The Spark

Igniting Innovation in Student Development

Volume 3: April 17, 2015

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A Message from the Vice President

For the better part of a year, the Division of Student Development has engaged in an effort to innovate and renew our work with students. Our primary focus has been improving the campus climate for student success and the role we play in fulfilling the promise of the Redhawk Experience. As I look back on the year, I am amazed by the distance we have traveled, and I am ever grateful for interest and investment of our partners and colleagues around campus who have helped us along the way.

Led by the recognition that Seattle University students want to contribute to the world in extraordinary ways, our work has compelled us to ask difficult questions about how we can serve our students more effectively. We analyzed several years of qualitative and quantitative data about students’ experiences at SU and concluded that it is not only possible but also imperative that we “move the needle” on several key aspects of the Redhawk Experience.

Accordingly we set a bold and innovative agenda that put students at the center of our work. Our priority areas are student success and engagement, community & well-being, divisional operations, and innovation. Under the rubric of these priorities, summarized below, the Division of Student Development has realigned to create an exceptional student experience and develop necessary but currently absent capacities. Our sights are set on on-time graduation for every student and preparing them for our rapidly changing world. The vision of the Division of Student Development is to help our students achieve success while at Seattle University and to empower them to lead meaningful and extraordinary lives in service of their communities when they graduate. We are focused on truly innovative methods for reaching not only today’s student, but tomorrow’s as well.

Over the next several weeks, members of the division are meeting with students, staff, and faculty to discuss our organizational shifts, to seek input on successful implementation, and to share ideas to strengthen existing and develop new partnerships. I am also hosting three larger town halls, two for students and the other for faculty and staff. Please find details for these town halls below.

Thank you, once again, for the important role you have played thus far, and thank you, in advance, for your continued involvement and feedback for a successful implementation of our organizational objectives. Students will be better-served because of our collective work.

In gratitude,


Student Development: Fulfilling the Promise of the Redhawk Experience


  • Improved climate for student success
  • A vital and engaged campus life that supports and challenges students to create the conditions for personal transformation and that empowers them to become leaders for a just and humane world


  • Integrated Jesuit education for leadership
  • SU pride and community
  • Holistic student well-being
  • Diversity and global engagement and multicultural competence


  • Focus on retention and on-time graduation related initiatives
  • Set data-informed priorities
  • Pursue organizational objectives rather than personal preferences

Divisional Priorities

Student Success & Engagement

  • Create comprehensive transition experiences for all students
  • Build a culture of student empowerment and leadership formation


  • Develop necessary but absent capacities (family engagement, fundraising, data use)

Community & Well-being

  • Implement a “No Wrong Door” approach for student success
  • Follow a comprehensive health and wellness strategy
  • Develop a comprehensive housing strategy


  • Create an innovation culture focused on innovation domains
  • Reimagine learning communities
  • Develop and implement new Redhawk Experience programs

New Organizational Structure

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iLead 2015

iLead, our annual leadership training conference for positional student leaders at Seattle University, began online with a series of interactive modules hosted via Canvas. This past Friday and Saturday, the 250 participants participated in a conference on campus that included a keynote by 2012 alumnus Osbaldo Hernandez-Sahagun and workshops facilitated by undergraduate and graduate students and staff.
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