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Student Affairs embarks on plan
to improve student experience
(March 30, 1999)

Nearly 70 people from the University and the surrounding community spent two and a half days during Spring Break planning strategies to improve the student experience.

"Over the course of two and a half days, we began a strategic planning process to identify a collective vision for the future of the student experience at UConn and the role of the Division of Student Affairs in that future," said Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs.

"We examined our proud history, identifying the things that we wanted to serve as foundation as we move into the future," she said. "We analyzed the external environment, and identified those factors which will shape the student experience and to which we must respond. Then we dreamed about creating the best possible experience for our students, and identified the common beliefs that must form the basis of all future planning."

The conference, on the theme "Exploring the Boundaries: Creating a Road Map for the Total Student Experience," was intended to develop consensus in planning among eight different stakeholder groups from the University community - both internal and external.

Representatives included staff, specialists and leaders from Student Affairs, students, the University leadership, academics, administrators and friends of the University.

"The participation of a variety of stakeholders was invaluable in allowing us to forge partnerships with members of our campus community to ensure that we will be able to make our preferred future for the total student experience become a reality," said Triponey.

The conference participants identified a list of external factors that will play a critical role in planning the student experience at UConn for the future, including lack of interconnectedness; rapid change in technology; increasing change in the educational climate and in expectations for education; and the decline of civility and respect in society.

Participants also developed a variety of strategies and projects aimed at responding effectively to these factors. These included building a sense of community; maximizing technology; developing a prestigious institution; enhancing the relationship between the University and the town of Mansfield; improving connections between students, staff and faculty; reducing separateness; increasing campus diversity and education about diversity; and creating a learning environment that extends beyond the classroom.