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message from the vice-chancellor

Strategic Planning Process Yields Great Insights

Dear Colleagues,

Student Affairs’ strategic planning process yielded a wealth of useful insights and “aha moments” this past school year.  If you took part in the survey and/or focus groups – or helped in other ways with the data-gathering – thank you!

In recent weeks, a subcommittee has been working hard to develop a final draft that outlines goals, initiatives, areas of distinction and guiding principles.  I’ll be reviewing their recommendations, as well as suggested metrics, toward the end of June.

Of course, our finished plan will dovetail with the campus’ plan (link to campus plan), but with a focus on transformational out-of-class experiences that support student learning and development. 

Watch for the plan summary to be released in July – in time for all of us to review our program plans for 2014-15, to ensure that we’re meeting the most critical needs of the students we serve.


C. Renée Romano
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
June, 2014



Other recent messages from Vice Chancellor Romano:

Please Join Us for the 2014 Assessment Conference

The end of the academic year is always a hectic time. And as much as we love working with students, I think most of us also look forward to having some time to devote to professional development opportunities that can fall by the wayside during the busy school year.

If you’ve been meaning to learn more about assessment – and how to integrate it into your work on a more regular basis – I hope you’ll plan to join us for the 2014 Student Affairs Assessment Conference on Tuesday, May 20.  

Through these kinds of activities, we are better able to articulate our impact on the student experience and student learning.

In just over a half-day, you’ll pick up new ideas and learn more about best practices that will allow you to more consistently document student success.

Marilee Bresciani Ludvik from San Diego State University will be the keynote speaker.  Lunchtime table discussions will allow you to learn more about one of nearly a dozen specific topics that can help you in your day-to-day work – from navigating IRB to better serving our growing population of international students.

Registration ends on May 1. Hope to see you there!


C. Renée Romano

Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs

April, 2014


Strategic Planning Process Gathering Steam

There’s an old saying that goes, “if you’re not sure where you’re heading, any road will get you there.”  

Student Affairs is updating our strategic plan this spring – our Roadmap for the Future – building on the Campus’ strategic plan. Our destination, of course, is to provide the best possible Illinois Experience for the 43,000 or so students we serve.  

The steering committee, led by Ed Slazinik, has set an ambitious timetable with the goal of completing our division-wide plan by the end of this semester. Student and staff focus groups are winding down at the division level, and the data appear to be rich in insights that will help us serve our students even better.  

Focus-group findings will be added to what we learned in the survey, as well a review of current trends in higher education, to help us plan future initiatives.

The end-product of this work will help us fulfill our vision:  to be the global leader in transforming students’ lives. The plan will reflect our core values:  Diversity, Leadership and Citizenship, Collaboration, Shared Governance with Students, the Holistic Student Learning Experience, Stewardship and Accountability, Innovation and Excellence, Honesty and Integrity, and Wellness.

And I can assure you that this is one strategic plan that won’t just sit on a shelf, gathering dust! 

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this opportunity for us to collectively reflect on what we do well, determine what we need to improve, and draw the roadmap that will get us where we want Student Affairs to go.   


C. Renée Romano

Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs

March, 2014



Student Affairs units flex to meet international students' needs

Dear Colleagues:

Our wonderfully diverse campus includes more than 9,400 students from other countries – nearly 5,000 of them undergraduates. These international students enrich our campus culture, and help our domestic students develop global perspectives.

The high percentage of international students also brings some challenges for Student Affairs. Undergraduates, in particular, may arrive on our campus with little experience away from home, limited English-language skills, and many needs for support.

Student Affairs staff members have stayed on top of enrollment trends, and continue to adjust programs and services for our students from other countries. Here are just a few examples of how program and services are adjusted for our international students:

  • In Student Legal Services alone, about 45 percent of the clients are students from other countries. The language barrier, the need to communicate with families overseas, and very limited understanding of the U.S. legal system are just a few of the factors that add to the complexity of legal issues for international students. Student Legal is developing a new set of protocols to clarify processes for both students and staff.

  • Beliefs and attitudes about counseling vary from one culture to the next. So when an international student needs mental-health services, extra effort and resources may be required.  The Counseling Center has hired two clinicians who speak Mandarin, and four clinicians now work in outreach to our international students.

  • Employment-related issues usually are more complicated for international students. Sometimes, international students don’t want to follow family desires for their career. And some employers either can’t hire international students or don’t want to go through the Visa process. The Career Center offers a special series of career certifications for international students, to help them prepare for life after graduation.

University Housing, McKinley Health Center, the Dean of Students Office, Campus Rec, OIIR and other Student Affairs units also make a special effort to reach out to international students with programming and services designed to meet their needs. The examples are far too numerous to list here!

I’m proud of the way Student Affairs staff have embraced the cultural richness our international students bring to campus – and have stepped up to meet the program- and service-related challenges that come along with them. We will continue to assess the needs of all of our students, and adjust our programs to ensure that we are supporting their success to graduation and beyond.


C. Renée Romano

Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs

December, 2013


Read some of Vice Chancellor Romano's previous messages.