2021-2022 Student Affairs Foundational Principles & Areas of Focus

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Student Affairs Foundational Principles:

The Division of Student Affairs is committed to ensuring that students leave Lehigh as academically accomplished, self-confident, creative and productive leaders, citizens and persons of sound character. Ultimately, we want our students to be uniquely well-prepared to thrive in a challenging and complex world. We recognize the need to support students as they flourish as individuals and as they contribute to a sense of a campus community that is characterized by respect for self and respect for others. We strive to demonstrate and measure our annual progress in the context of the fundamental principles presented below:

  1. Commitment to Student Learning and Development - We engage students in the discovery of knowledge, exploration of skills, connection with others, and application of behaviors that cultivate self-efficacy and lifelong learning.
  2. Commitment to Community - We embrace a prominent role in the shared responsibility to promote an inclusive community characterized by a genuine sense of belonging and demonstrated respect for self and others.
  3. Commitment to Purposeful Action - We empower students to integrate learning and development by leading with integrity and contributing to the community as active, engaged citizens.
  4. Commitment to Staff Professional Growth and Development - We foster a professional culture that values and promotes staff member learning and engagement, as well as the sharing of knowledge and expertise, both on and off campus.

2021-2022 Student Affairs Areas of Focus

Beginning fall 2021, the campus – and higher education – landscape will be much different versus fall 2020 or even 2019. The planned return to in person instruction and staffing will follow 18 months of mostly remote academic and work environments. Student Affairs priorities and goals for 2021–2022 and beyond will acknowledge this new normal, while building upon lessons learned, and positive strides made, during the pandemic. The 2020–2021 priorities (commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity; partnerships with faculty; enhanced access for students to services and staff) will remain in place for 2021–2022.

Three Areas of Focus for 2021-2022:

  1. Re-Orientation - To begin the academic year, Student Affairs will provide a “re-orientation” experience for the Class of 2024. In addition to navigating health and safety related measures, Student Affairs will welcome an undergraduate student population that will have graduated half of its students since the last full Move-In and Orientation (2019). The rising sophomores will be like freshmen in many ways as they will be largely unfamiliar with campus spaces, will have had little to no in person contact with staff, faculty and classmates, and will not have participated in many of the formal traditions and informal rites of passage experienced by other first year students. The re-orientation effort will touch all classes and span the entire academic year. 
  2. Community and Sense of Belonging - There will be an intentional effort to bolster students’ sense of belonging. Recent and current surveys and student interactions have sent clear and consistent messages that students' sense of belonging and feeling that they are a part of a community have suffered during the pandemic. Student Affairs will take full advantage of the planned return to in-person campus engagement to improve these and other indicators of student satisfaction. 
  3. Well-Being - Student Affairs will be a leader in campus efforts to see that students are presented with a comprehensive, and better coordinated, array of wellness related services and resources. Holistic well-being has been an important and recurring theme, and will continue to play a significant role in student success. During spring 2021, the VPSA charged a Committee on Well-being – composed of students, faculty, and staff – with examining Lehigh’s wellness offerings, and making recommendations, including suggestions on a signature/branded university wellness initiative. 

Ongoing Student Affairs Areas of Focus

With these retooled Foundational Principles as a backdrop, we also identified three themes/areas of focus for 2020-2021, and they continue to become further embedded into the fabric of the entire division. Each department/area has been tasked with identifying key initiatives for the year, which incorporate each of the three themes:

  1. Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity - Student Affairs had long been committed to diversity and Inclusion and has worked to build a stronger, better Lehigh Community. Much of our work is focused on student development, empowerment, advocacy and support. 
  2. Staff & Faculty Partnerships - Student Affair’s is committed to enhancing the University’s educational mission. One way that we achieve this is through our partnership with faculty and staff across the University. Our staff partners in research, teaching and supporting students on their academic journey.