Housing and Residence Life brings in review team

Jessie Hellmann

The Office for Student Affairs brought in an external review team to campus to conduct a three-day assessment of Housing and Residence Life to ensure that the best experience possible is being delivered to students.

“We want students to have a really strong, positive experience when they come here,” said Associate Provost for Student Affairs Marcia Kiessling. “We do some things really well but we want to know what we need to work on.”

Housing and Residence Life decided to conduct the review after the recent changes in campus administration, Kiessling said.

“The review team’s purpose is to help us take an objective look at the department,” Kiessling said.

To prepare for the arrival of the team, Housing and Residence life conducted a self evaluation using standards set by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

“Ten years ago this department did a CAS self study. What often happens is you’ll do a self study and then you’ll bring in reviewers. … We didn’t have the institutional commitment at that time to do,” Kiessling said.

Six of the 14 CAS standards were analyzed as part of a follow up to the study done 10 years ago.

The review team, which was comprised of housing administrators from Texas A&M, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Ball State, spent three days touring USI’s campus and holding focus groups with students, staff, administration and faculty.

“The focus groups give individuals the chance to tell their stories. Each group has a unique perspective on housing and we want to give a voice to the common themes within the student experience,” Senior Associate Director Allan Blattner said.

Blattner is also a member of The Association of College and University Housing Officers, which sets the standards that university housing departments evaluate themselves against.

“Our job is not to make recommendations or to find solutions. Our job is to point out areas of opportunity,” Blattner said. “Sometimes you need someone to come in and shed some light on some things.”

A first draft of the review is expected in early November with the final draft to follow in the weeks following.