Housing and Residence Life External Review
Shortly after joining SLU as the Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Sarah Cunningham launched an external review of the Department of Housing and Residence Life (HRL). In her announcement about the review, she shared that this is an opportunity "to build on the tremendous foundation of dedication on how mission and education fuel our housing enterprise."
The external review was led by Deb Schmidt-Rogers, then-Assistant Vice President and Director of Residence Life at Loyola University in Chicago, and Olan Garrett, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Temple University, and included a mixture of in-person and virtual meetings with focus groups and one-on-one meetings. These meetings were both internal to HRL and with campus partners in other key places such as Enrollment and Retention Management, Athletics, Facilities, our campus dining partners with Sodexo and more.
The review team hosted multiple opportunities for student engagement as well, both for student leaders and for HRL student staff.
Their time on campus was interrupted by the loss of one of our students. Much of the time they spent with us was complicated by the ongoing challenges we experienced individually and collectively as we grieved. The virtual follow-up conversations and time spent with the team was instrumental in making this review possible.
In sharing the following executive summary of the report with the HRL team, Dr. Cunningham shared, "I am extremely invested in the success of Housing and Residence Life and am committed to helping the team thrive in our shared values of serving our students. Student Development collectively is committed to the recruitment and retention of talented team members, and we are prepared to take the necessary steps in order to support many of the recommendations described in the review."
Key Details from the Recommendations
- Facilitated retreat to understand organizational culture and climate and to develop a plan of action to address what's learned
- Written expectations for collaboration among leadership team members
- Clear priorities that are shared across the department
- Explore a new housing management software system
- Develop a comprehensive calendar of all operations, including dates for marketing and communication needs
- Hire a marketing and communication professional
- Hire a leader who can focus on department assessment and strategic direction
- Review student care protocols to understand role clarification
- Identify overlap and opportunities to contribute to the University CORE
- Increase communication between HRL and Enrollment and Retention Management
- Benchmark salary information compared to regional and Jesuit universities
The VP for Student Development and Director of HRL will co-host discussions with HRL leadership and staff, and will partner to develop an implementation plan for many of the recommendations.
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