Welcome, from the Vice President and Dean of Students
Welcome to Student Life at Hiram. Our goal is to help all of us at Hiram College recognize that we all play a role in the quality of student experience, both in and outside the classroom and that "student life" is not the domain of any one group of individuals. Rather, we are all about the task of making student life a contributor to the quality of our learning community and to the success of every student.
My philosophy is based on three principles. First, I believe that the aim of education is to accept all persons at whatever stage they may be in their development and enable them to expand their capabilities. Therefore, all persons should be welcomed into the learning community and accepted for the unique gifts they bring as learners and teachers. Student affairs professionals promote learning and understanding about the unique gifts that accompany different cultures, races, classes, genders and generations.
Second, I believe that liberal arts education is the keystone to an educated citizenry, an educated citizenry vital to the survival of democratic society and a civilized world. Learning from the past is essential to understanding and embracing the future. To live in the present and prepare for the future, we need all kinds of learners who can appreciate the interrelationship of knowledge, and think creatively, critically, and caringly. Our planet is in jeopardy, war is underway, children are starving, and we have yet to grasp how to better the lot of humankind. Therefore, we need citizens who see the connections between cause and effect, and who think globally and are able to use the tools of science and letters to solve the problems of our world. Student affairs professionals play a vital role in bringing intellectual intelligence together with the practical, ethical and emotional intelligence needed for a productive life.
Third, I believe that liberal learning occurs most readily when students are encouraged to make connections between learning and practical experience. Laboratory work, residence life, community service, internships, student government, study away, campus work study, field trips, service learning, campus activities, and independent study are all useful tools that educators can use to make liberal learning relevant and practical. I believe that such "connecting" activities are particularly important for today's learners. Students can be inspired by the creative contacts that flow from collaborative engagement, as well as individual scholarship. As Diane Ravitch discovered in her study of early public schools in America, there is no "one best system." Student affairs professionals look for teachable moments to enable individual potential to unfold.
What faculties initiate and inspire through the curriculum, student development professionals apply, nurture, and enrich in the co-curriculum.
Elizabeth M. Okuma
Vice President and Dean of Students
Student Life Goals
- Strengthen collaboration across the college
- Establish long and short term goals in all departments to improve student satisfaction with campus life, effective use of staff, and prudent use of resources
- Review protocols and practices to reinforce community, civility, and fun
- Develop strategies to enhance student success at Hiram College by creating early warning and intervention strategies for disengaged, at risk and able, but unchallenged students at all levels
- Assess the effectiveness and efficiency of summer mailings, orientation, institute week, and opening of college practices
- Integrate new employees and refine position responsibilities