Ohio University

New academic year brought changes to the Division of Student Affairs

New academic year brought changes to the Division of Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs (DOSA) initiated a 15-month strategic planning process in 2017, which concluded in the publication of the 2018 Strategic Plan for Ohio University’s Division of Student Affairs. This plan serves as a blueprint for the work the division does, and contains values and objectives that have been integrated into the day-to-day work of those in the division.

Following the publication of the strategic plan, the division underwent an external review to guide changes that would ensure students’ needs could be met through elevating the work of the division as well as receive recommendations for how to best operationalize the strategic plan. A new position focused on strategic planning and assessment throughout the division was created to ensure the division continues to work toward the objectives outlined in the strategic plan.

As a result of an external review, the division restructured its departments and employees. According to Megan Vogel, chief of staff for DOSA, this restructure was necessary for the division to “be more efficient and effective and respond to what we heard from stakeholders during the external review process.”

Through this restructure, Sorority and Fraternity Life and Health Promotion became standalone departments. During the last academic year, students involved in 33 recognized social organizations completed over 22,000 service hours, donated over $144,000 to various causes and facilitated donations of two tons of food. With such tremendous work being done by students and the national attention these organizations were receiving, it was clear that more than one employee was needed to focus enough time and energy on the area.

Through Health Promotion becoming a standalone department, students will continue to have increased access to alcohol education as well as sexual assault prevention resources, but the department will be working hand-in-hand with other administrators focused on the holistic wellbeing of OHIO’s students.

While new units were created, some already-existing units continue to seek out partnerships with departments and academic units outside of the division. Much of the work DOSA does overlaps with other programming and opportunities for students. “We are seeking out these synergies and finding ways we can work together, better, for both our students and our employees,” Vogel said.

The division also created a new initiative centered around well-being. This initiative is really focused on creating synergies with and among departments who have the well-being of students as their focus.

According to Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Jenny Hall-Jones, this initiative “is meant to connect students with services and programs that have a wellbeing focus and have all of those services centered under the Dean of Students’ Office.” These departments include Counseling and Psychological Services, Campus Recreation, Health Promotion, the Survivor Advocacy Program as well as student health insurance, student crisis support and Bobcats Helping Bobcats. “We want all of our students to achieve personal growth and fulfillment during their time at Ohio University through an active process of clarifying their purpose, discovering how resilient they are, connecting with others and celebrating their successes. We hope focusing the departments who help students in these areas will help students to do just that,” said Hall-Jones.

Though these changes may have felt big to those within the division, DOSA did its best to make sure this reallocation was not felt directly by the students. “We just want students to easily reach the resources they are seeking,” said Vogel. “If we are all working together better, we’ll just do our jobs better. We’re all Ohio University to them.”

All of these changes were done through reallocation of existing resources and the repurposing of existing personnel lines. DOSA hopes to continue to improve and innovate while remaining committed to an exceptional student experience.