In April, The University of Toledo Division of Student Affairs budget was cut 5 percent and led to multiple layoffs, including many in the Office of Student Involvement.
After rising concerns of who will take over the duties of those laid off, the division has created a functional organizational chart to ensure each area of Student Affairs is properly supported, and it has adopted new strategies to communicate more effectively with students.
Once a draft of the functional chart was posted, the division held an open forum titled “Students Speak” June 24 to ensure it would receive more student input. The open forums are an opportunity for all students to voice their comments and concerns, said Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, vice president for student affairs.
The division plans to make these forums a monthly occurrence that will vary in location and time in order to fit a wide range of students’ schedules.
“I’m excited about the opportunities these strategies will provide to improve our communication with all students,” Patten Wallace said. “Now we’re going to be where the students are and will give them more chances to come directly to us.”
Facebook is another tool the division is utilizing so students can be updated with information quickly and they can view or respond to anything at their own convenience.
With almost 750 fans following the division’s updates, Patten Wallace sees it as a perfect opportunity to open up students for more discussion about the progress of Student Affairs and new ideas or events that are planned.
The division also plans to create a Student Advisory Board made up of representatives from larger student organizations.
The board will meet monthly with Patten Wallace to provide student input on future decisions and bring any student issues to the division’s attention.
To further open communication between Student Affairs and all students, the division will present a monthly report at the Student Senate meetings and will set aside office hours each week for students to walk in and express their comments or concerns.
Rui Li, a member of the International Student Association, has faith in the student-centered staff of the division and all student leaders on campus.
“I believe as long as we stand together and work for the good of the student body, things will work out,” Li said.
To become a fan of the Division of Student Affairs on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/utstudentaffairs.