Mission and Purpose

Student Affairs Mission Statement

The Colby College Division of Student Affairs exists to support and enhance the College’s mission to provide students with a broad acquaintance with human knowledge designed to enable each student to find and fulfill his or her own unique potential. The student affairs staff provides instruction, advice, and support to help students become critical thinkers, effective communicators, ethical leaders, engaged citizens, and creators of knowledge with broad exposure to, and understanding of human difference and diversity.

Student life at Colby is centered on the notion that learning extends beyond the classroom into all aspects of the college experience.  The departments and programs that make up the Division of Student Affairs serve a wide array of functions including but not limited to advising, health and wellness, multicultural/diversity education, residential life, housing, religious/spiritual life, outdoor education, and leadership development.  As such, the work of the division straddles two essential though sometimes competing purposes: out-of-class learning and student support services.

First and foremost, the Division of Student Affairs strives to provide opportunities for students to learn and practice important life skills such as self-governance, independence, personal accountability, civic responsibility, and respect for themselves and others.  Additionally, however, student affairs manages a number of key administrative functions and services for students including residential facilities, student housing procedures, health and counseling services, and oversight of budgetary support for student social programs and organizations.  The educational approach to student life requires staff to serve as teachers, coaches, and mentors in holding students accountable for decision making and problem solving with respect to the central issues in student life (residential hall governance, student social life, etc.).  By contrast, many of the services overseen by student affairs have consumer expectations associated with them – a fact made more acute by the high price of attending Colby.  As such, one of the central challenges in establishing a strategic approach for student affairs is balancing the need to provide excellent support services with an educational approach to student life.

Colby 360: The Plan for Student Life and 360° Learning at Colby takes a two-tiered approach to student affairs.  The first and preeminent element of the plan outlines a model for residential/co-curricular education focused on promoting specific learning outcomes.  The second tier of the plan describes organizational and management strategies designed to ensure excellent, efficient, and sustainable oversight of the key administrative functions of the division that are consistent with the educational mission of the division and the College.