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The Plan for Student Life and 360° Learning at Colby College
In the summer of 2006, President William Adams directed newly appointed Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students James Terhune to lead a strategic planning process for the Division of Student Affairs at Colby. Given the change in leadership in student affairs, the implementation of the College’s strategic plan beginning in 2002, and the concurrent efforts to prepare for Colby’s decennial reaccreditation in the fall of 2007, the timing was ideal to think intentionally about the future direction of student life at Colby.
The planning process consisted of two distinct but interconnected parts: 1) review of existing programs and services; and 2) development of a strategic approach for moving forward. The review of student affairs at Colby examined all aspects of the program including its philosophical underpinnings, organizational structure, staffing and financial resources, programmatic elements, relationship to other areas of the College (e.g,. academic affairs, college relations, etc.) and the breadth and quality of student services. In addition to close examination of documentary information regarding student affairs (including but not limited to freshman and senior surveys, diversity reports, ALANA student retention and academic success reports, athletics surveys and other data compiled by the Office of Institutional Research, the 2003 Overseers Report on the Office of the Dean of Students, First-Year Orientation/COOT evaluation data, and the reports of the reaccreditation subcommittees on transition to and transition from Colby), the review also included extensive staff development work with consultant Dianne Dunton, examination of student affairs programs at other NESCAC colleges, and formal and informal conversations with students and student groups throughout the 2006-07 academic year.
The strategic approach set forth in this document is grounded in the mission and precepts of the College and grows out of the 2002 Strategic Plan for Colby. The planning process began with the adoption of a mission statement for student affairs that establishes a pedagogical approach to student life and directly links residential life (broadly defined) to academic life.
The Student Affairs mission statement became the foundation for the rest of the planning process. The scope of the plan includes educational objectives for student affairs, reconfiguration of the organizational structure of the Student Affairs Division, and management objectives for both staffing and financial resources. The document that follows articulates the vision and direction for student affairs at Colby College.