After a year of evaluating and reinventing itself in response to President Gitenstein’s challenge to “articulate a new student development model” and “foster a campus culture that values student life professionals as essential partners in the learning process,” student life, now the Division of Student Affairs, has redefined its mission and restructured its delegation. The reorganization provides a more definitive role for student affairs administrators in an effort to enrich the students ’ living experiences at the College.
James Norfleet, vice president for student affairs, spearheaded the transformation process, working toward renewing the division ’s mission to “support efforts to promote student engagement, learning, and success.” The reorganization will better allow Student Affairs “to enrich the College experience and foster the development of students as whole persons” and develop globally conscious citizens with character and a “commitment to act and lead with integrity.”
“We have heard consistently from students that, prior to the realignment, they did not feel there was a clear pathway to having their issues and concerns addressed, ” explained Magda Manetas, assistant vice president of student services. “The creation of the dean of students position and office addresses this concern and will provide students with that pathway. In addition, we believe that students will benefit significantly from the synergies made possible by our new connection to the Offices of Career Services and Academic Support Programs, which, in turn, will drive a more complete and holistic approach to their educational experience. ”
The transformation entails a three-step process of reorganization, realignment, and renewal that will take place over the next several years. The first order of business is reorganizing offices, programs, services, and functions within the division that can greater benefit students from closer alignment with each other. Several areas were also renamed to better reflect their roles at TCNJ: residential and community development is now the Office of Residential Education and Housing, and campus activities is now the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development.
The Department of Athletics and Office of Auxiliary Services will continue to report directly to the vice president, whose office will focus on policy, planning, budgeting, crisis response, and general administration of the student affairs enterprise. All of the other units, programs, and services have been grouped into two clusters: the dean of students cluster and the student services cluster.
The dean of students position is a new one at the College, and a national search is underway to fill this key post. Once the office is staffed and fully operational, it will serve as an initial point of contact for students and will work to advance student learning and development.
The assistant vice president for student services cluster will pilot the needs of specific student populations, improving student learning and success and promoting the health and well-being of all students.