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Office for Student Affairs Strategic and Assessment Plan

Executive Summary

Between fall 2014 and spring 2016, the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee engaged in information gathering and planning to develop the following strategic plan. This process included, but was not limited to:

  • Reviewing peer institution strategic plans and annual reports,
  • Conducting an analysis of OSA’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,
  • Drafting vision and mission statements and gathering feedback regarding them,
  • Gathering feedback from campus partners on OSA functions, processes, and services,
  • Identifying and gather feedback regarding strategic priorities, and gathering examples of how OSA units are supporting them, and
  • Developing strategic planning materials.

In addition, the Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee considered several issues that affect the University of Minnesota as well as the landscape of higher education in general. Major theme/issue areas in student affairs include:

  • The growing concerns related to supporting student mental health,
  • Title IX compliance at institutions,
  • Tuition/financial concerns related to paying for higher education,
  • Campus climate conversations and growing trends of student activism on campus, and
  • Fully supporting the changing demographics of those engaging in higher education.

The four strategic areas of OSA’s plan were developed as a result of extensive consultation and consideration of their alignment with the existing three thematic areas that structure student affairs: Student Advocacy and Support, Health and Wellbeing, and Student Life. Moreover, OSA’s strategic goals both complement and support the University of Minnesota’s strategic plan, Driving Tomorrow.  

OSA Goals and Priorities


Strategic Goal Areas

Build a holistic, integrated approach to student success

Student success is our primary goal. Through programming, initiatives, and services, the Office for Student Affairs seeks to develop the complete student and empower them to be successful.

Support collaborations across the Office for Student Affairs and University units

The work of supporting students is not done in a vacuum. Collaborations, both internal and external to the University, are essential to ensuring that students are well-served and that they have a robust and engaging student experience.

Establish a culture of effective communication

Effective communication is paramount to ensuring that our story is being told and that we are cultivating key partnerships to advance our work. The Office for Student Affairs is committed to effectively communicating with internal and external stakeholders in a manner that allows us to be successful in our work.

Leverage resources to support employee engagement

The Office for Student Affairs values the work of its employees at all levels. We strive to create an atmosphere that is conducive to high morale and engagement among all staff in our organization.

OSA Vision, Mission, Values, Brand


Empowering each student to be successful


The Office for Student Affairs provides services, programs, and facilities that foster student development and well-being, promote an inclusive environment, inspire life-long positive contributions to society; and enrich the University of Minnesota community.


  • Health and Well-being
  • Advocacy and Support
  • Finances, Funding, and Facilities
  • Organizational Health and Effectiveness
  • Learning and Engagement
  • Living and Learning
  • Career Development for all Students


Connect. Engage. Grow.

Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee Members

  • Lamar Hylton, OSA Student Life (Co-Chair)
  • Laura Knudson, OSA Advocacy and Support (Co-Chair)
  • Julie Sanem, Boynton Health Service (Co-Chair)
  • Tony Brown, University Recreation and Wellness
  • Becky Hall, Career Services Administration
  • Michael Huyen, Student Conflict Resolution Center
  • Mark Karon, University Student Legal Services
  • Erin Kober, Student Unions & Activities
  • June Nobbe, Leadership Education and Development–Undergraduate Programs (LEAD–UP)
  • Denny Olsen, Student Unions & Activities
  • Jerry Shih, Student Counseling Services
  • Susan Warfield, Student Parent HELP Center

Assessment philosophy and process

The Office for Student Affairs is committed to providing engaging opportunities that make significant contributions to student learning and development. To accomplish this goal, we believe in fostering a strong culture of evidence that allows us to tell our story and accomplishments in a manner both cohesive and concise. Specifically, our assessment efforts helps us make data-informed decisions about the programmatic and operational aspects of each unit. In this way, we are committed to a culture of continual assessment, one in which we analyze, in real time, all of our programs and initiatives and their larger contribution to our strategic path.