Conversations about mental health and well-being
Commitments - Purposeful
"I've worked on three other campuses and I've never been in a place that was so intentional about defining how they've wanted people to be treated and the expectations they have had of they're community."
The Division of Student Affairs in general was consistently praised by interviewees for its ability to adhere to its commitment to being purposeful. Many commented on the supportive nature of the Student Affairs community that has allowed them to pursue clear objectives. Many people also mentioned how the Campus Compact provided a framework to be more precise and effective in programming.
"The six pillars of community outlined by Ernest Boyer is something that we [UHDS] have embraced and used even before the Campus Compact. It is something that we use in staff training and even with student leaders asking them to think about their living groups and communities in ways that are well balanced, such as 'Is this a place where people just live or is it an intentional community?' ...We have used these principles as a framework, for being able to explain why we do what we do and making sure that all of our policies have some purpose behind them. We have used this language all along, but the Campus Compact has just reinforced that in being intentional and having purpose to what we do."
"At the time the Campus Compact was created, there had recently been a lot organizational dysfunction at Student Health Services. So the Campus Compact was particularly meaningful for our department because it represented everything that hadn't occurred prior to that. What was remarkable for us was that it gave us a way to look at what we had already been trying to do at SHS... there was a charge of energy as we realized that we were starting to accomplish a new way of relating with each other---that it could really be done."
"What I have noticed over the years is that now there is a lot more free flowing information and lot more intentional awareness placed on how others may perceive what we are doing. There is more of an intentional attention to how we relate and communicate with other people."
"We have worked together to develop better emergency responses which we call our Administrative Response Team. Several of us have participated in that and we have come together as a team to try to be sure that we are doing a good job with those emergencies. In this past year we had 14 student deaths, it has been great that we have had our relationships nailed down and our protocol for how to respond has allowed us to get counselors and support where it is needed. We have worked that out pretty well. If we had not been prepared we would have been trying to invent things in the middle of the crisis which would not work very well. I feel really good about what has come out of the spirit of the Compact, which has been working together without worrying about the lines and boxes on the organizational chart. We have just been purposeful about getting the job done and building those relationships."
"What the compact does is it provides a place to start in definition of what aspects of relationship matter and how we interpret various words. It's a toehold in conversation, for example if staff are trying to overcome a challenge, we can go back to the Compact and look at the relationship elements that the Compact spells out. This allows us to evaluate ourselves based on those elements. We've used it when organizational units have gotten off course to get them back on course. We've used it to help illustrate to managers the importance of relationship and the importance of being in an open constant dialogue with employees."
Interviewees felt that some of the challenges with being a purposeful community could be attributed to outside factors affecting the division. Some felt that the diverse perspectives among employees have made it difficult to align the division towards unified intentional programming.
"The public sector makes it difficult to change. Contracts and tenure make it a challenge to deal with unproductive individuals. We need to be more purposeful while hiring to find people who have qualities relative to those of the Compact."
"Being purposeful is a topic which people can disagree about. Being here for 17 years I see things one way and people that are fresh out of grad school see things in another way. It's not like one is bad and one is good, it's just different. People may disagree about how we offer our services. We are working on that and I feel that needs discussion."