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Samantha Pryor
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The Cal Poly Student Affairs Strategic Plan for 2014-2017 is now in place.

Designed as a “tool” to serve students, the plan incorporates President Jeffrey Armstrong’s 2022 Vision and the Cal Poly Master Plan in order to promote principles such as Learn by Doing, student success, excellence through continuous improvement and maintaining a comprehensive university.

“It is something that unites all areas of student affairs so that we are working together with a common end goal for students,” Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey said. “It allows us to get basic services in place that we should have as the foundation of a residential campus.”

The last strategic plan expired years ago, forcing Humphrey and a team of Student Affairs directors to start entirely from scratch. They started working on the new plan in February 2013, taking small steps to gauge what it would become.

“I tried to survey our landscape of what was going on in the division,” he said. “Once we had core ideas, we tried to get feedback from as many different groups as possible.”

Humphrey assessed the campus and community’s needs by conducting leadership circles: four groups consisting of directors, mid/entry level employees and student graduates who processed a series of questions each week. The groups completed a prioritization exercise that determined what Student Affairs wanted to achieve, avoid, eliminate and preserve, Humphrey said. Additional feedback was given by the ASI Board of Directors, student leadership groups, faculty and administration.

“Our success and the success of this plan requires everyone to be connected,” he said. “Student Affairs can’t do it without the support of everyone.”

The continuous development and support finally allowed Humphrey and his team to complete a three-year plan to establish “infrastructure and divisional unity.” The plan’s short life span was purposefully planned, Humphrey said, and can possibly undergo changes over the next years.

“While we believe this will guide us, we are constantly evaluating it and tracking our progress,” he said. “Some things need to shift focus or might be too ambitious and need to wait for the next plan.”

Biomedical engineering sophomore Michelle Tran appreciated the strategic plans goals. Specifically, she identified with the emphasis the plan puts on creating Learn By Doing experiences, which she believes directly correlate with her success in her major.

“I want to get research experience before going for an internship,” she said. “(The experiences) would help me understand what area of engineering I want to do.”

Humphrey will begin to develop the next plan, which he tentatively assumes will encompass the years 2017 through 2022, when the current plan is two-thirds completed.

Humphrey stresses the goals of the strategic plan to be less reliant on state support, contrary to how Student Affairs has been in the past. He is focusing on looking for ways to draw in new financial resources through private support as opposed to asking for additional funds from the state.

“We can leave the precious amount of state funds that we get to the president and provost to allocate good private support opportunities,” he said.

Furthermore, focusing on graduation and retention — the strategic plan’s “big picture,” according to Humphrey — students will start to feel that there is a greater sense of a larger Cal Poly community on campus.

“We want to make sure that students have a broader sense of connection to [the] Cal Poly community as a whole,” he said.

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