student affairs staff

Student Affairs Focusing on Strengths

When Student Affairs supervisors met up last year, the plan was to get supervisors sharing their strengths. Student Affairs is using the feedback they received from the Staff Experience Survey, to launch new initiatives that could enhance staff engagement, retention and development.

Accomplishments and Actions

Discussion Pods:

Student Affairs leaders were divided into groups and each individual was carefully chosen because they each brought different strengths in different areas. The plan was to get them to learn from each other. These monthly meetings allowed for discussion, learning and growth from their peers and sparked idea sharing and inspiration.

Amy Shuman and Pablo Reguerín
Left: Amy Shuman
Right: Pablo Reguerín

"The important thing is that the survey data was considered in the matching, looking for potential complementary partners who could share ideas in different areas of strength. Strengths are always worth investing more in."

– Amy Shuman, Workforce Development Director

“Ask Me Anything” Sessions:

Led by Student Affairs Vice Chancellor, Pablo Reguerín, the "Ask Me Anything" sessions allow staff to ask tough questions and engage directly with leadership. The goal of these sessions is to elevate questions, ideas and concerns all the way to the highest level.

Staff Retention and Success Interviews:

This is an informal program that adds to the staff experience survey data, as well as supplements annual development conversations that typically take place in conjunction with performance appraisals. Adding these conversations as a divisional program is helping to create more career discussion between managers and their staff. It can sometimes be difficult for managers to engage in these conversations or know what questions to ask. Student Affairs provides tipsheets to assist in making it a productive and meaningful experience for both parties.

Some Sample Guiding Questions:

  • What do you love about what you do?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your contributions?
  • What would you change about your day-to-day job to feel more engaged?
  • What ways would you like to grow in the year ahead?
  • What strengths of yours feel under-utilized?
  • What can I do to best support you?
  • What can we start, stop, or keep doing to ensure a healthy and enjoyable work environment?

Downloadable version found here.


“The relationship between staff and their managers is critical to employee engagement and these interviews are a tool we use to empower a culture where we having meaningful conversations with our people is prioritized and valued.”  -- said Shuman

Staff Coaching and Professional Development team at Student Affairs
Staff Coaching and Professional Development team at Student Affairs
(L-R: Amy Shuman, Lorna Gill, Nellie Fitzgerald, Jeff Heiser)
Staff Coaching and Professional Development:

In Student Affairs, there are dedicated staff whose job is to help with staff coaching and professional development. Incorporating staff coaching and professional development is a big investment in advancing a learning, growth and development culture. 

Some plans for this new year include:

  • Incorporating strategies to become a strengths based division
  • 360º coaching and feedback assessments
  • Coaching people around leadership, and
  • Managing burnout. 

Student Affairs has also been preparing and developing supervisors by offering coaching skills training based around leadership so they can, in turn develop high-performing and engaged teams. They have also been hosting opportunities for staff to obtain Strengths Coaching Certifications. 

“These are some big investments that show the commitment of our leadership and I am so grateful to be part of it because it is exciting work” – Amy Shuman





staff experience badge

Recently, Student Affairs created the Student Affairs Staff Scholarship which would allow staff to use the funds to enhance their career advancements or even seek more education. The award fund would complement the already funded development supported by individual departments. To learn more about the scholarship, visit this site.

Student Affairs’ leadership team is part of the Staff Experience Network that was formed to work alongside the Campus Staff Experience Advisory Group and communicate changes at the local level, where the network can make the most notable difference. Read more about the network here.