2014 CSU Annual Reports to the Board of Trustees
The June 2, 2014 meeting marked the first occasion in which the Creighton Students Union presented Annual Reports on behalf of the student body to five committees of the Board of Trustees. I hope that you find insight in our reports to the committees on Student Affairs; Athletic Affairs; Building and Grounds; Mission, Jesuit Identity, and Community Outreach; and Academic Affairs. We, as students, are excited and grateful for this opportunity to share with you the student perspective on the activities in these five crucial areas that occurred during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Again, I hope that you find insight into the student opinion on the issues that presented themselves this past year in these areas. I further hope that these Annual Reports continue to be valuable to you in the years to come as you work to make decisions for this great University. The goal behind these reports, which I feel was accomplished, was to give deeper insight and thought than you might receive at the student dinner or in passing regarding issues and events facing Creighton University. I think you will find these reports to be overwhelmingly positive regarding the direction of Creighton University and the concerns that are shared are genuine concerns held by students. I believe that the concerns are raised in hope to contribute to making this special campus even better in the future.
Thank you to Ms. Gail Werner-Robertson, Father Lannon, Dr. O'Connor, Dr. Cernech, and the rest of the CSU Leadership team for your thoughtful insight and discussion throughout the process to increase student feedback to the Board of Trustees. The Executive Summaries of the CSU Reports can be found below.
Creighton Students Union
2013 Visibility and Transparency Report
After several months of investigating the environment at Creighton, there are several areas in which visibility and communication can be improved within the Creighton community, especially between administration and the student body. Following the investigation, there are several areas on which to improve within CSU and the dissemination of information within the student body. There are also several areas in which to improve the dissemination of information between Creighton University and CSU/the student body. These areas are identified within this document with proposed solutions. The purpose of this Report is to outline the plan, on behalf of the student body, to increase student input and feedback to the University and more effectively use currently available mechanisms of communication.
Marketing and Communications
Current Status of Project: Proposal
Next Steps: CSU Approval and Coordination with University to Create
A common theme of the investigation this summer has been how we, as students, can communicate necessary information from administration to the students. As the communicative arm of the University, Marketing and Communications is an obvious area to examine for potential improvements on reaching students.
Following talks with Carol Ash, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications, propose beginning a Marketing and Communications Advisory Board, similar to Advisory Boards that currently exist for areas like Reinert Alumni Memorial Library or the Skutt Student Center. The Board would be advisory in capacity and would be comprised of 4-5 students appointed through CSU, as are other University Committees and Advisory Boards.
This Board would bring helpful information to the professionals in Marketing and Communications on the most effective way to communicate information from the University to the student body. The Board also creates more touch points for administrators and students, continuing to open lines of communication for information on behalf of both parties. Finally, the Board will also provide students in related fields of study the opportunity to experience marketing and communications in higher education, contributing to their post-graduation plans.
Current Status: Ongoing
Next Steps: Establishing Provost Meetings
Breakfasts and lunches students have with administrators are valuable for the administrator involved as well as the CSU President, when involved. Student Lunches with Father Lannon have been successful and popular among the student body and should continue. This Report proposes expanding these to begin similar meetings with the University Provost, Dr. Edward O'Connor.
Another intriguing concept is administrator lunches with students in the dining halls. Perhaps less for feedback and more for simple visibility, seeing administrators in dining halls interact and making small talk with students will go a long way to in bridging the silo between students and administration.
Current Status: Ongoing
Next Steps: Implementation of Fall Training
Students already have representation on University Committees pertinent to our experience at Creighton. University Committees are comprised of university personnel who interact with the campus and its stakeholders on a day-to-day basis.
As an arm of CSU, appointees to University Committees have been under utilized in the past. For several years, the Executive Committee of CSU has not actively engaged with our appointees to these committees. Beginning with Fall 2013, fall training will include sessions for University Committee appointees on how to be effective committee members and contribute to the work of the committee as well as accurately report what occurs at the committee meeting to the student body. CSU will also be working during the 2013-14 academic year to diversify our applicants to these committees. Committee membership can be very beneficial for rising on the leadership ladder while in school and can likewise be great additions to resumes in the future.
More effective use of University Committees is an internal initiative. Formalizing our expectations through governing document updates will help these committees and their student members be effective in their work.
Monthly CSU Focus Groups
Current Status: Final Planning Stages
Next Steps: Implementation of Project
An extremely positive initiative, led by Vice President for Finance Austin Brown, has been the beginning of internal strategic planning for CSU. In the strategic planning process, a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) was conducted with a selection of students representing the diversity of the student body. The strategic planning process will continue and monthly focus groups will be held to conduct similar exercise with the intention of tracking various elements of the strategic plan. Further, this type of activity keeps continual feedback flowing to CSU and helps facilitate the dissemination of information.
These meetings will tentatively be held on the third Wednesday of every month and will be led by the CSU Vice President for Finance.
Monthly Town Halls
Current Status: Planning Stages
Next Steps: Selecting Dates and Topics
In the past, CSU has coordinated fireside chats with the University President. Historically, attendance at such events has been unpredictable and the format stands to be drastically improved to help the visibility and transparency of both student government and University administration. Therefore, monthly town halls will be held on the second Thursday of every month and will feature a different topic that will be advertised to students. These town halls will function more like faculty and staff town halls than a fireside chat. Town halls will be a new way to transmit information directly to the student body and hear their direct feedback.
Election/Appointment Marketing Strategy
Current Status: Planning Stages
Next Steps: Appointment of the Election Committee
The CSU Election Committee will take an active role in the 2013 election cycle and will promote positions and CSU as an organization. Targeted marketing efforts will be used to attract interested candidates for the Executive Committee, Board of Representatives, Program Board, Coordinators, and Appropriations Committee. The election committee will be finalized by the second meeting of the Board of Representatives, as per the CSU Bylaws and will begin their work thereafter.
CSU Strategic Plan
Current Status: Feedback from Student Body
Next Steps: Goal Setting and Plan Formalization
Led by Vice President for Finance Austin Brown, the CSU Strategic Plan will be published this fall. The SWOT analysis, which will be the format of discussion for CSU Focus Groups in the future, was used as the starting point in the planning process. The Strategic Plan, which will incorporate this Visibility and Transparency Report, will be released in the coming months.
Current Status: Approval by Cabinet and Board of Representatives
Next steps: Implementation of new positions in 2013 Election Cycle
CSU will, pending approval by the Board of Representatives and Cabinet, expand the number of coordinator positions.
The new coordinators further define the position of the CSU Executive Vice President, which has been a goal of this team since taking office in January. Each coordinator will report the Executive Vice President. Continuing coordinator positions are: Diversity and Inclusion, Mission, Jaywalk, and Fall Conference. New coordinator positions are: Marketing and Social Media, Student-Athlete, Residence Life, and Fraternity and Sorority Life.
CSU has approached each University area associated with a coordinator interest group (e.g. Office of Multicultural Affairs ? Diversity and Inclusion, University Ministry ? Mission, Residence Life ? IRHG, etc.) and will work collaboratively to appoint people to each position. The goal of the coordinators is to represent populations on campus that are traditionally unheard from via the traditional representation structure on the Board of Representatives. Coordinators will not have votes, but will be called on from time to time to give perspective from the group they represent. Jaywalk, Fall Conference, and Marketing and Social Media coordinators will plan and implement specific tasks delegated to the Executive Vice President.
The coordinators will also meet monthly as a coordinator ?committee? to discuss updates from their respective areas. Minutes from these meetings will be provided to the other bodies of CSU.
Bluejay Bonus Program
Current Status: Final Rounds of Feedback
Next Steps: Project Implementation
A new program coming online this fall, designed and run by CSU, is the Bluejay Bonus Program (BBP). The BBP will serve to help campus programmers increase attendance and raise the profile of their group or event. Designed by CSU Vice President for Programming Meradith Ganow, interested groups will ?buy? into the program and have access to card reader and associated software to track attendance at their events. Attendance will be tracked throughout the semester and students will accumulate points throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, students will receive a prize based on their points standing.
The program was inspired to increase attendance at Program Board and Athletic events, but will be available to any interested campus department. Future development plans for the program include the creation of a CSU position to manage the program throughout the year, under the management of the Vice President for Programming.
Current Status: Application Process
Next Steps: Implementation of Improved Program
Since its beginning with CSU Program Board, Street Team has needed improvement. Feedback from past members shows that they felt ?unneeded, bored, and demeaned.? I wanted to re-vamp the whole idea of Street Team and their meetings to make Street Team more than just a group that hangs up posters.
A return to the original intent of Program Board Street Team is needed: innovative marketing and developing leadership while learning to plan events. Over the course of a few weeks, I generated possible speakers for every Street Team meeting, including anything from inspirational speakers to marketing specialists to advertising professors to past Program Board Coordinators. A curriculum has been developed that will include educational opportunities and team building activities, which have been absent in the past.
New Student Orientation
Current Status: Ongoing
Next Steps: Continuation of Success
With wonderful cooperation and collaboration with Summer Preview and Welcome Week, CSU has greatly expanded the contact time it has with incoming undergraduate students. CSU has long been committed to the success of these programs and wonderful steps have made to solidify the relationship between the New Student Orientation groups this year. Continued CSU presence throughout Summer Preview sessions and undergraduate Welcome Week will be a theme for years to come. The formal relationship between undergraduate Welcome Week and CSU was formalized this August in a Memorandum of Understanding.
CSU has also taken a place in graduate and professional orientation activities. Info booths at orientation sessions for the School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy and Health Professions have shown students the benefits provided by both the individual school governments and the overarching CSU government. Future involvement is likely and will ideally be expanded.
CSU is always willing to meet and collaborate with any University division or department. As the comprehensive student government, the structure exists to disseminate information to the necessary stakeholders ? we simply need to adequately use the structure and the new pieces identified in this report. I urge any area on campus to reach out to the Creighton Students Union to see how we can continue to bridge the silos and build the ?One Creighton? that we seek to build.