Archived Messages from the Vice Chancellor

Some recent messages from the Vice Chancellor:

February 2017: Change of national leadership and what it means for Student Affairs
September 2016: Update on the Campus Climate on Sexual Assault survey
Fall 2015: Summer Listening Tour with Student Affairs Staff


The Campus Conversation and Student Affairs

Dear Colleagues,
During the 2013-14 school year, the Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education brought together faculty, staff and students to answer some of the questions we all should be asking as we serve our students:
  • What kind of undergraduate experience will cultivate our students’ capacities for critical thinking and complex reasoning?
  • How can Illinois, a public institution with a land-grant mission and global reputation, help its students develop into leaders who can address the many challenges of the future?
  • What does our campus understand the value of an Illinois education to be and how do we articulate that value to the public? 
While the Provost’s office organized the Campus Conversation, Student Affairs staff played an active role in all five working groups as well as the steering committee.
For Student Affairs, changes that come out of the Campus Conversation likely will build on the kinds of transformative co-curricular experiences we already provide to our students.
The final report on the Campus Conversation will be released as the Fall semester begins. In the meantime, I encourage you to spend a little time reading the First-Round Report.
As you read, I think you’ll find yourself nodding your head in agreement – and thinking ahead to how Student Affairs can do an even better job of preparing our students not only for career success, but for a rich and meaningful life.
C. Renée Romano
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
August, 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


New website design - October, 2013

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) framework - August, 2013

Some well-deserved recognition and the awards keep on coming - July and August, 2013 

Five Days for Change (5D4C) - June, 2013 

Honoring our colleagues (Outstanding Staff and Program Awards) - May, 2013