Guiding Documents

The Department of Residential Life uses the following to intentionally guide its planning, decision making, and daily operations.

Residential Life Vision

Learning, Growing, Mattering for Every Person, on Every Floor, in Every Community.

Inclusiveness

Please take a look at our Inclusiveness Statement (pdf). This poster is distributed throughout our residence halls and to our residents upon their arrival to campus in the fall of each year. Our commitment to the fabric of this statement is woven into each of our interactions, programs, and decisions daily.

Residential Life's Current Action Plan

Telling Our Story

Target Groups:

  • Students
  • Campus offices/departments/organizations outside of University Housing
  • Individuals within University Housing

Proposed Deliverable Goals:

  1. Analyze what expectations target groups have of our department.
    1. What should students expect when they arrive at our residence halls for the first time?
    2. What expectations should other offices and organizations have of our department?
    3. What perspectives does our own staff have of the department?
  2. Evaluate what myths target groups have about our department and debunk the incorrect ones.
    1. Assumptions target groups have about residence halls and differences between Champaign and Urbana halls.
    2. Department’s reputation of being such a large force on campus that it does not want/need to collaborate with others.
  3. Determine the best methods of sharing information about our department to target groups and implement telling our “story” to them.

Potential Strategies in Accomplishing Goals:

  • Set what expectations we would like students to have at their orientation so that they can have an idea of what to expect when they arrive for school.
  • Share with our incoming staff information about the U of I experience.  Talk to departing staff members about sharing their UIUC experience.
  • Interact with different Student Affairs colleagues from outside of the department to propose potential partnerships.  Learn about their perspectives of the department to keep the positive outlooks and break the negatives.
  • Video/poster/interactive programs campaigns to spread word of department’s activities.
  • Know our department’s own history to prevent inconsistencies and drastic changes between residence halls.
  • Connect the various areas of housing with one another.
  • Have an “open house” for other departments to come visit our department and hear about what we do.
  • Get more links and information out on the internet about what it is like and means to work for our department.

Student Voice

While identifying new and better ways to collect student feedback, we need to be sure we are effectively utilizing the information we already collect. In addition, we need to explore our overall approach to assessment and develop an assessment model.

Deliverables/Outcomes:

  1. Identify current assessment projects
    1. What’s the project?
    2. What are we trying to learn?
    3. What is the method being used?
    4. When do we do it?
    5. How can we utilize the results and information to tell our story?
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of current projects and identify any gaps in the information that is collected.
  3. Educate our staff on assessment projects
  4. Develop Assessment Model

Primary Intervention for Student Mental Health

We want to provide proactive information and referrals to students prior to crisis events. Special focus will be on mental health issues.* 

Deliverables:

  1. Identify the top three mental health issues and best practices around proactively addressing said issues by reviewing the literature, collecting data on the UIUC student experience, talking to knowledgeable staff in other relevant departments at University of Illinois, and exploring effective practices at other institutions.
  2. Gather the information collected in deliverable #1 into a readable report.
  3. Develop and implement a pilot program based on the issues and best practices identified.
  4. Assess the pilot program.

*Note: Original item indicated that the special focus would also be on substance abuse issues. The team decided that in order to come up with realistic deliverables it was necessary to narrow the focus. 

The International Student Experience

Themes and Observations:

  • Challenges during move-in and transition
  • Building relationships is critical, but can be challenging
  • Bias and exclusion exist
    • Find balance between important affinity groups and connections between domestic/international students

Potential Action Plan Steps:

  • Assessment
    • What do students want?  What do they need?
    • Is our concept of student engagement overly US-centric?
    • What are other departments doing?
  • Collaboration
    • ISSS – How can we work together understanding they are busy with documentation, visas, etc.?
    • Leadership Center – How have they had such success getting international students engaged in i-Programs?
    • LLCs and Academic Units – Are there elements of Global Crossroads that can be brought elsewhere on campus?
    • OIIR – How do they serve international students while maintaining their American focus? 
  • Programming Ideas
    • Mentorship Program – Pairing international students and domestic students for intentional dialogue/support
    • Certificate Program – iPrograms potentially show an attraction to “getting something” in return for involvement
    • Ambassador Program – Representatives from various countries draw connections to their culture through programming/workshops
  • Training and Development
    • Training and development for student and professional staff on various world cultures and experiences
    • Continued dialogue on creating safe, inclusive spaces based on ethnicity, country of origin, and language

University Housing Mission and Vision

Read more about the University Housing Mission and Vision, and the Strategic Plan for 2014-2017.