2009-10 Student Affairs Highlights

I. Executive Summary

This academic year is about defining the role of student affairs at RISD. By following best practices in the field we are working to standardize procedures, create clarity for the campus community and improve the overall student experience at RISD.

II. Organizational Changes

Since September 2009, we have re-organized in a number of ways. The Assistant Dean of Students (Sarah Spencer) position was created, a new Director of Student Development and Counseling (Wayne Assing) has been hired and a part-time counselor (Shauna Summers) was given a full-time position. The Registrar’s office (Steve Berenback), Academic Advising Coordinator (Christina Bertoni), and International Student Advisor position (Janet Hoyte) was added to the Student Affairs portfolio. The Associate Director of Student Life (Don Morton) was promoted to Director and three “Program Coordinators” were hired to assist with student programming and advising of organizations (Natalie Hogan, Shana Schloth, and Steven Hazeltine). Residence Life created new positions of an Assistant Director of Residence Life for Operations (full-time, live-in professional), and Community Development Coordinator (half-time, 10 month, graduate assistant). The current Assistant Director (Phil Oliveira) assumed the role as Student Conduct Coordinator and leader of the Code of Conduct Committee. Also, the search is underway for a reformulated position of Assistant Dean of Campus Life. All changes in staffing structure were accomplished with presently budgeted funds. The searches are underway for these three positions with an expected start date in mid to late summer 2010.


III. Accomplishments

We have streamlined communication both internally and externally by using the web to share information with the creation of two websites: www.risd.edu/commencement and www.risd.edu/orientation. We have received over 10,000 hits to the commencement site and 9,000 hits to the orientation site.

 The first phase of a new coordination of the academic advising process has been implemented. The Assistant Dean of Students, Academic Advising Coordinator, Registrar’s Office and International Student Advisor are working to improve communication of policies to students and develop proactive outreach to assist students.

 We have created eleven new student organizations this year with the broad goal of designing more leadership opportunities for students. OSL activities can be seen at http://www.risdquickies.com/ and http://risdosl.blogspot.com/. “RISD The Musical” was a phenomenal success and was created, produced and designed by RISD students. Proceeds (over $9,000) went to the Haitian relief effort.

RISD Exposé was a student group worked to execute a month long student gallery sale in downtown Providence. There were five main student managers in addition to a working group of about 25 students. Eighty students submitted work and 36 sold at least one piece of art. The artwork sold in the gallery grossed over $10,000.  Similarly, graduate students organized the Black Sheep Project Gallery. One painting on opening day sold for $2800. The Black Sheep Gallery also hosted a silent auction by a student organization called Students Helping Students. This group was established to raise funds for student financial assistance.

We have added to our common methods of co-curricular education such as workshops, lectures and mentoring. We have initiated an experiential approach to entrepreneurship and business/financial literacy.

Residence Life implemented “Studio Crawls” during Wintersession to provide opportunities for students to visit local alumni in their place of employment; a total of 51 students visited 11 sites. Students developed numerous community service efforts to benefit Haitian relief efforts, RI Food Bank, etc.  (Relief Dinner, $1200 raised; Rummage Sale, $1,000 raised, significant RA participation in “RISD: The Musical”)

Career Services implemented a conversion to ArtWorks, a new joint common calendar at Google and a new seminar log-in system, forms and databases to collect participation data. Jobs/Internships were 200 per month (grew listings by 25% over last year); average internships listed: 910 per month (grew listings by 12% over last year): 350 new internships were added to Artworks, and 630 new jobs were added.

A successful Mindfulness and Meditation program has given students the opportunity to learn and practice calming and reflective meditation. An innovative 3-day “Nature Retreat” allowed students, accompanied by a faculty member, to experience meditation in nature.

In additional to clinical hours, a successful clinical group program with 3 interpersonal support groups have been developed that allows students to feel less isolated on campus. Previously there were no groups offered and space constraints have forced us to be resourceful using confidential and reserved space elsewhere.

Widespread consulting and outreach has been provided to the RISD community and enhanced visibility and promotion of counseling/consulting services available to student groups, faculty, and staff.

Counseling Services has arranged for RISD for the first time ever to participate in the Healthy Minds Study, a national study assessing mental health on college campuses and will receive data about our students at year’s end.

Korean Student Identity Seminars provided faculty with a deeper understanding of Korean (primarily international) student identity, academic adjustment to and assimilation factors when Koreans attend US higher education institutions, and ways to understand and maximize Korean student performance and integration.  Women’s Focus Week 2010 “On the See-Saw: Women Balancing Family, Art, Career included a Women’s Tea, A film screening, and a RISD panel discussion of RISD faculty, RISD alumna, and Brown administrators / faculty to discuss issues related to balancing a career, art and family.

The Registrar’s office has modified the existing “Course Announcement” to reflect a section on graduate student policies. In addition, we are conducting a careful review of all general academic policies and procedures. 

Health Services saw an increased number of visits this year totally almost 17,000. Immunizations reached a high of 972 completed by the office this year. Seasonal flu and H1N1 clinics were conducted several times throughout the year.

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