfield education. To do so, we have organized the marketing activities of the University into a cohesive unit that will partner with admission and advancement on external messaging. Initiatives will include effective electronic and print communication plans, diversity recruitment initiatives, and admission yield strategies. We will also engage our internal community (faculty, staff, alumni and students) more deeply in sharing the Fairfield experience with others.
Continue to expand recruitment outreach and financial aid support to enroll more engaged students and fulfill our vision for greater campus diversity, including international students. Recruit and accept applicants who understand and desire the Fairfield experience envisioned by the strategic plan. Infuse new operating funds into the Undergraduate Admission budget for increased communication, expanded campus events and guidance counselor outreach. Increase financial aid beyond increases due to higher tuition and fees in order to meet a higher percentage of financial need.
Establish and support an organizational unit led by a Dean of Academic Support to develop a single and seamless approach to building a common sense of community for first-year students. Bring together various resources (e.g., Orientation, First-Year Experience, Dean of Freshmen, Integrated Core, Disability Support Services, etc.) and coordinate activities with other services (e.g., the Registrar, Financial Aid, Career Planning, etc.). Create parallel activities for part-time, non-traditional, and graduate students. Explore planning and funding for the second floor of the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J. Center as a central location for these services.
Create a welcoming, residential quad that promotes community activity and supports student living and learning. Implement the quad landscape plan. Create locations within the five quad buildings to support living and learning communities.
Create living and learning options for all sophomores. Following the lead of the Ignatian Residential College, develop a structure in which all sophomores participate in living and learning options. Currently, freshmen have living and learning options that include Women in Math and Science and Healthy Living (which also encompasses Substance Free Living). Sophomores, in addition to applying to the Ignatian Residential College, have the option to apply to the Diversity and Social Justice Community, a pilot program to determine the cost and structure for more scalable sophomore living and learning communities. Through a competitive process, juniors have been offered the opportunity to propose small communities with a focus on service. Successful applicants will have access to special living spaces (e.g., St. Robert's Hall, Southwell Hall, and the Pitt House/Townhouse 127). All living and learning communities will have programming that links to Fairfield's Jesuit mission and to the developmental model.
Capitalize on the success of the current faculty learning communities to create other learning community programming that supports the core integration initiatives. Faculty Learning Communities are cross-disciplinary groups of 6 to 8 faculty members from different departments, programs and schools, meeting to enhance integrative ways of thinking and learning at Fairfield. Each community organizes its discussions around a particular theme that helps participants find common ground. From these themes emerge individual projects that faculty members construct, execute, and assess. The program has as its ultimate goal the development of a community of practice around teaching and learning on Fairfield's campus that allows us to think about our work with students less as an individual task and more as a community endeavor.
Develop and utilize electronic portfolios for all stages of development, including documentation of and reflection on how civic engagement experiences are linked to a cohesive view of where students have been and where they are going. Design the portfolio to serve all students - traditional and non-traditional, part-time and full-time, undergraduate and graduate - and possibly alumni as well. Routine requirements for reflection can support vocational exploration and discernment. On a practical level, having the web-based portfolios provides limitless possibilities for sharing with fellow students, teachers, mentors, current and possible employers, and even parents. Adopt or develop an electronic portfolio product that has the functionality that we need as well as the flexibility to tailor the portfolios to fit the developmental approach in our strategic plan.
Develop programs that enhance leadership with a focus on the third year of college as a time of maximum engagement through leadership, volunteer work, study abroad, and more. Coordinate mentorship programs and create a matching system between mentors and programs needing mentors. Establish a program to recognize student leaders through enhanced financial aid and an awards ceremony.
Establish affinity groups to support student discernment. It is critical that our seniors integrate their values and experiences as they make choices for their future plans. We will look for additional or alternative integrative possibilities beyond the capstone (e.g., major clubs, senior retreats, independent seminars, peer mentoring and senior internships). Whichever means the student chooses, there will be a common thread of benchmarking, assessment and reflection applicable to each discernment process using the electronic portfolio and other means.
Expand opportunities for senior capstone experiences that are linked to the nature of the academic discipline or are connected to the liberal arts and broader Jesuit values. Within the major, through a senior project or some other affinity group, our seniors will engage in experiences that encourage discernment. The experience may be linked to the nature of the discipline, but has in common with other capstone projects a connection to the liberal arts and broader Jesuit values. We will begin by surveying departments and programs for their current capstone practices.
Build graduate student community through reflective portfolios, gathering spaces, special events, governance organizations, and improved parking and food services. In a University that is dominated by the undergraduate programs, enhancing services for graduate students is essential if we want to expand our graduate programs and graduate student population.
Expand opportunities for graduate study through new programs, additional delivery options, and five-year BS/MS degree programs while recruiting a diverse graduate student population. While Goal III is clearly about ensuring that our graduate programs reflect Fairfield's Jesuit character, we should not interpret the concept too narrowly. With our mission and identity as guide, we have room to increase our graduate activity. Through market research and appropriate resource planning, we will identify opportunities for graduate program expansion and new program development, including fifth-year masters degree programs, off-site partnerships, online programs, and low residency options.
Maximize the impact of Fairfield's arts and culture programming through collaborative assessment, more efficient leveraging of marketing, and visibility of resources. Through the work of the arts and culture committee, work to coordinate Fairfield's public program of lectures, forums, and arts events. These programs are key elements in our service to the greater community and essential tools for institutional visibility in the region. These activities also represent an opportunity to promote Fairfield's mission and identity.
Coordinate activities across the University to ensure that Fairfield's graduates stay connected through campus-based programs, off-campus programs and organizations, electronic portfolios, and online alumni communities. In order to enhance alumni engagement, explore how to promote and provide lifelong career and mentoring services. This includes an examination of how Fairfield can be their educational "home base" for the rest of their lives, and how we can continue to reinforce their personal and professional objectives within the context of a Jesuit education.