Eduventures Report Takes New Look at College, University Student Affairs Divisions

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Eduventures' new report, Achieving Strategic Alignment, its most comprehensive to be published on the state of student affairs divisions today, highlights effective practices for improving organizational alignment, performance, and accountability.

Over the years, as student affairs divisions have taken on an increasing number of activities and functions central to the university mission, demands for organizational alignment, performance, and accountability have increased

Eduventures' new report, Achieving Strategic Alignment, its most comprehensive to be published on the state of student affairs divisions today, examines a number of critical issues related to strategic alignment, including external alignment, internal alignment, strategic communications, and professional development.

The report is largely based on analysis of interviews with chief student affairs officers from leading colleges and universities across the United States. It benchmarks current levels of alignment; key participants in the strategic planning process; tenure, experience, and education of unit heads; and professional development offerings.

"Over the years, as student affairs divisions have taken on an increasing number of activities and functions central to the university mission, demands for organizational alignment, performance, and accountability have increased," said Eduventures Research Director and Senior Analyst Lisa Famularo, Ph.D. "This study provides data and insight that will help student affairs officers meet these demands and succeed in meeting both their short- and long-term goals."

The report highlights a number of effective practices for aligning unit- and division-level goals and communicating the activities and successes of student affairs to key constituents, as well as strategies for professional development that will help prepare student affairs unit heads for the expanding strategic role of the student affairs division.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • Chief student affairs officers are well integrated into the strategic planning of the university; however, a lower level of integration was found to exist between academic affairs and student affairs during strategic planning.
  • Student affairs retreats are generally seen as an effective tool for creating alignment within the division.
  • Digital communication in the form of e-mail and Web communication is viewed as one of the most effective ways for student affairs leaders to communicate with senior university leadership, students, and the university community as a whole.
  • A one-size-fits-all approach to professional development may not work in student affairs. The career path and tenure of unit heads have implications for the design and implementation of professional development programs

Achieving Strategic Alignment is available exclusively to members of the Eduventures Student Affairs Learning Collaborative, a research consortium designed to help member institutions address critical strategic and operational challenges and enhance the student experience. Research focuses on outcomes assessment, minority student success, campus climate, student affairs division organization and staffing, and student health and wellness, including mental health and alcohol and drug use.

About Eduventures, Inc.:
Eduventures is the industry leader in collaborative research and consulting for higher education. Eduventures is committed to providing colleges and universities with cost-effective, data-driven research and analysis designed to improve critical operations and practices. More than 300 higher education institutions participate in one or more of Eduventures' six Learning Collaboratives: Continuing and Professional Education, Development, Enrollment Management, Online Higher Education, Schools of Education, and Student Affairs. These collaboratives provide members with research reports on current trends and issues, custom analysis, and implementation support, including opportunities to network with fellow professionals. More about Eduventures can be found at http://www.eduventures.com.

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