Student Affairs

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Overview

Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels who come to Notre Dame rightfully expect to receive top-notch academic preparation. But education here extends far beyond coursework and research, to the development and formation facilitated by residential life, student development, and a culture grounded in the University’s Catholic, Holy Cross mission, which seeks to educate both the mind and the heart.

Through its various constituent units—ranging from Campus Ministry and the Gender Relations Center to the University Counseling Center, the Student Activities Office, and the Center for Career Development—the Division of Student Affairs brings together the intellectual, spiritual, moral, and social dimensions of a student’s Notre Dame experience.

Just what that “Notre Dame experience” is can be hard to define, but for most, it has much to do with the striking sense of community we strive to maintain. The Division must therefore continuously look to evolve and improve the support it provides to students so that we, as a university, can do an ever better job of meeting their needs and encouraging them to become fully engaged members of the Notre Dame family.

Sometimes achieving this mission requires entirely new initiatives; in other cases, it demands an abiding commitment to those central, enduring elements of our tradition that set the University apart, such as our beloved residence hall system.

But whether it is implementing an innovative solution, serving as the caretaker of a cherished legacy, or blending the two, the Division of Student Affairs plays a lead role in the University’s efforts to fulfill our obligation to this generation of students. For no matter how rigorous the academics, an education that does not place an emphasis on personal growth and development fails to help students discern who they are called to be in the world.

The Division of Student Affairs brings together the intellectual, spiritual, moral, and social dimensions of a student’s Notre Dame experience.

View Strategic Plan News

Goals

The Division of Student Affairs has identified four overarching goals as part of its strategic planning process, each of which advances two or more of the five University-wide goals:

Students stand and wrap arms around each other singing the alma mater.

1. Foster Christian community inspired by the charism of the Congregation of Holy Cross that embraces all individuals, calls for active contribution by all members, and seeks the integration of mind and heart. 

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Strategies

  1. Cultivate students’ understanding of intersectionality, engagement in diverse communities, and commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all
  2. Enhance the upperclassman student experience and senior retention in residential life
  3. Obtain the financial resources needed to create and construct more visible, integrated spaces dedicated to all aspects of diversity and inclusion in LaFortune
  4. Formalize hazing prevention education and expectations for student leaders
  5. Explore how international Gateway locations can more explicitly integrate our Catholic, Holy Cross residential mission
  6. Restructure programming and support resources for students with spouses and children
  7. Study how the frequency and types of housing accommodation requests affect our residential mission

Students locking arms walk out of the Notre Dame football field tunnel.

2. Support students’ formation as they deepen their faith, cultivate moral virtues, develop healthy relationships, become servant leaders, and reflectively and prayerfully discern their future.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Strategies

  1. Strengthen programs and support resources so historically under-represented, LGBTQ, international, under-resourced, and/or undocumented students can flourish at Notre Dame
  2. Address additional policies and procedures that should be consistent across residence halls
  3. Increase intentionality and collaboration of faith formation across the Division and evangelization efforts of Catholic undergraduate students
  4. Enhance career connections for our students by deepening existing collaborations and proactively engaging industries and fields with non-traditional hiring practices
  5. Assess the effectiveness of the Moreau First Year Experience course with First Year of Studies
  6. Discern mission-sensitive ways to engage students in conversations about intimacy and sexual health

A woman does yoga during sunset at a lake as boats sail in the background.

3. Nurture the safety, health, and well-being of our students with respect for each individual’s human dignity.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal IV: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Encourage students to develop and utilize bystander skills and reporting resources related to cultural competency, interpersonal violence, and mental health
  2. Ensure that all Divisional peer leadership roles promote individual students’ emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being
  3. Modify the procedures and structure associated with managing Title IX reports to provide better support for students and ensure sustainability of staffing model
  4. Form a shared, updated understanding of the risks and objectives related to undergraduate student alcohol and marijuana use
  5. Improve protocols and support systems for intoxicated students and those receiving emergency care
  6. Solidify responsibilities, procedures, and communication related to mental health, behavioral incidents, accommodations, and withdrawals in study abroad programs
  7. Build robust referral, support systems, and partnerships for all off-campus students
  8. Utilize internal and external expertise to assess emerging medical research related to contact sports and activities

Students sit in the Duncan Student center.

4. Strengthen a cohesive, mission-centered division, operating with compassion, innovation, and effectiveness.

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal IV: Foster the University’s mission through superb stewardship of its human, physical, and financial resources
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Open the Duncan Student Center successfully and optimize connections between building occupants and other Division facilities
  2. Continue to prioritize all types of diversity and inclusion in hiring, training, and retention of professional and student staff
  3. Enable our staff to better understand and incorporate the Catholic tradition and the charism of Holy Cross in their work
  4. Share departmental best practices to improve staff experience, encourage professional development, and foster a deeper understanding of the work of other departments
  5. Renew departmental services and programs through external reviews, assessment of trends in the field, and programmatic evaluation including retiring programs as applicable
  6. Build a student creative agency to support the communication efforts of Student Affairs departments


Learn more about the Division of Student Affairs by visiting studentaffairs.nd.edu.