We recently visited Western University which concluded our site visits as part of the second phase of the Supporting Student Success study. Although this was our third visit to campus, it was our first since the university was re-named Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario). The name has changed but the Purple Pride has not. We were continuously struck by the loyalty staff and faculty showed to the institution and their commitment to providing “the best student experience in a research intensive institution.”
We heard about dynamic community service learning experiences which bring course content to life. We met with faculty who work hand in hand with librarians to develop assignments that build on each other. We also learned about a number of collaborations between various administrative, service, faculty and student groups. One that we found particularly interesting was the “live burn.” Given the focus on campus safety, this demonstration brings together the Campus Community Police Service, Residence Life and the London Fire Department and others to show incoming residence students the importance of leaving the building quickly in the event of a fire.
We are always interested in how campuses bring diverse groups together to collaborate on a project like the Live Burn. Our focus group participants shared that Western’s Leaders’ Forum and Professional Network Forum are opportunities where people from across campus have a chance to meet one another and discuss issues of strategic importance to the university. Several of our participants mentioned that it was at one of the forums where they first met someone who they later worked with on a collaborative project.
Although students and student leaders are not regular participants in the Forums, everyone who we spoke to were quick to point out how important students are in supporting their peers’ success. Whether the students are Sophs who are instrumental during Orientation or members of USC, students seem to play an important role in identifying and meeting the needs of fellow students.
We thank those who participated in the focus groups and interviews. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about how those who wear purple with pride support student success. We look forward to sharing our site visit report with you in Winter 2013.