Last Updated May 21, 2021
SU 2.0 focuses on the student experience through collaborations and renewal aspects of the Strategic Plan and integrates with overlapping goals of inclusive excellence. This update provides an overview of early recommendations and introduces revised organizational charts for the Division of Student Life and the Division of Inclusive Excellence.
Development began fall 2018 > Launched fall 2019 > To report conclusions through 2026
Development began summer 2020 > Launched fall 2020 > Transitioning to next steps through IDEA Council summer 2021
Development began summer 2020 > Launching summer 2021 > Initial improvements fall 2021
Susquehanna University tasked Kennedy & Co. to assist in preparing a series of steps for SU 2.0 — from fact gathering and current state analysis to future state planning and recommendations.
- Administrative Steering Committee
- Administrative Leadership Team
- Staff Council
- Faculty Open Forums
- Academic Steering Committee
- Academic Department Heads
- Senior Leadership Team
- Student Groups
Based on conversations with the above groups, along with quantitative results from three student surveys conducted each year from 2018-2020, Kennedy & Co. made several recommendations.
Central to the success of SU 2.0 initiatives will be the making of data-driven decisions. By continuing to collect and evaluate data across all parts of the university, SU will see what’s working and where there are continued opportunities for improvement.
Students reported strong satisfaction with instructional effectiveness; student-faculty interactions; access to academic resources; access to food; and financial aid. Students described opportunities to improve counseling services and diversity, equity, and inclusion, housing, safety and security.
SU 2.0 is primarily focused on six key student-centric areas of the university’s ecosystem: student experience, student health and wellness, academics, diversity, public safety and facilities.
Several 2.0 initiatives taking place in other divisions and units across campus, such as Advancement, Enrollment, Human Resources, Information Technology, the Blough-Weis Library, and Marketing and Communications will be reported separately.
Student Experience Redesign
Creating a physical and digital Service Hub is envisioned as an effective support system offering access to Student Advocates with generalist knowledge and expertise to meet student needs and, when necessary, provide a “warm handoff” to specialist resources in offices such as the Registrar, Student Financial Services and the Global Opportunities (GO) Offices.
Susquehanna can better serve its students by developing a centralized data hub. Faculty and staff will be better able to track student data across offices, reducing manual data input into multiple systems, and allowing key student data to be seen across the institution. Better data will lead to earlier and more effective interventions with students and will improve the overall student experience.
Student Life will be restructured to increase support of student wellbeing and promote greater sense of student belonging, which should increase student retention and eventually, graduation rates. This restructuring includes the addition of a data analyst for Student Life who will provide data dashboards and the impetus to continually assess the impact of the changes and modify our approaches if needed.
Student Health and Wellness
Central to work in the holistic student health and wellness has been the need for SU to adjust and redefine its approach to student mental health in response to almost overwhelming increases in student needs, a national phenomenon observable on our campus. We need to better define and communicate what Counseling and Psychological Services does. The reenvisioned Counseling & Psychological Services, in partnering with a third-party service, will be able to provide faster service, more appointments and better avenues to long-term support.
The development of recommendations related to academic innovation have focused on finding an academic and organizational structure that is built to incentivize and support innovation.
- Splitting the School of Arts & Sciences into two schools
- Considering additional changes to the academic structure
- Improving transparency of faculty evaluation process
- Evaluating contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion
- Allowing for evolving faculty portfolios over the course of one’s career
- Developing and investing in a grants office that supports faculty and staff efforts to seek external funding
- Considering formal processes or structures that encourage and reward innovation efforts
- Establishing university-wide guidelines for searching for hiring, onboarding, supporting and evaluating adjunct faculty
The organizational structure can be a strong factor in providing a pathway for innovation, but an organizational structure alone will not lead to greater innovation. To prioritize innovation and reinforce a shift in culture that underscores its importance, Susquehanna must develop the metrics for success and provide incentives to innovate.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In SU 2.0, the university will centralize DEI’s (diversity, equity, and inclusion) extraordinarily good work that is happening across campus.
The CenSUs task force played a significant role in informing this work. Developing a truly inclusive environment in which all members of the campus community feel a sense of belonging and empowerment is critical to SU’s success and central mission. Concurrently, it is everyone’s responsibility to be strategic, coordinated and holistic about DEI work.
The Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer will oversee a leadership group that will include Inclusive Excellence, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Religious and Spiritual Life, a faculty liaison, support for international students and employees, and the newly formed IDEA Council (a representative group of students, faculty, and staff who will assess DEI efforts and advise the university on future initiatives).
SU 2.0’s main emphasis for campus safety is to make students feel safer on campus and develop a healthy relationship between students and the people charged with keeping them safe. This change will come from restructuring the team, refining the training programs, creating new expectations of safety staff, and developing roles for students to serve as operational assistants. Campus Safety’s main role will be keeping campus safe and not enforcing rules and regulations as a policing body.
To reemphasize a commitment to focus on the safety of our campus community members at SU, some examples of changes include:
- Updating its name from the Public Safety Department to Office of Campus Safety.
Eliminating military-sounding, police-rank terms in job titles. Public safety officers will now be campus safety specialists.
- Augmenting training for all staff, including conflict resolution, bias awareness, trauma-informed practice, mental health awareness and cultural sensitivity.
- Adding a new staff position to serve as a community advocate.
- Developing a student group to provide feedback in support of our enhanced policies, training and communication.
In addition to increased efficiency and better service delivery, an updated service delivery model in the Facilities function will provide personnel with a greater ability to positively impact the student experience.
Shifting the distribution of Facilities personnel from specialists to a more generalist focus will provide more staff support with "team leads" and also provide stronger career pathways – either towards skilled trade specializations or towards a management/supervisory role.