Division of Campus Life

Campus Life Roadmap

Charting the Path for Student Success

The Division of Campus Life is committed to ongoing improvement in the ways we engage with students and campus partners to fulfill our strategic priorities of building inclusive community, promoting holistic and integrated health and wellbeing, and achieving operational excellence.

Our Campus Life Roadmap, Charting the Path for Student Success, outlines the division’s high-level goals and key action steps that will guide our efforts through 2025. It was developed in 2022 through an extensive and collaborative process.

The six goals articulated in the roadmap are grounded in our mission, vision and values. The roadmap is intended to strengthen the division’s existing efforts by building on past and current successes, identifying and advancing new opportunities, ensuring that assessment of impact and outcomes informs the way forward, and committing to transparency and accountability. Through an adaptable and flexible approach to fulfilling our goals, we invite collaboration from students and our campus and community partners as we strengthen Campus Life's role in charting the path for student success.

Explore our Goals and Key Action Steps 

Promote Student Health and Wellbeing

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success roadmap for the Division of Campus Life, we have committed to strengthening the ways we promote student health and wellbeing. With the understanding that everyone plays an integral role in shaping healthy, supportive campus environments, the Division of Campus Life strives to integrate and align efforts across the division, create opportunities for learning with and from leaders in the field, and proactively engage with Brown students to positively impact attitudes and enhance pro-health behaviors. 

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where student populations – including first-generation, low-income, and international students – will have improved access to and knowledge of health and wellness services and support resources. The division’s systems will be automated, timely, and accurate to ensure precise and comprehensive information is in the hands of students and staff when they need it. 

Core Action Steps

The symposium will examine wellbeing on both the macro and micro levels by examining trends, data, systems analysis, and strategies and approaches. Part of the symposium will engage with external partners to identify opportunities for more intentional coordination and collaboration. A national conference will welcome health and wellbeing teams of faculty, staff, and students from peer institutions to share in this work and position Brown as a thought leader.

The interactive virtual health and wellbeing hub will include robust options and opportunities, be updated regularly, and be shared thoughtfully across constituencies. It will allow students and non-student users (working with a student) to understand and access University resources and enable Campus Life staff to track usage and outcomes.

The division will implement new case management software with enhanced features for case tracking, communications, and dashboards. Staff will review, integrate, and implement promising practices in case management and student support to drive new practices that strengthen current efforts. The division will use data to identify gaps, trends, and opportunities for systemic solutions. 

Advance a Robust Undergraduate Residential Experience

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success roadmap for the Division of Campus Life, we have committed to strengthening the ways we advance a robust undergraduate residential experience. As of fall 2023, Brown has 49 residence halls that house more than 5,000 students on campus. The division strives to create a meaningful, holistic residential experience where students can share a sense of belonging to the Brown community, practice and expand what they are learning in their course of study, be supported in the development of healthy practices, and cultivate connections with their fellow students.

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where Brown residences and neighborhood facilities will be fully accessible and promote students’ emotional, social, physical, intellectual, behavioral, and spiritual health. They will foster an environment where students are individually known, and their identities, histories, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs are valued and respected. There will be opportunities for students to engage with peers who will challenge and expand their understanding of themselves and others as responsible and engaged thinkers and contributors.

Core Action Steps

Brown’s vision for a residential experience calls for quality residential environments that meet undergraduate students’ needs for comfortable, attractive living spaces designed to promote engagement and meaningful interactions. The residences should be fully accessible; represent students’ diverse identities and experiences; support students’ needs for connection, interaction, and wellness; provide shared spaces where students can gather together for formal and informal interactions and programs; and allow for students to study, learn, create and share artistic expression together.

The Office of Residential Life will shift the housing accommodation process to fall, provide a fall “early decision” housing selection process for rising seniors, and implement a cancellation fee for rising seniors who cancel their housing selection (to ensure opportunities for rising juniors and sophomores). Shifting and shortening the length of the housing selection process for rising juniors and sophomores will ensure that most students know their housing assignment before the end of the spring semester. We will provide robust communication and support for students throughout the process. 

Additional live-in professional Residential Life staff members will improve the health and wellbeing of students. Wellness checks and lockouts will be addressed by Residential Life, not the Department of Public Safety. By transitioning the Administrator on Call (AOC) system from Student Support Services to Residential Life, the division created a system in which the “tier one” responders are all on campus, and the majority of the AOC responders are supervised by the organization that coordinates the after-hours response. In addition, there will now be a semesterly health and safety inspection of all residence halls.

The opening of the Wellness Residential Experience at Sternlicht Commons at 450 Brook Street has furthered the division’s commitment to the residential experience and a holistic and integrated approach to student health and wellbeing. In fall 2023, three new theme communities were launched with the opening of Brown’s two newest residence halls: the Chen Family Residence Hall and the William and Ami Danoff Residence Hall. This will increase the sense of community among students and provide opportunities for learning and collaboration.

Staff within the division and the College will coordinate to map advising groups to first-year units. They will also review and implement other engagement models, such as hosting non-residential faculty fellows, teaching courses in residence, strengthening faculty connections to existing program houses, and collaboratively developing theme communities in collaboration with faculty and students. 

Enhance Student Leadership to Prepare Students for Life After Brown

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success roadmap for the Division of Campus Life, we have committed to strengthening the ways we enhance student leadership to prepare students for life after Brown. The division creates roughly 800 student employment positions each year; approximately 100 students hold multiple positions. Student employment and leadership opportunities like these can provide students with translatable skills and competencies that will enable them to lead lives of usefulness and reputation after Brown.

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where students can rely on the skills and knowledge they’ve developed at Brown while pursuing their post-graduate professional and personal goals. Student employees will have a greater sense of shared community and purpose. They will benefit from universal learning outcomes that staff identify and assess regularly, as well as more intentional long-term planning of the student employment and leadership experience.

Core Action Steps

The division will collaborate closely with the Center for Career Exploration to make opportunities for students within Campus Life more visible and accessible. We will evaluate and improve our communication with students, including regarding leadership and employment opportunities. 

At the divisional level, students will be offered training and learning opportunities, connecting them across roles and programs. We will provide training for professional staff who supervise students to coordinate processes and share best thinking; establish consistent practices related to recruitment, interviewing, selection, and supervision; and teach staff how to offer coaching, mentoring, and ongoing feedback to support student employees’ performance and growth. We will develop transparent experiential learning outcomes and expectations for all student employees, assess those outcomes regularly, and share as appropriate.

It is crucial that student employees see themselves and their work as connected to and a part of the Division of Campus Life and Brown University. To this end, social networking events and recognition ceremonies hosted by the division will foster a sense of belonging and wellbeing among student employees. The division will standardize student staff job descriptions with clear roles, responsibilities, and equitable and transparent pay structures, as well as standardize the onboarding and orientation process. 

There are many opportunities for incorporating more intentional long-term planning into the student employment and leadership experience. The division will expand our partnerships with the College and the Graduate School connected to their efforts related to student career exploration and professional growth and development. We will identify opportunities for students to develop direct and translatable personal and professional skills and interests inside and outside their employment roles. Additional training for supervisors regarding writing recommendation letters and conducting reference checks will ensure consistent, high-quality support for students seeking opportunities. Additionally, for students who may still be exploring their options after Brown, the division can help with career planning by working with students to identify skills and competencies. 

Strengthen the Graduate Student Experience

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success Division of Campus Life roadmap, we have committed to encouraging new and innovative ways to strengthen the graduate student experience. The division creates the connections and conditions necessary to develop a greater sense of community for nearly 3,000 graduate students who attend Brown each year. By increasing collaboration around related and overlapping needs and opportunities, the Division of Campus Life – working with the Graduate School, the School of Professional Studies, and other key campus partners – can reimagine and strengthen the graduate student experience. 

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where graduate students experience opportunities at Brown that support them during their time on campus and help build their post-graduation network and career and life skills. These opportunities include connecting with other graduate students through programming and unstructured experiences, and providing holistic and integrated clinical and non-clinical resources that support them in the short term while also building life-long resiliency, skills, and knowledge.

Core Action Steps

We can improve the residential experience of graduate and medical students who live in new housing (e.g., River House) or elsewhere off campus, especially in neighborhoods close to College Hill (e.g., Fox Point and the Jewelry District), by identifying mutually beneficial opportunities for connection. In the future new graduate student center, the division will build upon the graduate student programming and community-building work being conducted in the Student Activities Office and the identity centers.

We will evaluate and better coordinate policies like medical leave, critical practices like resource referral, and the work of the care and behavioral assessment team. We will provide additional assistance for support services deans and more consistently track student cases to improve services and reduce risk. Centralizing data and assessment efforts will help identify targeted resource needs and inform interventions to improve efforts. We will continue to strengthen access and care for graduate students at Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

Given the continued growth in the international undergraduate and graduate student populations – especially those with high financial need – we will provide additional support for the Global Brown Center for International Students, and its programs, staff, and resources. 

We will develop and promote more opportunities to hire graduate students in positions across the division. Graduate students bring life experience and skills to the work, as well as academic content expertise and experience as educators that can benefit both the graduate and undergraduate student experience. Employment opportunities in the division can help create a stronger sense of belonging and community for graduate students. We will provide interested graduate students with insight and experience into careers outside of the traditional tenure track, as well as ways to enhance their resumes with translatable advising and mentoring skills for tenure-track jobs, especially at non-research institutions.

Deepen Responsible and Equitable Community Engagement

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success roadmap for the Division of Campus Life, we are committed to deepening responsible and equitable community engagement. Under President Christina H. Paxson’s leadership, Brown has made significant, ongoing commitments to community engagement, including establishing a cabinet-level position and creating a Community Engagement Council comprising Brown faculty and staff involved in community and civic engagement work across campus. 

The Division of Campus Life has a long history of connecting with community partners and supporting students who do the same. Across Brown, hundreds of student organizations are involved in service and social action. Students live, work, volunteer, and socialize in Providence and surrounding Rhode Island communities, contributing to and benefiting from this vital relationship. These student groups represent opportunities for leadership development and community collaboration, including options for students to give back to their communities in various ways and learn to live more independently. 

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where the connections between our students, staff, and the City of Providence are strong, ongoing, responsible, equitable, and celebrated. This requires building on the Providence community’s strengths and supporting their needs, ensuring that Brown students are equipped with the necessary tools and resources to contribute constructively. We will seek to promote the positive contributions of students – especially those living off-campus – to strengthen the relationship between the University and the local community. 

Core Action Steps

Educational workshops and webinars will prepare students for independent living and decision-making as they seek housing in surrounding neighborhoods. Partnerships with the Office of Government and Community Relations and Providence-area neighborhood associations will allow students to connect with community members through formal and informal engagement. 

The division will share spotlights on University and division digital media platforms and publications and communicate updates to the community through partnerships with the Office of Government and Community Relations and Providence-area neighborhood associations. 

Campus Life will leverage opportunities to support all students in Brown’s increasingly diverse student community, especially in increasing and emerging populations such as veterans, students displaced by international crises, and international students. Existing relationships with more than 50 community-based religious life affiliates provide a crucial opportunity.

To expand and align our community engagement work, the division will tap into initiatives led by the Swearer Center, academic efforts focused on experiential learning, expanded partnerships with HBCUs, and support for the new pipeline program for Providence high school students to attend 4-year selective colleges and universities.

Reimagine the Future of Work and Invest in Staff Development

As part of the Charting the Path for Student Success roadmap for the Division of Campus Life, we have committed to reimagining the future of work and investing in staff development. More than 200 staff members work in the division’s 19 centers, departments, and offices. We strive to ensure that current and future employees view Campus Life as a workplace where they feel supported in our inclusive culture, with flexible workplace practices, through professional development and growth opportunities, and thanks to regular recognition. 

By implementing the action steps outlined below, we envision a future where all staff have sufficient access to professional development opportunities and meaningful opportunities for recognition. Staff members and the students we work with benefit from the greater work flexibility afforded by our hybrid in-person/remote work model, which we continue to refine based on staff feedback. Employees’ connection and commitment to Campus Life’s values and mission will be enhanced by building a more profound sense of belonging and inclusion within Campus Life units and the division as a whole. This commitment to staff development will allow us to achieve the best outcomes for staff and students. 

Core Action Steps

The division will establish practices to ensure equitable professional growth and development opportunities. Developing an annual survey will help us measure the impact of professional growth and development opportunities. A cross-division advisory group will assess and recommend professional growth and development opportunities for division staff.

We will identify opportunities for staff to be nominated for and recognized with awards internally at Brown and externally by professional organizations. We will track and recognize professional accomplishments to grow individual careers and advance the division’s standing and reputation at Brown and nationally in student affairs to attract and retain exceptional professional staff.

Identifying cross-division priorities will help drive greater knowledge and deeper understanding of crucial work in the division. We will implement ways to support professional growth and development around core competencies, including diversity, equity, and inclusion; assessment; professional growth and development; financial and personnel processes and practices; team building; and supervision and talent management. 

We will build on the success of previous in-person social gatherings and create dedicated days for inter-division community engagement and learning. We will explore a digital platform that creates opportunities for Campus Life employees to connect and support each other. We will build standardized processes for Campus Life staff to join and participate in standing committees and working groups and will organize these initiatives as a way to enhance professional community and collaboration across the division. We will reinforce a values-aligned, constructive, and supportive culture throughout the division.

Building the Roadmap

In the spring of 2022, the Division of Campus Life began the process to create a roadmap to unify and guide the division. The roadmap, Charting the Path for Student Success, was launched in November 2022.

Throughout May and June of 2022, staff in each department across the division shared their priorities, goals, questions, challenges, opportunities, and hopes for the future with the Vice President for Campus Life and members of the Campus Life senior leadership team. From these conversations, areas of importance were identified for deeper discussion and investigation. Five working groups and a steering committee were created. The members represented a cross-section of the division, with close attention paid to diversity in terms of backgrounds and experiences, stages of career, length of service to the division, and representation of departments, offices, and centers. 

Over the summer of 2022, the working groups each met weekly to develop their charge, collect and assess existing and new data, interview select individuals and small groups of staff and students, meet with campus partners, and investigate best practices at other institutions. They used this process to develop initial recommendations, which were refined by a steering committee consisting of the chairs of the working groups. 

These recommendations, which form the core of the resulting roadmap, were shared with senior leadership in September 2022. They evolved into the roadmap’s goals and action steps, supplemented by others identified by divisional and University leadership. President Christina H. Paxson approved the roadmap, which was launched within the division in November 2022. 

During the spring of 2023, the Campus Life Student Advisory Board met with administrators from across the division to learn about and provide feedback on the roadmap’s goals and action steps; their insights and recommendations continue to be crucial to the implementation of the roadmap. 

The division’s leadership team extends its thanks to Campus Life staff members, students, and campus partners who submitted critical input and feedback throughout the roadmap development process. Their contributions to this plan – in its development and implementation – will result in successful outcomes for our division and our students. We especially want to acknowledge the work of the Roadmap Steering Committee and the members of the working groups who informed and shaped this report. Their work is reflected in this roadmap and will drive the success of our efforts.