Standard 9 - Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

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Standard 9 - Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Standard 9: Student Support ServicesThe institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable eachstudent to achieve the institution’s goals for students.A Unified and Comprehensive Approach to Civic Engagement and Personal ResponsibilityIn the 2002 decennial Middle States and 2007 PRR evaluations, Stockton was commended bythe Commission for its commitment to civic engagement and community service. Encouragedby this commendation, the College has worked consistently towards systematizing, assessing andimproving its engagement with the community. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancementof Teaching recently awarded Stockton with Elective Classification for Community Engagementafter reviewing its extensive self study of these ongoing efforts, aligned with its 2020 strategictheme of Engagement (9.1.1). To earn this recognition, institutions must provide evidence of astrong commitment to community engagement from all levels. Specifically, the Self Studyreports cited internships, service learning, noncredit continuing education and training,volunteerism and academic programs. These efforts are positive, and are now being formallysystematized under the collaborative leadership of a Director of Community Partnerships whoconvenes a monthly practice group throughout the College (9.1.2).Current Academic Affairs civic engagement projects include the nationally recognized PoliticalEngagement Project (9.1.3) and the American Democracy Project (9.1.3), both of which arelinked to the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (9.1.3) through their communityservices. Other campus activities relate to Constitution Day and Voter Registration Events.Service-Learning (9.1.3) activities, which also fall under the purview of Academic Affairs, offersupport for instructional field applications in real world settings. Additionally, the entire Collegeparticipates in Day of Service (9.1.3) activities twice annually, with more than 400 participants.For students who are interested in athletics, the College offers a broad array of intercollegiate andintramural activities. Stockton’s intercollegiate sports display strong gender equity, with slightly highernumbers of women athletes than men competing each year. Of all the schools in the New Jersey AthleticConference (NJAC), Stockton produces proportionally more opportunities for women in intercollegiateplay (9.3.3). To honor its athletes, Stockton initiated a Hall of Fame, inducting nine athletes in 2010, itsinaugural year, and five in 2011 (9.3.3).Faculty and staff from both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs collaborate on all of theseinitiatives every month during the semester, and at least once per summer to finalize plans for theensuing academic year (9.1.3). One example of extensive and effective collaboration is theSOAR orientation for freshman (9.1.4), as discussed above, at which faculty and staff take selfselectedfreshmen to a local camp for a two-day intensive program of fellowship-buildingactivities to introduce them to campus life.Similarly, civic engagement and personal responsibility are stressed in Living LearningCommunities (9.1.4) in Global Citizenship, Diversity, Sustainability, Positive Living andCreative Arts. A new Living Learning Community titled Community Engagement is launching40


in Fall 2011. Also in Fall 2011 is a pilot Living Learning Community for first-year students.Prior to this, the Living Learning Communities were directed to upperclass students.Numerous clubs and organizations (9.1.4), such as Water Watch (9.1.4) and S.A.V.E. (9.1.4)target these objectives, as do the Greek Organizations (9.1.4) in the performance of their frequentand myriad community service projects. As in the Academic initiatives, these Student Affairsinitiatives involve effective collaborations between faculty and staff from both Divisions of theCollege (9.1.4).Both Academic Affairs and Student Affairs personnel collaborate on improving community lifewithin and surrounding Stockton. Some examples include SCOSA (9.1.5), CommunityMediation Service (9.1.5), and the Stockton Center for Community Schools (9.1.5). Stockton iscurrently designing mechanisms for further refining its success in strengthening formalized andcoordinated procedures between the Divisions of Academic and Student Affairs to effectivelyand efficiently create and develop projects of civic engagement and personal responsibility.On and off-campus, students attend many events that earn Undergraduate Learning, Training andAwareness (9.1.4) credit (ULTRA), which provides a unique system to document students’ cocurricularinvolvement at Stockton by providing a transcript outlining their broader involvementin civically-related campus activities (9.1.4).One of the College’s more recent initiatives is Green Dot (9.1.6), a Violence Prevention Strategythat focuses on the individual choices, behaviors and attitudes that help create a campus culturethat does not tolerate violence. Green Dot teaches students how they can be proactive duringtwo-part training sessions and raises awareness about the issues of power-based interpersonalviolence. The Green Dot Initiative began in Spring 2011 and will continue through FY 2012 andbeyond. Activities include workshops, student organizations, interactive on campus map andmore. After several years, the College will assess the effectiveness of this initiative.Communication and Co-Curricular LifeStockton’s Residence Life, Student Development, Athletics and Event Services departments usemultiple methods of communication with students, each with varying degrees of effectiveness inisolation, but the combination of which succeeds in keeping students aware of the services theCollege has to offer them. Most campus activities are advertised through multiple venues.Student Communication VenuesEmail Web Based On CampusStar-Rez (comprehensive R25 (comprehensiveCampus TVhousing assignmentmanagement software)scheduling software thatmanages and disseminatesevent-related details throughreports and the Webcalendar interface)Email Office Web Pages LED Signs (VKF Drive)41


Annual Program CalendarWeb PortalFacebookMy SpaceTwitterFlyersPostersCampus Mail BoxesArgoWLFR RadioEvidence from NSSE trends (9.2.1) over the last ten years has shown increasing studentparticipation in co-curricular activities. Students are getting the support they need to thrivesocially. Direct evidence of student satisfaction with co-curricular activities can be found in theEducational Benchmarking Inventory (9.2.2), which is administered to a sample of residentialstudents annually to measure the effectiveness of, and satisfaction with, the housing program.The outcomes are used to inform, drive and sustain Residential Life’s improvement program. Forexample, students indicated they wanted to improve peer relationships and have more floorinvolvement, so they purchased televisions for the lounges. Results are reviewed annually as partof the Annual Report Process, and have demonstrated that students are satisfied with cocurricularresidential life programs and activities.Services for Special PopulationsSupport services for students from special populations are generally effective. As notedpreviously, retention rates for EOF students are consistently higher than those of the generalpopulation (8.2.3).Informed by literature that suggests that strong relationships enhance retention, another recentcollaboration paired the Academic Tutoring Center and Residential Life in offering eveningtutoring in the residential hall meeting rooms. This program was a direct result of informationgleaned from the Educational Benchmarking Instrument (9.2.2), in which 29% of studentsrequested faculty involvement and tutoring sessions. Additionally, there are other individualgoals set by the divisions; for example in the Division of Student Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009 (8.4.6 p. 6), the second divisional goal was to “Effectuate the transition to living/learningcommunities to further expand collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs in aCollege-wide effort to improve retention and engagement of students” (see also Division ofStudent Affairs Annual Report 2009-2010, 8.4.6). The Living Learning Communities (9.1.4)project has been successful based on the results of student focus groups (9.3.1).The Academic Tutoring Center (9.3.7) offers assistance to any student who requests it. TheCenter is comprised of two halves, the Math Center and the Writing Center. It serves as anextension of the classroom experience, supporting the efforts of Stockton's faculty to helpstudents achieve success in their courses. The Math Center provides peer tutoring to all studentsat Stockton enrolled in all mathematics and science courses, as well as business, economics andcomputer sciences. The Writing Center assists students in all phases of the writing process, frompre-writing and developing a thesis to organizing and editing. Writing Center tutors receivetraining as Library Mentors to help students become better researchers and research writers. BothCenters encourage students to come early and often. The Center holds a strong commitment to42


assisting students enrolled in Basic Studies and other first-year courses, while at the same timewelcoming students who are upperclass or transfer students. And as mentioned above, the Centerhas offered on-site evening hours Sundays through Thursdays in a residential area of the campussince 2009.Another innovation that started several years ago is the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT).BIT is coordinated by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and includesadministrators from the Offices of the Dean of Students, Campus Police, Counseling Center,Athletics, Residential Life and the Provost. Weekly meetings address behavioral issues such asaberrant classroom behaviors, high risk behaviors in Residence Life and off-campus encounterswith law enforcement, which could have ramifications beyond one area of the College. Forexample, a member of the Team might report that a student was identified by a faculty memberas having written a paper expressing suicidal thoughts; the Team will determine whether thiswarrants an outreach by the Counseling Center. With weekly discussions and confidentialreports, this group of concerned administrators works with appropriate staff and faculty toaddress any issues that involve questionable behavior.Services for the 344 students registered in the Learning Access Program (9.3.6) appear to be wellreceived, with 87% reporting satisfaction with services on the annual Student Satisfaction Survey(9.3.6). The Learning Access Program assists students with physical, psychological or learningdisabilities, and its services include the coordination of services, individual services with aLearning Disabilities teacher/consultant, educational counseling, and assistance with housing andauxiliary aids.Student affairs and academic affairs jointly advise a club called The Pride Alliance (9.4.9),which addresses the needs of GLBT students. This group proposed a program for gender neutralhousing, which is being piloted in the Fall of 2011. The group has made other suggestions forcampus accommodations for gender neutral restrooms in the newly remodeled, decanted spaces.Other collaborations between Academic and Student Affairs involve pairing student clubs withacademic programs, such as the Speech and Hearing Club, as well as clubs in Psychology,Criminal Justice, Social Work, Economics, Political Science and Hospitality. These clubsprovide increased opportunities for students to form bonds with other students and for facultystudentinteraction. Additionally, some programs promote student-faculty connection throughpicnics, meet-and-greets and other social events.The College is designing programs aimed at commuter students; so far, there are numerousactivities targeted toward these groups that attempt to increase student involvement. Forexample, the Campus Center has a commuter student lounge and lockers.Organizational Administration in the Division of Student AffairsThe transition in the vice presidency has been seamless, due, in part, to the fact that the new VicePresident is a 26-year veteran employee of Stockton. While the overall philosophy of theDivision of Student Affairs providing support services has not changed, the approach todelivering the services has. Under current leadership, the emphasis for student services is on43


meaningful learning experiences and human interactions. The combination of these two areas ofemphases has brought Student Affairs to a new level of practice in continuous assessment andplanning efforts (9.4.1). Combining technological infrastructure to information-gatheringcapacity enabled the new Vice President to focus on implementing results into action plans forongoing effectiveness.In order to promote the global awareness of students, the Division of Student Affairs workscollaboratively. Services are designed to work interdependently to engage the broader sense ofeach student as student, athlete, scholar and community member.Centralized Services and the Campus CenterAlthough the concept of a “One Stop Shop” originated after both the 2002 Visiting Team Reportand the 2007 PRR, the consolidation of student services into such a core focal point on thecampus landscape far transcends even those suggestions. Rather than focus only and narrowly oncombining offices and services into an architecturally-designed “One Stop,” the College hassimultaneously created a virtual One Stop approach with the Banner upgrade and Self Serviceoptions for students (9.5.1). Having done so has reduced the need to have removed walls andrestructured service offices for the physical One Stop, enhancing both the quality of studentservices and the efficiency of staff support efforts.Once the significant improvement of Virtual One Stop was accomplished, the Campus Centermission became focused on the broader ways that the architecture could transform the quality ofinteractions between students, staff, faculty and community members. For example, interviewswith key administrative staff members revealed several factors that drove the decision of whatoffices would be part of the Campus Center. Respondents indicated that market studies, focusgroups, data from event services, senior administrative initiatives, requests from students and thedesire to accommodate students with a convenient centralized location in which to conduct theirbusiness, were critical inputs. Visits to other campus student center models also providedvaluable insight. The new Campus Center contains the Offices of Enrollment Management,Financial Aid, Bursar, Academic Advising, Career Center, Student Development, the Dean ofStudents Office and Event Services, as well as expanded student club/organization space,bookstore, theater and food service venues with offerings from national brands (9.5.1).To continue ensuring that the College planned effectively for this significant change, a transitionteam met from the summer of 2010 to help coordinate the move into the building, develop newoperational procedures and address potential issues arising from the new facility (9.5.2).Changes as demonstrated in the Campus Center include the “Information and Service Center,” aconsolidated visitor guest-services component on the main floor; the relocation of key studentservice offices to be geographically proximal, affording convenient student personal service; theexpectation of increased traffic; and some changes in staffing patterns. Some offices anticipate a“greener” work environment, due to the reduction in duplicative paperwork and the use of onlineresources for students and staff. This move also supports alignment to the Sustainability themeof the Stockton 2020 Strategic Plan.44

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