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Strategic Plan for Student Life & Event Services

Context For Planning


Office of Student Life Strategic Plan

INTRODUCTION: This plan for the Office of Student Life (OSL) is designed to support the overall Grand Valley State University 2016-21 plan to strengthen teaching, learning, scholarship and connection  and improve outcomes in educating students and contributing to society. The OSL Strategic Plan (2016-21) has been created through the use of several complementary, guiding documents, including the following: " OSL Self-Study, utilizing CAS Standards (2011) " Results of external evaluation and planning (2012) " Results of internal staff and student evaluation (2016) " GVSU Strategic Plan (2016-21) and Division of Student Services Strategic Plan (2016-21) OSL staff were asked to review previous planning documents and assess their progress in regards to previously identified priority areas, goals and objectives and to craft new objectives in light of that progress and / or newly identified priorities. The following strategic plan is the result. We will use this document to guide our work and the future assessment of that work.

SELF-STUDY Priorities:

The Office of Student Life conducted a Self Study in 2011 and additionally, consulted with an external evaluator to conduct an external review and planning process in 2012. As a part of the 2011 OSL Self Study, all full time OSL staff were asked to utilize CAS Standards most relevant to their units as benchmarks for success. Results from these two evaluation processes have been used to guide the work of the OSL and the collection of data to continuously assess our work. What follows are a summary of findings:


A.     SWOT Analysis: OSL staff and stakeholders in a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Themes that emerged are outlined below:


o   Dedicated, experienced and committed staff

o   Student focused culture

o   Staff teamwork

o   Culture of innovation



o   Communication in the OSL

o   Staff is overworked / understaffed

o   Physical space not adequate

o   Organizational structure, roles and responsibilities needs clarification

o   Lack of clarity on budget(s)



o   Collaborate with other departments

o   Invest in technology

o   Take advantage of new library opening

o   Address space needs

o   New areas of focus

o   New staff



o   Lack of funding / resources

o   Students being less interested in OSL programming

o   GVSU culture old boy network that bottlenecks growth

o   Other departments / colleges duplicating services

o   Staff turnover / burnout

o   Need to demonstrate OSLs importance to University


 B.     CAS Standards Recommendations: Themes that emerged from 2011 CAS Standards review involve mission, staffing, sustainability, technology, risk management, and inclusive practices. 

These themes are listed below and integrated throughout the 2016-21 OSL Strategic Plan.

 ·      Units mission statement, incorporates learning and development outcome domains.

·       Unit provides training and activities to encourage civic participation.

·       Unit ensures the office staffing, policies/procedures, programs, and facilities are designed to serve a diverse population.

·       Unit incorporates sustainability practices in the management and design of programs, services, and facilities.

·       Unit recognizes environmental conditions that may negatively influence the safety of staff and students and proposes interventions that mitigate such conditions.

·       Unit ensures there are adequate technical and support staff to accomplish the mission.

·       Unit ensures prevention efforts address identification of threatening conduct or behavior of students, faculty members, staff, and others.

·       Unit ensures personnel are trained in emergency procedures, crisis response, and prevention efforts.

·       Unit staff are informed about institutional policies regarding risk management, personal liability, and related insurance coverage options.

·       Services are available and accessible to distance learner students or arrangements have been made for students to have access to appropriate services in their geographical region.

·       The staff designs and implements strategies for involving and engaging diverse student populations.

·       Unit has in place systems of accountability and evaluation.

·       Unit utilizes technology that facilitates student learning and development and reflects current best pedagogical practices.

·       Unit facilities and equipment are evaluated regularly, including consideration of access and sustainability.

·       Unit staff members have access to private meeting space for counseling students.

·       Unit has systematic plans and processes to meet internal and external accountability expectations regarding the program as well as student learning and development outcomes.

·       Unit regularly evaluates how well it complements and enhances the institutions stated mission and educational effectiveness.


The GVSU Office of Student Life empowers students to effectively engage with their communities through intentionally designed and inclusive programs, services and environments. Student Life fosters learning, development, wellness, and success for students at Grand Valley State University.


The OSL strives to engage students in a variety of experiences that will offer opportunities for personal growth and development, balanced with academics. Through the many programs, services and leadership opportunities offered, students are provided with a collaborative environment to gain skills that will shape their lives, their professions and their societies.

Value Statement

Student Life fosters learning, development, wellness, and success for students at Grand Valley State University. We apply the following values to our work.

o Inclusiveness -- providing environments where the unique voices of all are included, engaged and supported 
o Personal Responsibility -- expecting integrity, honesty, and accountability at all times 
o Community -- engaging students in active leadership and service; celebrating campus rituals and traditions; preparing students to contribute their talents within a global society
o Sustainability  modeling responsible use of human, fiscal and natural resources. 
o Collaboration -- partnering with students, faculty, staff and external constituents in order to realize shared goals 
o Innovation -- fostering critical and creative thought to continually strengthen our programs and services and environments

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

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