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Program Review

In February of 2018, the Division of Student Life conducted an external program review of the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards (SCCS). As part of the program review, a group of experienced student conduct professionals traveled to campus to assess the University’s student judicial process. After the visit, the external review team provided the following recommendations for SCCS consideration.

PART ONE: ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANT ITEMS

Mission

The unit mission statement would benefit from an update to reflect the goals and objectives of the current institutional strategic plan, VolVision 2020, as well as to correspond with the new philosophy of the department and the Code. The statement presently focuses on the process with accountability as the center of the stated purpose and aim of the office. SCCS fulfills the standards set forth within the current statement with regard to the existing programs to educate students about the implications of their decision-making. SCCS’s current focus on transparency, accountability, and collaborative partnerships within the community could be better reflected in the mission statement. An updated mission statement would provide for parallel messages with the Code and clarify the new philosophy of the Code as well as the communication of the resources of the office to the community.

Status: Complete

Program

Continue developing greater educational and developmental initiatives.

Status: Ongoing

Expand methodological design to include more pre/post assessment to more effectively measure change and learning over time.

Status: Ongoing

Pursue continued development in educational programming and sanctioning to continue the upward trajectory of SCCS’s programmatic design.

Status: Ongoing

Allow time for the implementation and assessment of the new Code of Conduct before determining that a new process exceeds standard expectations.

Status: Ongoing

With increasing national reporting trends, SCCS must remain mindful that more staff may become necessary to support Title IX compliance.

Status: Recommendation Under Review 

Complete regular (at least annual) revisions to educational sanctions/programs based on available assessment and evaluation data as well as the exploration and incorporation of innovative enhancements drawn from approaches employed at peer institutions.

Status: Ongoing

Pursue improved collaboration with new leadership in University Housing and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Status: Ongoing

Organization and Leadership

Provide copies of job descriptions for future program reviews.

Status: Ongoing

Create a comprehensive strategic plan, which would provide coherence and uniformity on direction for current SCCS team members, new staff, and key divisional and institutional stakeholder

Status: Ongoing

Continue refining roles within the SCCS office and actively engage in succession planning for each position within SCCS.

Status: Ongoing

Examine supervisory responsibility and lines of reporting in order to limit the over-exposure of human capital and to allow for the continuation of individual and adequate one-on-one meetings.

Status: Ongoing

Human Resources

SCCS is currently understaffed. Additional staff members are needed in order for SCCS to continue to deliver on the office’s recent success and ensure a sustainable model of excellence. Areas wherein additional staff may provide support include, but are not limited to, outreach to the campus community, programming creation and delivery, exploration of restorative practices and conflict resolution service delivery, and effective implementation of the SCCS probation model.

Status: Complete/Ongoing (Additional Coordinator position added in Spring 2020)

Better utilize the Maxient database. There is a need for ongoing training in the database system across key partners. SCCS must develop deep competency in Maxient in order to develop database competencies broadly across units, especially within key partners (Housing).

Status: Ongoing (planned Maxient training rescheduled due to campus response to COVID-19)

Explore shifting some of the responsibilities currently held by SCCS Graduate Assistants to full-time SCCS staff, should new SCCS positions be created, to better ensure that competency, knowledge, and understanding of SCCS practices and procedures remain within the department.

Status: Ongoing (additional Coordinator position added Spring 2020)

Consider shifting some professional staff supervision to the Associate Director role, meaning additional staffing will be necessary to provide a high level of critical training, development, and supervision for graduate-level team members.

Status: Ongoing (additional Coordinator position added Spring 2020)

Provide additional training and develop more robust training protocols for undergraduate student workers, as the office manages sensitive information and processes. Also, as SCCS continues to move into delivery of proactive community education, there may be an increasing need to explore student staffing options in the form of a peer-based educational model.

Status: Ongoing

Ethics

Examine the creation of internal ethical policies and procedures similar to the required Employee Confidentiality Agreement.

Status: Recommendation Under Review 

Law, Policy, and Governance

Annually examine and assess the Code, as well as departmental policies and procedures, to ensure that they remain in compliance with state, federal, and local law. SCCS should also routinely assess policy and provide adjustments, as needed, in response to emerging best practices in the fields of student conduct and Title IX.

Status: Complete/Ongoing (currently revising to comply with new spring 2020 federal Title IX regulations)

Diversity, Equity, and Access

Continually examine and strengthen efforts to create an inclusive environment through additional training on issues of diversity (racial, gender orientation, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.) within the campus community.

Status: Complete/Ongoing

Continue communication and consultation with the Office of Student Disability Services to determine the specific needs of students and whether additional resources are necessary to achieve full structural access for students in compliance with state and federal laws.

Status: Complete/Ongoing

Continue efforts to increase the diversity of staff to reflect that of the student community. As additional staff positions are created within the office and current positions become vacant, future staff selections processes should include intentional hiring processes/practices to cultivate exceptionally qualified and diverse pools to ensure the selection of the best possible candidate.

Status:Ongoing

Internal and External Relations

As the newly-revised Student Code of Conduct is in its infancy in terms of implementation, continue educational efforts to inform the campus of the tremendous change in the mandated policy.

Status: Ongoing

Financial Resources

As SCCS budgeted operating expenses have been substantially cut, while costs have increased dramatically (due in part to the implementation of the revised Student Code of Conduct), SCCS is advised to focus on sustained funding for marketing the revised Code.

Status: Ongoing

Technology

Continue increasing staff expertise level in Maxient usage. Continue improving Maxient competency among stakeholders outside of the SCCS office through additional training.

Status: Ongoing (planned Maxient training rescheduled due to campus response to COVID-19)

Regularly review internal practices to ensure the appropriate level of training with regard to data protection concerns. Coordinate with campus IT professionals to ensure continued compliance in all areas of data management and privacy.

Status: Complete/Ongoing

Facilities and Equipment

There are substantial limitations to current SCCS office space. For example, the space cannot accommodate recommended increased staffing, and there is inadequate small and large group meeting spaces (necessary for expanding educational programs to occur both inside and outside the SCCS office).

Status: Complete (moved to new office location)

SCCS needs a dedicated larger conference room space to avoid seeking alternate (out of office) solutions to facilitate multiple processes at one time. Relocating to, or incorporating additional nearby space, would be a tremendous step toward resolving very real and immediate space concerns.

Status: Complete (moved to new office location)

Assessment

Continue and expand the best practice of gathering individual-level data that can be reported in aggregate to illuminate overall trends and show progress toward achievement of programmatic goals and outcomes.

Status: Ongoing

Continue the practice of providing regular reports to key stakeholders to ensure awareness, increase transparency where possible and inform key leadership decision-making.

Status: Ongoing

 

PART TWO: RECOMMENDED FOLLOW UP ACTIONS AND JUSTIFICATIONS

Increase Number of Full-Time Professional Staff

There is a substantial lack of capacity in SCCS with regard to allotment of time for necessary supervision. Additional SCCS full time employee capacity is necessary to (1) utilize SCCS expertise to promote proactive and positive community education and outcomes and (2) minimize and mitigate institutional risk.

Status: Ongoing (additional Coordinator position added Spring 2020)

SCCS needs two additional full time employees in the office, one at an Assistant Director level and another at a Coordinator level.

Status: Ongoing (additional Coordinator position added Spring 2020)

Secure Adequate Space and Facilities

SCCS needs a larger conference space for full staff meetings, hearings under the revised Code, and delivery of some educational programming.

Status: Complete (moved to new office location)

SCCS should annually examine its technology usage and the spaces in which those technologies are used to ensure that it is growing commensurate with the students it serves.

Status: Complete/Ongoing  (technology improvements made to two conference rooms to facilitate student conduct hearings)

Examine and Explore Reporting Lines and Supervisory Roles

Develop alternative models of staffing if additional full time positions are created. SCCS should consider (1) limiting the Director’s number of direct reports and (2) delegating supervisory roles to other staff members in the office, including to the Associate Director.

Status: Ongoing

Enhance Sustainability Through Implementation of Contingency Planning

Create position-focused contingency plans to capture knowledge and new ideas in the event of a staff departure from the office. A position contingency plan is a detailed written document of the key functions and roles of that position and how that function has been operationalized in the past.

Status: Ongoing

Create an onboarding template for use by current staff and team leadership.

Status: Ongoing

Ensure that critical knowledge and skills do not reside solely in any one individual among the team.

Status: Ongoing

Ensure that staff members receive ongoing training (one such topics as Title IX, VAWA, and Clery) for professional development and to ensure institutional compliance with state and federal law.

Status: Complete/Ongoing

Continue to Build and Strengthen Relationships with Campus Partners

Solidify relationships and collaborative partnerships with Housing, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Status: Ongoing

Explore Feasibility of Restorative Justice Practices

Continue the process of partnership development and communicate more broadly a timeline for implementation of a revised probationary process wherein SCCS engages with campus partners to provide dimensions of support and accountability.

Status: Ongoing

Continue expansion of both proactive and responsive educational efforts.

Status: Ongoing

Explore restorative justice practices and train staff as appropriate in restorative justice and mediation to best meet the needs of students.

Status: Ongoing (considering through use of Alternative Resolution)

Consider a small-scale conflict resolution program, for example, conflict coaching, through SCCS or through a collaboration with the Center for Health Education & Wellness (CHEW) and/or the Office of the Dean of Students and/or Housing.

Status: Ongoing (considering through use of Alternative Resolution)

Continuously Examine Relationships Between Title IX and SCCS

Compete an ongoing or annual review and examination of the interplay between SCCS and the Office of Title IX to ensure continued effectiveness. Such review and examination should include a review and examination of staffing and reporting structures.

Status: Complete/Ongoing

Requirement of Credit-Based Model for Student Panel Training Class

Require all students desiring to become a Student Conduct Board member to participate in a credit-bearing leadership course as a condition of membership, as a one-day training is inadequate. SCCS is encouraged to periodically consult with peer and aspirational schools with similar training programs to build and enhance the course.

Status: Complete/Ongoing (required spring 2019 – paused spring 2020)

Standardize Training for University Staff Participating in Conduct Process

Create and utilize a standardized training for University staff who are employed outside of the SCCS office, including information on (1) available campus resources to address specific needs of students, (2) appropriateness of educational sanctions, (3) how to manage common concerns for students engaged in the SCCS process, (4) an in-depth review of the Code and case resolution process, (5) proficient use of Maxient, (6) investigation methods, (7) appropriate and effective questioning, (8) application of the preponderance of the evidence standard, and (9) available campus resources for sanctioning.

Status: Ongoing

Develop a Strategic Plan to Guide Future Work

Consider utilizing the 2018 program review to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the unit that outlines key priorities, timelines for milestones and completion of key deliverables, and assignment of key roles for the completing said priorities.

Status: Ongoing (began summer 2019)

Gather Documentation to Support Proposed Code Revisions

Create a system for tracking points of learning, successes, and challenges associated with the revised Code.

Status: Ongoing (began summer 2019)

Conduct Comprehensive Assessment of Educational Programming

Design and implement a comprehensive assessment plan to examine the effectiveness of the current offering of educational programming. Pursue a coordinated effort to utilize the data for program enhancement.

Status: Ongoing

Continue to Promote Revised Code of Conduct

Continue to prioritize the promotion of the revised Code through student outreach.

Status: Ongoing

 

Current as of 6/26/2020