University Life Reorganization Brings Mason New Life

Posted: October 10, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lynn Burke

Sandra Hubler
Sandra Hubler

When Sandy Hubler joined George Mason to head University Life a little more than a year ago, it quickly became apparent that the staff was looking to her to implement changes. As vice president of a broad division that covers the nonacademic side of campus life, she has indeed made changes that are helping the university serve its community with creative and forward-looking programs.

According to Hubler, the drive for the changes has been University Life’s 2010 Plan. “We spent all last year developing where we wanted to go, our vision for the future,” she says, “and we needed some new structures to carry forth those priorities.”

New Structure Groups Together Related Programs

Some of the leadership roles and reporting lines were changed within the division to create six clusters of programs with common themes:

  • Health and wellness issues, which include sexual assault, disability, substance abuse and health education services

  • Student development and academic initiatives, which include the new Leadership Education and Development program and Faculty Fellows, and a comprehensive assessment and evaluation program for monitoring learning outcomes and program effectiveness

  • Community life, which includes Orientation and Family Programs, Student Activities, Johnson Center Programming and Student Media

  • Academic and career success, which includes the Early Identification Program, Career Services, Counseling Services and Learning and Tutorial Services

  • Multicultural programs and services, which include the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, Women’s Studies Research and Resource Center and the Multicultural Resource and Research Center

  • International education and programs, which include the Office of International Programs and Services and the English Language Institute and its overseas programs in the United Arab Emirates and Jakarta, Indonesia

Existing Programs Grow in Scope

Some of University Life’s most visible changes have occurred in its community life cluster. The Student Activities Office has turned the monthly First Fridays into Every Freakin’ Friday and is working with the Office of Housing and Residence Life and Mason’s student organizations to provide other programming to keep the campus lively on weekends.

The Orientation Office has become the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services to reflect the office’s expanding role, which takes into account national trends in higher education regarding parental involvement and its effect on student success.

In addition, University Life has expanded service delivery and communication with the Prince William and Arlington Campuses. New staff at Prince William have allowed the division to mirror some of the major student activities, such as a film series, that take place on the Fairfax Campus.

New Initiatives Bring New Opportunities

Leadership education is a pet project of Hubler’s, and she hopes to make the university a national player in this arena. Sponsorship of a National Forum on Leadership Education in December with the Association for Student Affairs Administrators and LeaderShape moves the division one step closer to that goal.

University Life has also inaugurated a Leadership Institute to help student leaders be more effective in their positions. Hubler helped create the L-Team, a group of students trained as peer consultants to help student organizations with motivation, recruitment, group dynamics and training issues. Plans are also in the works for a Presidential Speaker Series to bring high-profile guests to campus to talk on topics such as leadership.

In addition, the division’s new Faculty Fellows Program helps faculty members collaborate with University Life departments to create cocurricular programs that connect faculty interests and expertise with departmental, institutional and student needs.

To help University Life find the resources to carry out its programming, Colandra Coleman was hired to fill a new director of development and community relations position. Coleman, who joins Mason on Nov. 1, will oversee fund-raising, publicity and promotions and community relations initiatives. Most recently, Coleman was director of corporate and individual giving at the Women’s Center, a nonprofit organization in Vienna, Va.

The activities listed above just touch on the many ways University Life is giving Mason new life. To learn more, visit the division’s web site.

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