To improve student group management, CSE undergoes internal review

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer

The Center for Student Engagement is conducting an internal survey this semester to better serve student organizations.

The Center for Student Engagement is taking a look at the way it manages student organizations through an internal review this semester.

Center for Student Engagement Director Tim Miller said in an interview last week that the office has looked to improve student organizations’ registration experiences this semester, and now a thorough program review will hopefully ensure that students are benefitting from all of the office’s resources.

The review started with a self-study, in which the CSE “looked at [its] entire student organization management process,” Miller said. After nailing down the details of how the office interacts with student organizations, the CSE then began to look at how to improve the way staffers support GW’s more than 500 student organizations.

Miller said two University employees are conducting the audit. After the internal review, which Miller said will end as early as the beginning of this summer, the office will bring in five experts in student life from across the country to provide more feedback on the way it operates.

Miller said that results from the program review will come out in the fall.

The experts are now looking at the results of the self-study to get a handle on how the CSE helps student organizations, he said. Miller declined to specify which parts of student organization management will be reviewed.

“They come on campus and meet with us and sort of talk through what they’ve learned, and they’ll do interviews with certain folks and learn more,” Miller said.

Anne Myler, the director of the Center for Student Involvement at the University of California, Davis, said external reviewers typically come from student engagement offices at other universities. Miller also declined to name the experts coming to campus or any changes the University has made so far during the review.

“There’s a lot of education [about the University] that has to happen because different places are apples and oranges,” Myler said.

Myler added that student focus groups and surveys, unrelated to internal reviews, have led her student life office in finding ways to make it easier for student organizations to register and organize their finances.

Myler said UC Davis’ external review a few years ago resulted in a few “refinements,” but no memorable changes to the student experience.

“They kind of confirmed that we were on track,” she said. “You’re always a little anxious when someone’s coming from the outside.”

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said program reviews to improve student life are common at other universities. Konwerski added in an interview last month that the University is often checking up on how the Division of Student Affairs can better help students.

In the past, the division has reviewed departments like the parent services office and the Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education.

“We typically put out a one pager on recommendations,” Konwerski said in the interview. “We will typically put out at the end [of a year] something like, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking.’”

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