The division of Student Affairs strives to align its resources and services in ways that further its five primary functions of student behavior, student involvement, student climate, residential life and health and wellness.
A central tenet of the work of Student Affairs is helping students at an institution of 20,000 connect with peers in ways that make the University feel like a community of 2,000. The sustainability and success of a community depends on helping students, as its members, to understand the necessity of personal responsibility and accountability. The University seeks to hold its students to basic standards of civility and respect, and to ensure that students themselves are responsible and accountable for exemplifying and promoting these principles.
Student Affairs collaborates with students and with academic and administrative colleagues to maintain and advance policies and procedures that support this community objective. This entails promoting the core value of honor, ensuring that the systems which support responsibility and accountability (e.g., Honor, Judiciary, and Sexual Misconduct) work effectively and efficiently, appropriately vesting ownership and accountability with students, and verifying that communications which explain these standards are clear and concise. Additionally, Student Affairs addresses issues of student behavior by responding to unforeseen situations and events that disrupt the patterns of daily student life. Timely, accurate and coordinated responses to major events that produce anxiety and uncertainty among students, and invariably cause concerns for other members of the University community, are critical. Upon graduation, students should demonstrate a mature understanding of community membership, personal responsibility, and civic engagement that will assist them in their lives as educated citizens and leaders.
Experiences outside the classroom should serve as: a compliment to, and testing ground for, what students learn in the classroom; opportunities for students to refine their leadership skills; and means by which to foster a small and close-knit community within a large institution.
Student Affairs provides physical spaces and programs that establish meaningful connections between academics and life outside the classroom; promote interactions between students and faculty, or between individuals and groups that might not otherwise collaborate; and encourage involvement in University life. Additionally, students are provided with advice and access to resources that help them pursue professional opportunities that match their skills and interests. Student Affairs works with a number of internal and external constituencies including faculty, school representatives, alumni and employers, to offer guidance and resources to a diverse student body for the achievement of their career-related goals. Upon graduation, students should be able to demonstrate organizational, analytical, communication and problem solving skills, teamwork capabilities, and leadership competencies that will assist them in career and community settings beyond the University of Virginia.
Student Affairs attempts to promote a climate in which students feel welcomed and supported in a close-knit community. A key aspect of the Division's purpose is to ensure that students are immersed in experiences that expose them to different perspectives -- for example, as related to a person’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities, economic background, political views or religious beliefs -- and provide them with opportunities to learn. Outreach to students and dissemination of information about services, resources and opportunities is critical. Students should gain an understanding of, and appreciation for, personal difference, mutual respect and civility, and accountability that should translate to their post-University roles as educated citizens.
The residential experience should foster community membership and engagement in ways that make the University feel inclusive. The overall goal of residence life for undergraduate students is to provide safe, affordable and comfortable housing options that support programs which relate to the University’s academic objectives, and foster connections to peers, faculty, and the University community as a whole. On-Grounds housing provides Student Affairs with a mechanism to educate students about diversity and multiculturalism, inform them of available resources and support services, and help them to negotiate and problem solve. Students who have lived in University housing should be able to translate their residential experiences into an understanding of, and commitment to personal responsibility and community involvement, both during their tenure as students and beyond their academic career.
Health and Wellness
Supporting students’ physical, mental and emotional well-being is critical to ensuring that students are capable of succeeding in their academic and non-academic pursuits. Key to achieving this objective is Student Health’s ability to provide excellent health care, to serve as a public health agency for students, and to collaborate effectively with other University departments to offer programs that have a positive effect on students’ overall wellness. Also, specific substance abuse education and prevention programs, in particular related to alcohol use, are critical to promoting healthy living and individual and group responsibility and accountability, and to reducing and/or eliminating negative outcomes including more serious consequences such as hazing, interpersonal violence, and sexual misconduct. Students should leave the University with an understanding of the importance of healthy behaviors, and should be able to maintain a balanced lifestyle.