Message from the Vice Chancellor
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Nurturing the Next Generation
Of Student Affairs Professionals
How did YOU get interested in working in Student Affairs?
If you’re like many of us, the idea never occurred to you until a trusted supervisor or mentor suggested that a career in Student Affairs might be a good fit for you. At the recent NASPA meeting in Florida, it was great to reconnect with many friends who got their start as student-employees – here at the U of I and elsewhere!
In our Student Affairs annual report, we spotlight three former student workers who went on to pursue careers relating to higher education:
- Kalee Ludeks came to the U of I in 2006, planning a career in law. Instead, her student job and an assistantship in ODOS led to her current job as manager for strategic programming and assessment in Graduate Student Affairs at the University of Chicago.
- As a Turner Fellow in 2002-03, Luis Narvaez helped develop the first Latino/a Family Visit Day on our campus. Today, he serves as a College and Career Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools.
- Doug Boyer’s part-time jobs at “IMPE” led him to a satisfying career in Campus Recreation here at the U of I, where he specializes in adventure recreation. Doug says he never considered a career in student recreation until one of his Campus Rec supervisors suggested it.
If you’d like to read more about their stories, check out the new Student Affairs annual report.
Mentoring the next generation of Student Affairs professionals might just be our most important legacy. So if you know a current student-employee who might be well-suited to a career in Student Affairs, I do hope you’ll encourage them to consider it.
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - updated March 26
Outstanding Staff and Program Awards -
Nomination Deadline Extended to March 31st!
I think it’s fair to say that most of us got into Student Affairs work because we’re passionate about serving students. But along the way, many of us discovered that working with like-minded colleagues is a lot of fun too!
If there’s a special colleague or program team in your unit, I urge you to nominate them for one of our Outstanding Staff and Program Awards. Each year, we recognize two exceptional colleagues who have been with Student Affairs for a while, one outstanding staff member who is new to Student Affairs, and one innovative program.
The nomination deadline has been extended to Sunday, March 31, and you can click here to learn more about the awards and the nomination process.
Please consider nominating a worthy program or individual today!
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Recognizing our Student Leaders
Watching students turn their leadership potential into demonstrated leadership success is one of the most satisfying parts of our work in Student Affairs.
We’re blessed to have the Illinois Leadership Center that provides a wide range of formal and informal opportunities for students to develop their leadership abilities.
But really, every one of our Student Affairs units helps students develop those skills – whether through internships, hourly employment, educational programs, RSOs or mentoring relationships.
If you think about it, you probably know several students who are worthy of nomination for one of our 2013 Student Leadership Awards and Scholarships. More than two-dozen awards and scholarships are available this year. This awards program demonstrates to our students how valuable their engagement and out-of-class learning environments are to the University of Illinois.
So why not nominate one or more of the outstanding students you work with? Click here to find information about the awards and links to nomination forms.
Nominations are due by 12 noon on Thursday, February 28.
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Monday, January 28, 2013
Recruiting the Very Best
In Student Affairs, our employees are our greatest assets. And when we have the opportunity to hire new staff, we need to be sure our process is fair and affirming, and that it allows us to recruit and retain the very best people.
The Chancellor’s recent efforts to streamline the campus hiring process prompted us to take a look at our own procedures within Student Affairs. Beginning last week, we have implemented new Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines for Student Affairs. These changes were made after discussions with department heads and members of the EEO committee, who offered many positive suggestions. A recurring theme in those conversations was that people wanted the process established and clarified.
With that in mind, here are some key details about the new guidelines:
- Pre‐search approval will be done by the Associate Vice Chancellors.
- We clarified the guidelines and wrote everything out, including the makeup of the search committees and the materials that should be included at the point of approval.
- The EEO committee will meet twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, to facilitate approvals and our ability to make offers for hiring.
- We will continue to evaluate the process and make improvements when appropriate.
In a Student Affairs division with about 1,200 employees, we will always have positions to fill. My hope is that the new guidelines will provide both the clarity and flexibility we need to get the right people into each of those positions in a timely way.
As always, thank you for all you do!
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Finals Week / Holiday Rush
As our students finish their semester projects and study for final exams, there’s a mix of eager anticipation and anxiety in the air.
It’s also a crazy-busy time of the year for faculty and staff. Yet, every day I see Student Affairs staff doing extraordinary things to support students through the many challenges that arise when the end of the semester falls just before our holiday break.
For example, staff at the Counseling Center, McKinley Health Center, University Housing and Campus Recreation work tirelessly to help our students deal constructively with stress. Colleagues at our Cultural Centers and the Illini Union help students celebrate “the giving season” by giving back to the community. Staff at the Illinois Leadership Center and The Career Center put in long hours to give our soon-to-be graduates an extra boost of confidence as they enter a difficult job market.
Many of us stop to count our blessings at this time of the year, and I feel blessed to be part of a group of Student Affairs colleagues who always put the needs of our students first.
Thank you for all you do. May your holiday season be filled with joy, and the warm company of family and friends.
In gratitude and respect,
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Friday, November 16, 2012
Creating a Truly Inclusive Community
Dear University of Illinois Students:
Across the nation, a number of isolated incidents have undermined the social and civil discourse that universities hold as fundamentally important to our educational mission. These incidents occurred following the recent national election and encroach on the ability of affected campuses to be learning and engaging environments.
As faculty, staff and students at the University of Illinois, we stand for the dignity of all people and respect for the ideals and beliefs of everyone in our community. At the same time, as an educational institution, the University regards free speech and expression as integral to our values and essential to the preservation of a genuine learning environment. Here at Illinois, we cherish the spirit of debate and look forward to the advances stemming from common inquiry. Addressing issues of discrimination and campus climate does not involve blaming any person or group; issues of fairness and inclusion are everyone’s responsibility. Indeed, we may not always understand or agree with each other, but ultimately we must try to listen to one another and respect differing opinions among us.
As a university community, we want to nourish a set of interactions that will help us create a truly inclusive community and successful college experience. To that end, resources are available on campus to assist students, faculty and staff who have been affected by any such incidents of intolerance. Click here for a link to available campus resources.
The campus continues to support programs such as the I-Connect diversity workshops and Inclusive Illinois that bring awareness of the issues, provide more avenues for dialogue and promote cross-cultural understanding to create a respectful and caring community.
C. Renée Romano
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs
Friday, August 31, 2012
YOU Made Our Fall Kick-off a Success!
Every year, Student Affairs' Fall Kick-off Luncheon marks the end of one academic year and the start of a new one. We look back at our highlights from the previous year, and ahead to new projects and programs that will make a difference in the lives of our students.
This year's keynote speaker, Provost Ilesanmi "Ade" Adesida, noted that even though he's been around the University for 25 years, he is a "freshman Provost."
One of the great things about being part of a world-class University is that we all have opportunities to reinvent ourselves: to learn new skills, take on new duties, and contribute in new ways. As I said in my closing remarks at the Kick-off, I know just how lucky I am to have all of you working with me to serve our students. You are extraordinary people - individually and as a group - and I believe this will be our best year yet.
Best wishes for a productive and enjoyable semester!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
"Voices of Student Affairs Staff"
Last Spring I spent time going to all the departments to talk to staff. I took notes at the meetings and analyzed the information, looking for similarities and differences. I have entitled the report on those conversations "Voices of Student Affairs Staff". It comes to you a few months later than I would have liked, but it's full of valuable information that I believe I can use going forward for the next couple of years.
I am grateful that you took the time to come to the meetings and speak to me. Let me know if you have any feedback, reactions or suggestions. Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Welcome to A New Academic Year
This Fall, I begin my 33rd year as a student affairs professional and every August I feel great enthusiasm for the start of school. I’m ready for the students to leave in May but anxiously await their return in August. It’s simply no fun without them. The last couple of weeks, the excitement has been building and I’m ready for Move-in Day, Convocation, the first football game, sorority rush, and all the other events that make Illinois a great community.
This year more students are coming to Illinois. Our numbers of first-year and transfer students are up about 300 each for a total increase of 600 new students. We’ll see an increase in international students as well, though not as dramatic as in the past five years. In addition to increases in enrollment, our six year graduation rates have been steadily climbing over the past five years, from 81.5% in 2006 to 84.3% in 2011. That’s truly remarkable.
Student Affairs shares in these successes. Students come to the University of Illinois in great numbers because of the vibrant, exciting, and diverse out-of-class experience we in student affairs provide. Students stay at Illinois because of the support systems we offer—state of the art programs, services and facilities that support our students and help them graduate. While they are here, their learning experience is enhanced by student organizations, intramurals, fraternities and sororities, campus committees, student government, assistantship, advisory boards and student employment, just to name a few.
In addition to our students, we’ve got another reason to celebrate. A new chancellor has been named, Dr. Phyllis Wise, currently the Provost at the University of Washington in Seattle. I’m anxious for her to discover one of the great assets of the University of Illinois—Student Affairs! I hope you’ll begin this academic year with a sense of pride in what you do and the certainty that we make a difference in the lives of our students.
So let’s roll out the red carpet for our students and Chancellor Wise when she arrives in October. My best to all of you!
Monday, December 6, 2010
iWatch for Illinois: A Community of Caring
As you know, we have been experiencing a rise in crime in the campusdistrict against individuals this semester. For example, aggravated assaults and batteries are up from 10 in 2009 to 15 in 2010 and robberies are up from 8 in 2009 to 16 in 2010. This situation has been affecting everyone — students and their families and those of us who work on campus as well. We are all working hard to make this a safer campus including administrators at all levels, the University of Illinois Police Department, and departments in Student Affairs such as Housing, the Offices of the Dean of Students and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.
A group of student leaders have been meeting to develop a safety awareness campaign they are calling "I-Watch: A Community that Cares" We are working together to involve the entire community in developing solutions to this difficult problem. As faculty, you have a lot of contact with students and the student group would like to invite you to join us in creating a safer campus community. We've created web pages based on these recommendations that we hope you'll use as a safety resource. It includes information for course syllabi, the powerpoint talking points, web pages and phone numbers for resources on campus. If you know additional information to be added to this page, please contact Julie McMahon: firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Thank you for considering being involved in the community campaign to make the University of Illinois a safer campus.
Friday, August 19, 2010
Heralding Fall 2010
As we welcome students back this fall, we can feel - and count on - the
energy and excitement they bring to the campus and community. Thousands
of students: 7,100 new first-year students, 1,200 transfers, and returning
students from around the State, the nation and the world come to
Champaign-Urbana for a quality educational experience, in and out of the classroom. It's inspiring, exhilarating, and a bit overwhelming but as Student Affairs professionals, we look forward to it each year.
Despite last year's challenges of furloughs and serious financial instability, I want to congratulate everyone for the successes we had under trying conditions:
- We moved forward developing services for student veterans and applied for a grant to create a Center for Excellence to serve special student populations;
- We created a diversity team which will help us reach our aspirations to create an inclusive campus environment;
- Ikenberry Commons continued to move forward and the Student Dining and Residence Program building and Nugent Hall both opened for the Fall;
- We enhanced our national visibility by hosting the NASPA Summer Leadership Institute, the Big Ten Discipline Officers meeting and through Dr. Gail Rooney's position as President of the Midwest organization of career professionals and employers Dr. Jack Collins received the prestigious Parthenon Award from ACHUO;.
- Dr. Bob Palinkas received an Illinois CAPE award.
These are just a few of the accomplishments of our outstanding Student Affairs staff. Student Affairs at Illinois continues to push through and excel despite uncertain and difficult times. We are able to accomplish these initiatives because we care deeply for students. Our commitment to their welfare is to help provide the best Illinois experience possible. Students are our guiding star: our true North. You don't need me or my website messages to motivate you and encourage you to do your best work. We've got 42,000 reasons to be motivated, and those reasons fill up our residence halls, offices, recreation and service facilities.
I simply want to thank you and tell you I am very, very proud to be a part of Student Affairs at Illinois.
Friday, January 08, 2010
By now I'm sure you're all aware of President Ikenberry's email message with regard to the current budget deficit. I appreciated his candor and clarity in laying out a complete picture of the state-of-affairs of our University's financial situation. For additional information about this please check online:
I am working with the Associate Vice Chancellors and Department Heads in Student Affairs and leaders of the University to gather information and make sure all concerns are on the table and questions are answered. In turn, working with your department heads, I will work very hard to keep you informed. Don’t hesitate to address questions to your supervisor and although we may not have answers for all your questions, we’ll tell you what we know.
I deeply regret that AP staff will need to take furloughs. Your supervisor will work with you to determine how furloughs will work, how it will impact you, and how we can minimize the effects on your work life. I hope you will do your best to take furlough days with minimal impact on students. Students and their families are payer higher tuition and fees and they deserve the best we have to offer. This situation affects everyone on campus and indeed, other colleges and universities across the country. We are not alone in making some level of sacrifice, but it is our response to this that will prove our resolve to overcome this challenge.
What I would like to convey to all Student Affairs staff is that now, more than ever, our students are looking to us to maintain the level and quality of the programs and services that have made the Illinois Experience one of the best in the nation. By focusing on our mission, quality programs, services, facilities and a rich educational environment outside the classroom, we will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of students. I have every confidence in your expertise and dedication and that you will continue to help our students connect, learn and achieve on campus.
Clearly, we are experiencing difficult times as a result of the struggling economy. I have absolutely no doubt that we will work through these difficulties in a deliberate, thoughtful, way. Thank you for your efforts, for your commitment, and your continued dedication to Student Affairs and our students.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Indeed, there has been a lot of change at the University of Illinois in just a short time. The Board of Trustees is almost entirely new. Interim President Stanley Ikenberry will begin his tenure on January 1, 2010 and Robert Easter, former Dean of the College of ACES, has been named interim Chancellor and Provost. Dick Wheeler, former Associate Provost, is the Acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. To add to this, the University and the State of Illinois are experiencing extreme budget challenges. Change and anticipation have become a very real part of our lives at the University of Illinois.
So, it’s time to focus on those things for which we have control: ourselves and our work with students. We can and will continue to do the best job we can, serving and educating students, and providing an environment that facilitates an outstanding Illinois experience. To do our best work, we must not to lose sight of the importance of staff development and communication from the Vice Chancellor’s Office and across departments. Here is my invitation to Student Affairs staff for the following special events that will kick off the 2010 Spring Semester:
Upcoming Professional Development Workshops:
Assessment: Using the Data to Tell Your Story
Presenter: Karen Whitney, Vice President at IUPUY
Friday, January 15
Part One: 9-11am; Part Two: 1:30-3:30pm, ARC MP6
FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)
Presenters: Office of Public Affairs and University Legal Counsel
Wednesday, January 27
9-10:30am, ARC MP6
Thanks to all of you for giving it your all for the University and our students. Together, we will continue to transform the lives of Illinois students.
Monday, September 28, 2009
On October 2, 2009, there will be a performance at Assembly Hall of someone wearing an imitation Chief Illiniwek costume. This event is sponsored by Students for the Chief, a registered student organization (RSO), which has rented the facility and incurred all expenses. This program is NOT sponsored by the University, nor by Student Affairs. While the "Chief" may have personal value to some individuals, it has no institutional identity at the University of Illinois since the Board of Trustees voted to retire the chief on March 13, 2007.
University policy allows RSOs to rent the Assembly Hall, to pay rental and all expenses for operating the facility, including ticketing, setting up, use of equipment, security and cleanup. In November of 2008 when the same group sponsored this event, they were billed over $15,000 in charges and paid all fees without using any University or student fee funds. The right of free speech and assembly does not allow the administration to differentiate in the application of University policy based on the content of a group or individual’s speech. The fact that this event is taking place does not indicate that the Chief will be reinstated. As the Board of Trustees directed, the Chief Illiniwek tradition ended in 2007.
Numerous student organizations as well as the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations are offering a series of events and activities that encourage people to think critically about the inclusion and exclusion of Native Americans in the cultural, political, and educational landscape of the United States. It is our hope that programs like these will increase awareness of the issues, provide more avenues for dialogue and promote the cross-cultural understanding we need to create a respectful and caring community.
Some would say this is a difficult time to be in higher education and particularly in Student Affairs. Since the recession hit in late 2008 and early 2009, many of us have been waiting for the effects of the economy to trickle down into higher education. Typically, this happens in the form of reduced state revenues and students and their families feeling the pinch of the economy by making college choices based on limited finances. So at the same time that state dollars are shrinking, the University responds by limiting increases in tuition and student fees that could make up the difference in revenue. The results for us this year is a 0% salary increase, the desire to keep student fees flat, and cuts in state supported revenue.
But I’m an optimist and I believe in focusing on strides we’ve made and the creative ways we are finding to save money and preserve energy resources. Student Affairs staff from across the division are finding ways to collaborate on programs and services—the way to get things done when resources are tight. Initiatives are moving forward with a comprehensive plan in the works for diversity education. Our fund-raising efforts are finding new direction and energy and the Emergency Dean Fund is sparking the interests of alumni far and wide.
The best thing about going into the 2009-2010 academic year is our students: more diverse, bright and eager to engage in the Illinois Experience. They are the Millennials: the group that comes to campus expecting to be involved in co-curricular activities, particularly those with an emphasis on service. These students have a penchant for technology and consequently, we are discovering new and different ways to communicate with them through Facebook and Twitter. They demand a secure, regulated environment and are respectful of norms and institutions. They are close to their parents and we are learning how to work effectively with their families to better serve them. As always, these students are challenging in some ways and their characteristics are welcome in others.
In closing, I’d like to say that I truly appreciate everything you do. I believe that we are the most talented, resourceful and creative Student Affairs organization in the country. President White once asked me how I sleep at night with 42,000 students doing all the things that students do to complicate our lives and theirs. I answered that I sleep well because of our experienced, smart and creative Student Affairs staff. On behalf of the students and the administration, thanks for everything.
Enjoy the Ride
The end of the academic year is closing in and just when it seems as if things should be slowing down we are instead on a wild roller coaster ride that won't end until after Commencement. In addition to taking care of students who are stressed, overwhelmed and tangled up in some problem or another, we are working to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of our students. As you know, budget issues are looming as well with many unanswered questions and an unclear picture of our financial future.
Despite all of the difficulties we face, Student Affairs at Illinois continues to excel and to do an absolutely spectacular job of serving our students and preserving the quality of the Illinois experience. I am so proud of this division, every department, and our staff. During the next few busy weeks, remember that students are at the core of our work and each and every one of you is making a difference for them. By helping students succeed, we are contributing to the future of this country and the world. I truly believe that.
Also, don’t forget to keep balance in your lives. Talk to other staff, spend time with family and friends, and laugh as much and as often as possible. I will do my best to keep you informed of the budget situation and any other administrative decisions that will affect Student Affairs. I will continue to look for every opportunity to get your input. On this wild April and May roller coaster ride, have fun when you can and hang on to your hats.
Student Affairs Goes Public
Spring semester brings with it a host of venues that impact the campus in a variety of ways: Martin Luther King Jr. Observance, “Unofficial” St. Patrick’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day observed, Spring Break and Commencement. In addition to these events, I am very proud of the opening of the Women’s Resources Center (formerly Women’s Programs) on the second floor of the bank building on the corner of Greet and Wright Streets, 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Floor. Women’s Programs, which has been doing remarkable work for many years, now has a space of its own. The Center will provide new opportunities to reach students and build a strong gender equity community.
In the coming months we will be issueing what we hope will be the first in a series of public service announcements. The first: “Create Your Community: Respect Yourself and Others” is an awareness campaign to inform students of some of the negative consequences of drinking to excess. We hope this campaign will empower students to take ownership for their actions and appeal to their sense of accountability to the campus and community. Most important to all of us is keeping our students safe and healthy. We are thrilled to have the support of the campus community, and the MTD, in bringing this message to light.
As Student Affairs professionals, we welcome collaboration and shared commitment to this endeavor. Let’s work together to make the campus safe and welcoming for all students.
If Student Affairs units have additional information to share, please feel free to contact Julie McMahon, email@example.com, so that we can help make our campus one that believes in respecting everyone.
To our shared community,
C. Renée Romano
New Student Affairs Website
As you can see, Student Affairs has a brand new website and I’m really excited about it. I think it presents our division as a unified group focused on the student experience at Illinois. I hope you're finding it informative and useful.
In addition to promoting Student Affairs both on and off campus, it is my intention to use the website as a way to communicate to student affairs staff on a regular basis. Periodically, I will be posting messages about current news and activities in student affairs as a way for staff to be informed and empowered.
Help us by contributing news from your unit so that we can all celebrate our endeavors and accomplishments. Please consider sharing news from your units in two new pages we're developing:
• "Kudos" recognizes accomplishments on both the unit level and also for individual recognition. It may be a new program that's being identified, or the renovation of a past program. We want to hear about the awards and nominations of your co-worker, or the accolades of community recognition. Send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• "Student Affairs Job Board" now has current positions posted through the University's Job Board, that are now conveniently posted on our website. I'm hoping that this will provide our staff the opportunity to think 'outside' their current venues as a way to better utilize their professional strengths.
In this current time of change and uncertainty, I know that Student Affairs professionals provide not only a stabilizing presence on campus, but are also as the innovators of change. We will continue to keep watch over today's Illinois students and make their time here a positive and productive beginning for their future.
On November 15, 2008, there will be a performance at Assembly Hall of someone wearing an imitation Chief Illiniwek costume. This event is sponsored by Students for the Chief, a registered student organization (or RSO), which has rented the facility and incurred all expenses. This program is NOT sponsored by the University, nor by Student Affairs. While the "Chief" may have personal value to some individuals, it has no
institutional identity at the University of Illinois since the Board of Trustees voted to retire the chief on March 13, 2007.
Student Affairs recognizes that the Chief representation aggrieves some members of our community, particularly in November when the nation is celebrating Native American Heritage month. We value a community that respects and cares for one another, and we will continue to work with students and all members of our community to promote these values at the University.
In November, the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations is sponsoring a series of events that encourages people to think critically about the inclusion and exclusion of Native Americans in the cultural, political, and educational landscape of the United States. Our hope is that these programs will increase awareness of the issues, provide more avenues for dialogue, and promote the cross-cultural understanding we need to create a more respectful and caring community. We invite all of
you to help us in building that community.
C. Renee Romano, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Welcome to Student Affairs Staff:
Join Me Online!
Vice Chancellor Renee Romano would like to welcome all the staff within Student Affairs to join her here, on a regular basis, to share what's going on in the division and to help keep them informed. In this way, you can be aware of new projects, initiatives and upcoming programs on the horizon, along with timely and helpful information which could impact you directly.
Additionally, Dr. Romano would like to share and acknowledge accomplishments and successes, or "kudos" within the division. She may even call upon you for input on certain issues where she wants your feedback.
Please make it a point to bookmark this page and check back to see what's new on today's Student Affairs radar!
2013 Award Recipients