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Student Affairs Foundational Principles

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:


A Commitment to Student Success

We provide support to students as they transition into, through, and out of Lehigh University. This requires effectively orienting students to the university environment; providing strategic academic support services; connecting students to critical university resources; and meeting specific needs of various cohorts of students within our community, e.g., students with disabilities, athletes, marginalized student populations, students in crisis, etc. As a result, students are well-prepared to be meaningful contributors and leaders at Lehigh and in their personal and professional lives after graduation.


A Healthy, Safe Community

Health and safety are both individual and shared responsibilities.  We provide superior services and resources to facilitate a healthy, safe living and learning environment. We respond quickly and effectively when presented with student health and safety concerns and emergencies. As a result of educating students about their health and well-being, they will be equipped with the tools to make informed, responsible decisions and be accountable for their actions as members of both the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities.


An Equitable, Inclusive Environment

We view diversity as an important asset within our university environment and we are committed to confronting racism, sexism, and homophobia, and other forms of discrimination while advancing the Principles of Our Equitable Community. We give voice to and provide an avenue of support for the needs and concerns of historically underrepresented students. We provide educational experiences that expose students to inclusive, multicultural viewpoints, issues of social inequity, and an understanding of privilege. We equip students with the skills and abilities to interrupt and disrupt racism, sexism, and homophobia on campus. Our work with students in this area promotes a culture of inclusion where students are equipped to lead positive change in their own community and beyond.


A Laboratory for Student Learning and Leadership

We offer opportunities for intentional student learning that span and connect students' multiple experiences and identities. Utilizing the Five Foundations for Student Success, we affirm that learning happens everywhere and meaning is co-constructed within our campus environment. We challenge students to take calculated risks, try new things and develop their personal leadership style. Simultaneously, we support them and teach life skills that promote learning through these endeavors. This results in a co-curricular culture that ensures enriching and meaningful student experiences.


An Exemplary Division of Student Affairs

We are responsible stewards of divisional resources (i.e. human, physical plant, fiscal, and technological, etc.). This requires hiring and retaining a richly diverse and strong performing staff, continually assessing our programmatic efforts and benchmarking nationally, and thinking strategically about future student priorities and needs. As a result of being intentional in our planning and routinely assessing our progress, we create and sustain a staff culture that values continual improvement and excellence in all that we do.


Student Affairs Key Initiatives:

Key Initiatives within the Division of Student Affairs are important priorities that typically represent our work around an emerging or ongoing issue that spans multiple departments within our unit and is directly connected to two or more of the Foundational Principles listed above.  These initiatives may be one year or multi-year efforts. They require strategic thinking, collaborative partnerships, a concentrated amount of attention and resources, and careful assessment and evaluation to be successful.


Sample Key Initiatives for 2016-2017:


  1. Collaboration between Faculty and Staff- Student Affairs staff will develop ways to both model lifelong learning and develop methods of sharing strengths across the university. Staff members are encouraged to explore curricular and co-curricular programming that supports the educational enterprise and to seek opportunities to create collaborative opportunities between faculty and staff. SA staff will be encouraged to engage with faculty to identify ways in which shared expertise will enhance and enrich the student experience.  (Foundational Principle 1,2,3,4,5)


  1. Restorative Practices- We are embracing the work of the International Institute of Restorative Practices to create and develop a Restorative Practices (RP) pilot program. At its core RP promotes repairing harm and building community.  We will develop an additional process for addressing incidents that occur and are managed within our student conduct system and on our residential halls.  We will also provide the skills for students to interact with each other in proactive and restorative ways.  These process and skills will help to continue our work to foster a living and learning environment that values respect for self and others. (Foundational Principle 1,2,3,4)


  1. Bystander Intervention (Prosocial behavior) – We believe that intervening when others need assistance or are in a situation that may lead to a crisis or need for help is an expectation of community citizenship at Lehigh. “Bystanding” during a crisis or when a student needs assistance is not a viable option once students sign on for community membership.  In support of fostering a Healthy, Safe Community we will work across all departments to design and implement a comprehensive set of efforts to increase students’ prosocial behavior (i.e., acts performed with the goal of benefiting another person) and to increase students’ motivation and confidence to help others in problematic or potentially problematic situations rather than to be a passive observer, or to assume someone else will help. (Foundational Principle 2,3,4)