Through all of its component parts (partners, offices, amenities, services, and student employment opportunities), the University Commons strives to serve as the hub and front door of campus for its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. It is the fusion concept of the facility (acting as both the library and the student center) that allows it to act synergistically as a catalyst and incubator for Performance Learning opportunities. It seeks to blend academic experiences with co-curricular activities that support our community’s need and desire to advance, provide, and sustain learning, relaxation, community-building, and civic leadership engagement as well as development. The University Commons provides a sense of belonging and enduring loyalty to Millikin.
The University Commons activates this vision by:
- Providing space and opportunity to nourish the life of the mind through formal and informal discussion, collaboration, celebration, scholarship, and information and resource sharing.
- Creating opportunities for building and sustaining a sense of community and loyalty to Millikin. We purposefully provide a setting that is welcoming and inclusive of all constituent groups – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members and partners.
- Providing formal and informal opportunities for significant Performance Learning and leadership development to occur. This, in turn, delivers on the Promise of Education and prepares students for professional success, democratic citizenship in a global environment, and a personal life of meaning and value.
Statement of Purpose
The University Commons, through the Office of the Dean of Student Development, is dedicated to supporting the University's mission of providing quality educational programs of instruction, research, performance learning, and public service. Our objective is to foster a learning environment and welcoming atmosphere which promotes and encourages student leadership, academic achievement, diversity, and involvement.
The goal of our office is to improve the quality of life on campus through leadership opportunities, activities, programs, and student employment opportunities. These activities are intentionally designed to fit the needs of students and encourage interpersonal and leadership development, acceptance and celebration of diverse populations, and student empowerment. The University Commons is dedicated to forming a diverse and representative population of student employees by regularly reviewing demographics and actively recruiting members of our student body whom are under-represented in our current staff.
- To provide opportunities for student leadership development, academic achievement, and involvement on campus.
- Provide opportunities for student empowerment.
- Create an accepting environment and provide tools for the interpersonal growth of students. Create a forum where students of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds are accepted, understood, and appreciated.
- Develop community on campus by providing a wide variety of programming. Develop programs that reflect the diverse nature of our campus. Provide experiential learning opportunities for students.
- To serve as the community center of Millikin University by providing services, programs and conveniences for students, faculty, staff, and guests of the University.
- To serve as part of the educational process by being a laboratory for practical experiences through which students and others develop their intellectual, cultural, social, physical and ethical selves; act as a conduit for true Performance Learning.
- To serve as a visitor’s center for the campus that will present a positive and supporting image.
- To support recruitment of students and resources for Millikin University through the quality of services provided by our staff.
- To provide an atmosphere and environment which stimulates discovery and examination of knowledge, wisdom and values and fosters self-expression, debate of issues, and respect for the individual regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or age.
- To support Millikin University in its mission to extend the reach of education beyond the confines of the campus by recruiting members of the community, in which this university resides, to use the facilities of the University Commons for conferences and other events.
- To use resources efficiently and to constantly plan, evaluate, and modify to meet the changing needs of those served, recognizing that an ability to deliver effective and quality programs and services depends on our financial stability.
Vision of the University Commons/Student Development Student Employment Program
The University Commons provides a comprehensive student employment program that seeks to augment concepts and theories learned in the classroom. The program deliberately seeks to offer training, assessment, and evaluation in both hard-skills as well as soft-skills and prepares students for future professional employment. The program invites and selects students into entry-level positions and trains them for potential future advancement into student manager-level positions. Student Managers learn and practice how to manage human and physical resources to include training; performance evaluation; employee discipline, rewards, and recognition; program development, monitoring, and enhancement; and operational monitoring, development, enhancement.
Student Building Managers are also trained in asset and facility maintenance and protection; emergency management; and risk management. Students are regularly evaluated for mastery of concepts as well as for purposes of advancement and wage increases. The student employment program is rooted in the student development theories and research of Arthur Chickering's Seven Vectors of Student Development. Lastly, the program seeks to allow students to explore opportunities and interest in the field of student affairs and higher education by providing these pre-professional opportunities for growth, development, and possible future graduate student and/or professional employment in the field.
Learning Outcomes Purpose
Learning outcomes provide the foundation for the goals and objectives of the program. They don’t change the way we operate or train; rather they provide a framework in which we operate on a daily basis. Reasons why having established learning outcomes are important are:
- They provide us a way to “tell our story” to our students and other stakeholders of the University Commons;
- They allow us to meld theory with practice; academics with out-of-class experiences;
- They allow us the opportunity to ensure the development of the “entire student;”
- They bring us in line with industry standards and help us to comply with new standards set by the Council for the Advancement of Standards and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools;
- They encourage consistency across all departments;
- They hold us, as full-time staff, responsible for learning and provide a mechanism for us to be deliberate in our practices;
- They provide a rubric for interaction between full-time staff and our student employment population.
Student Development Theorist
For our purposes, we have chosen to model and base our student employment program on the work and theory of Arthur Chickering. Chickering’s theory emphasizes that students are developmentally diverse, in that some students arrive on campus in the very beginning phase of development, while others have already developed a strong self-image. His theory allows students the freedom, flexibility, and practicality of moving between and among the seven vectors of student development without necessarily developing in a simple linear fashion.
Vector I. Developing Competence
- Students will gain critical thinking skills through various job duties, responsibilities, and opportunities for employment in the Richards Treat University Center;
- Students will learn how to successfully manage conflict, communicate effectively, and building purposeful and successful working and personal relationships within a diverse population.
Vector II. Managing Emotions
Students will learn and display skills associated with balancing feelings, the need to express them, and the perceptions given off when doing so.
Vector III. Moving Through Autonomy Toward Interdependence
Students will learn and display autonomous behavior while recognizing the benefit and necessity of teamwork;
Students will learn and display appropriate problem-solving techniques.
Vector IV. Developing Mature Interpersonal Relationships
Students will learn and display behaviors associated with the celebration of diversity and relationships characterized by openness, trust, and reciprocity.
Vector V. Establishing Identity
Student will learn and display behaviors that suggest successful integration between self and the Millikin identity.
Vector VI. Developing Purpose
Students will be exposed to decision-making opportunities that will assist in the development of skills related to goal setting and prioritization. This will be accomplished by allowing students the opportunity to investigate various interests, career options, and life-style preferences.
Vector VII. Developing Integrity
Students will be exposed to varying opinions and attitudes that will encourage self-evaluation of their own belief system. Students will be faced with increasingly complex and multi-step decision-making opportunities. These experiences will cause them to develop a personal code of values and seek congruence between beliefs and behaviors.
- Unconditional human worth
- Building caring communities