The 2015-2020 Student Life Five Year Plan addresses those elements of The Elon Commitment most closely associate with Student Life that are yet to be fully realized. The successful completion of each of these plans by 2020 will position the Division of Student Life to be ready to inform and be informed by the University’s next strategic planning process.

Mission Statement of the Division of Student Life

The Division of Student Life provides premier student centered services, programs, and experiences that assist students to:

  • Integrate their in-and-out of class learning,
  • Develop holistically, and
  • Be engaged and honorable members of their communities.

The Division of Student Life is highly distinctive in its delivery of services, programs, and experiences for students. The division is committed to student engagement. Students are actively involved in student life programs and experiences – often being the ones to initiate, plan, and implement them – and are given significant ownership of the programs and experiences. The division has a longstanding and valued partnership with academic affairs, one that colleagues at other universities envy. Together, programs and experiences are designed to purposefully integrate curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular experiences and overlap social and intellectual activities in an intentional manner. Finally, student life staff members are committed to fostering a positive campus climate and community, and essential supports for students, faculty, and staff to learn, develop, and thrive.

These three guiding pillars – engaging students, partnering with academic affairs, and fostering a positive campus climate and community – provide the framework for the division of student life to achieve its mission.

Themes of the 2015-2020 Student Life Five Year Plan

This strategic plan is organized around six overarching themes which define highlighted areas that the division will focus on to deepen and improve what has already been put in place. These themes and action strategies were designed to span a wide range of programs within the division beyond individual departments or initiatives.

In the following pages, under each theme are specific action strategies, including responsible departments and completion dates, to achieve the themes. It is through these specific action strategies that the themes will be realized. Working towards keeping each theme a focus and helping to push the action strategies to completion is a pair of champions for each theme. These champions will help coordinate the departments that must collaborate to complete each action strategy.

The six themes are:

  • Commitment to Student Success: Mentor students to understand and navigate their transitions into, within, and beyond the university. Champions: Katie Burr and Joel Harder
  • Residential Campus Initiative: Provide a seamless academic-social campus experience. Champions: Jon Dooley and Rex Waters • Inclusive Environment: Foster a campus community where all members experience and exercise inclusion and develop intercultural competence across all identities. Champions: Randy Williams and Jan Fuller
  • Holistic Well-being: Enhance and support the physical, mental, spiritual, and interpersonal health and well-being of students. Champions: Jana Lynn Patterson and Debbie Norris
  • Positive Social Change: Develop students to demonstrate socially responsible leadership and civic engagement. Champions: Jodean Schmiederer and Mary Morrison
  • World-class Student Life Division: Cultivate a division culture that supports and equips all staff to perform at the highest level, collaborate across the university, and contribute to the student affairs profession. Champions: Janis Baughman and Steve Mencarini

This strategic plan outlines the areas of focus the Division of Student Life at Elon University will highlight through 2020 as it works to advance the student experience for all students at Elon University.

Strategic Plan Process

The 2015-2020 Student Life Five Year Plan was developed with input and involvement from everyone in the Division of Student Life. All members of the division participated in revising the division mission statement, defining key strategic themes for the future, and formulating action strategies to implement the plan. Student Life also drew on the expertise of many partners from around Elon University and colleagues at institutions across the nation. All staff had input in identifying peer divisions of student affairs at other universities, a process that resulted in Elon studying peer divisions at ten universities. Twenty-one staff members from various departments in student life visited these peer divisions and reported to the full division at Elon. A strategic planning task force, chaired by Evan Heiser, the Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, guided the entire strategic planning process over a period of a year and a half. After the themes to the plan were defined, theme champions worked with staff to collect and refine the action strategies, indicate leadership, and establish deadlines for achieving each action strategy. All staff in the division had input at each stage in the development of the plan. The resulting plan is what follows.

Strategic Plan Task Force Members

  • MarQuita Barker, Associate Director of Residence Life for Operations and Information Management
  • Bob Frigo, Associate Director, Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement
  • Evan Heiser, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Smith Jackson, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Amy Sanderson, Program Assistant – Station at Mill Point
  • Jodean Schmiederer, Associate Dean of Students for Leadership and Honor Code
  • Randy Williams, Presidential Fellow and Special Assistant to the President, Dean of Multicultural Affairs