Standard Six: Students


Wesleyan’s curricular and co-curricular programs serve some 2,900 undergraduates and 200 graduate studentsi. Together, these programs seek to create a campus climate that values independence of mind and generosity of spirit. The University seeks to provide a safe and supportive learning environment in which students sharpen their critical thinking, embrace diversity and civic engagement, and enhance their communication and other life skills. Wesleyan values the cultivation of bold and rigorous thinkers who are also effective citizens.

“Wesleyan students do about seven things at once,” says the Wesleyan website, by which is meant that they lead rich lives above and beyond their studies. Year in and year out students here throw themselves into music or help each other with theatrical productions or volunteer their time and effort in serving those in need. The campus is a fertile place for student-driven initiatives—from environmental groups to clubs centered on the arts and publications to organizations focused on gender identity and social justice issues. The “generosity of spirit” of Wes students is notable, and their ability to organize around an issue, culture, or cause that they care about is considered a great strength of campus life. Imaginative Wes students create their own exuberant culture, and while the distinction between artfulness and idiosyncrasy may not always be clear, their creativity is valued by their peers and other Wesleyan stakeholders alike. Student culture is a source of pride for the institution—but sometimes also concern, as we’ll discuss below. Even in its more autonomous aspects, student culture is framed by the support structures of the University.


Admissions and Financial Aid

The Offices of Admission and Financial Aid work to bring to campus undergraduates who have a high probability of succeeding in Wesleyan’s rigorous academic environment and contributing to a creative and active campus life. The Office of Admission does extensive outreach via print and electronic media, and intensively recruits a diverse geographic, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic population with a wide range of academic and co-curricular interests. Wesleyan admits students through an annual cycle that includes two early decision and one regular admission process. Financial aid is based on a combination of the student’s and family’s ability to pay, and awards consist of federal and state aid, and institutional grants. Wesleyan meets 100% of demonstrated need.

This proportion of students receiving aid in academic year 2011-12 was 49%, where aid is defined as “grant or scholarship aid received from the federal government, state/local government, the institution, and other sources known to the institution.” The prior year (2010–11), it was 48%.

Student Services

Student Affairs provides services and learning opportunities that support students’ work in the classroom and enrich their lives outside it. Reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) are the Dean for Academic Advancement, the Dean of Students and the Director of Graduate Student Services.ii The Dean for Academic Advancement oversees the Class Deans, the Associate Dean for Student Academic Resources, and a part-time Associate Dean of International Affairs. The Dean of Students supervises the Davison Health Center, the Office of Residential Life, the Coordinator of International Student Services, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and the Usdan University Center staff. He also supervises the Assistant Director of Student Life, who coordinates the peer-based Student Judicial Board. The VPSA oversees the student-run Honor Board. Partnering with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs works to provide opportunities for curricular and co-curricular learning in a supportive environment that challenges students to move beyond their traditional frames of thinking.


Admissions and Financial Aid

The second overarching goal of Wesleyan 2020 is to “enhance recognition of Wesleyan as an extraordinary institution,” and one of the ways we judge whether we are making progress in this is by the number of talented young people who want to come here. Application numbers have grown dramatically in recent years (see below), and while it is difficult to know exactly why (conjectures include the arrival of a new president, the commencement speech of Barack Obama, and aggressive outreach in new markets domestically and internationally), the efforts of Admission supplemented by those of University Communications are proving to be successful.

It had long been a priority at Wesleyan to admit domestic first-year candidates regardless of their ability to pay, but in the spring of 2012 President Roth introduced an initiative that changed Wesleyan’s approach to financial aid. The initiative (described in Standard 9) establishes a “discount rate” that is as generous as possible, but that is also one Wesleyan can afford. Just under a third of the University’s tuition charges will go to financial aid.This is approximately the percentage of the budget devoted to aid from 2000–2008.

Wesleyan remains committed to meeting the full financial need of admitted students without increasing required student indebtedness.  In future, the Admission Office will have to consider the capacity of some students to pay, as is done now with transfer and international students. Current estimates are that about 90% of each class (depending on the level of need) will continue to be admitted on a need-blind basis. Wesleyan expects to build a more generous and sustainable financial aid program over time by raising more funds for the endowment.

In recent years, Admission has sought to broaden its geographic reach and stimulate applications from international students as well as those in the U.S. outside the Northeast. For fall 2009, first-year applications increased 22%, and for three years running Wesleyan has received about 10,000 applications. That percentage increase puts Wesleyan third in a comparison group of 16 private, selective liberal arts colleges.iii The challenge is to maintain or grow applications in the Northeast, contrary to demographic shifts, and to continue to increase applications from farther afield. Admission has expanded its professional staff (13 deans as of FY 2011), but further application growth will require support and assistance from many other University constituencies.

Wesleyan thinks of “diversity” broadly, and in seeking to create a diverse undergraduate community, Admission takes special note of strong applicants who are low-income, first-generation-college, international, from outside the Northeast, and of varied educational backgrounds, as well as those whose race and/or ethnicity is under-represented in the Academy.iv Longstanding efforts to bring to Wesleyan U.S. students of color—including fly-ins for October and November Open House programs and for our April admit program—have been bolstered recently by our partnership with QuestBridge. Over the past three years, we have enrolled 12-15 “QB Match” students per year, as well as another 24-25 per class who applied and matriculated through the regular process. While our QuestBridge partnership is focused on bringing to campus talented low-income students, the majority of those who end up coming are students of color. Making Wesleyan more international is also a priority. International applications have increased 36% from 2008 to 2011, and this year we enrolled 70 foreign students, the largest-ever international cohort.

In 2007, with the inauguration of President Roth, Wesleyan undertook a low-income-family initiative, where students from families with income under $40,000 have their student loans replaced with grants. (This includes all the QuestBridge Match students.) At the same time, we capped packaged loans at the Stafford level, which dropped four-year loan levels by one-third, from $27,000 to $18,000. Another initiative funded by the generosity of two Wesleyan alumni provides grant money for students who have served in the U.S. military. Ten veterans have received support since the Military Veterans Scholars Program began in the fall of 2008; six are currently on campus.

In 2005, an analysis of majors and class enrollments made it clear that we could and should have a larger number of science/math majors at Wesleyan, and Admission set about accomplishing that. Publications highlighted opportunities in science, availability of research, the benefits of Ph.D. programs, and the B.A./M.A. program. Admission talked about these opportunities, and science faculty spoke with more students and helped recruit the top science admits. The result has been significant growth in the expression of interest in science among matriculants and in the number of science/math majors.

Graduation and Retention

Wesleyan’s six-year graduation rate for first-year students who entered in the fall of 2006 is 91% overall. Subsets include:

  • Men: 91%
  • Women: 90%
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 90%
  • Black, Non-Hispanic: 79%
  • Hispanic: 93%
  • International: 93%
  • White, Non-Hispanic: 92%

(By financial aid status)

  • Students receiving Federal Pell grant: 87%
  • Students receiving Stafford Loan, but no Pell: 89%
  • Neither Pell nor Stafford: 92%

Graduation rates have trended up slightly over the past decade (from 88.2% for the 1993 six-year graduation rate to the current 91%).v One-year retention rates have remained fairly flat at approximately 95%. For information regarding retention-oriented programs, see Student Academic Support in this Standard, and

Student Services

The last reaccreditation report looked forward to our evaluation of how well the new Usdan University Center would serve as a focal point for campus activity, and we are pleased to report the results below. We have also paid increased attention to some of the challenges posed by student behavior. Wesleyan students at their best find the balance between freedom and responsibility as they make their way through their four years, but at times the balance is tipped as, for example, when poor choices are made with respect to alcohol and drug use.

I. Residential Life

Wesleyan believes strongly in the value of the living and learning that occurs in a shared community. Housing options are based on a model of increasing independence. First-year students live with roommates in traditional residential halls; seniors live more independently in Fauver apartments or wood-frame houses on the edges of the campus.

Over the past six years, undergraduate housing capacity has increased from 2,702 to 2,820, and will increase again next year by 92 beds (newly available in the Butterfield residence hall). In 2005, with the construction of Fauver Residence Hall and Fauver apartments, the number of undergraduate students given exemptions from living on campus was drastically reduced; today that number is less than 20.

The last accreditation review recommended Wesleyan strengthen communal aspects of residential life. Community Based Living (CBLV was created in 2003 to offer first-year students the opportunity to live in a community with a common vision or focus, but with the same residential services and support as the rest of the incoming class. One-third of the first-year class lives in CBLV, which includes substance-free and single-gender floors as well as West College, a social justice hall, the writing floor, and a quiet floor. In recent years, Program Housing (or themed living), available to students beginning in their sophomore year, has increased from 26 to 33 houses (and from 304 to 446 students). Fraternities have been a part of student life here for decades, and by 2010 all but one had joined program housing. The one fraternity refusing to join had created more than its share of problems over the years. After much discussion with the fraternity members and their alumni and national boards, the University last year convinced this last holdout to join program housing—allowing for clearer and more consistent expectations regarding Greek life at Wesleyan.

In addition to its Mission and Celebration statements, Residential Life has seven learning outcomes that guide its programming and interactions with student residents: developing meaningful relationships, civility, independence/interdependence, ethical behavior, healthy responsible living, social justice, and civic responsibility.

Although faculty have long been involved in student staff programming, there has been an increased emphasis on faculty involvement in recent years; in 2011 there were 255 such programs. One of the most notable is the Faculty Fellows program. Introduced in fall 2010, this program provides opportunities for residents of a particular residence hall to have frequent interactions with a particular faculty member. Other programs promoting intellectual interaction among students outside the classroom include the first-year Learning and Living seminars,vi initiated in 2008, and the Writing House,vii established in 2010.

II. Usdan University Center

The Suzanne Lemberg Usdan University Center opened in fall 2007 and has become a vibrant and central feature of campus life. Students, faculty, and staff go there for meals and any number of other reasons; it is the site of program presentations, impromptu meetings, and planned University-wide events. Lectures, student art, banquets, and musical performances are among the many activities that Usdan sponsors for the campus community.viii To promote student-faculty interaction in Usdan, Student Affairs launched a student-faculty lunch voucher program, enabling professors to take their students to lunch and vice-versa. Over the 2010–11 academic year, 179 faculty initiated lunches with students and 115 students initiated lunches with faculty. Students report that the opportunity to talk with faculty outside traditional advising or classroom meetings in a more relaxed setting has helped to break down barriers and promote lively intellectual discussion.

The Center houses a number of offices and services (Cardinal Technology Store, the Box Office, Mail Servicesix, Print and Copy Shop, Bon Appétit Campus Dining) and is guided on policy and programming by the Usdan Advisory Committee. This committee – composed of staff, students, and faculty – has identified four themes on which to focus: art, marketing, intellectual programming, and facility issues.x Additionally, a student programming board sponsors activities on Thursday evenings throughout the year, and the Center has dedicated spaces for outside vendors.xi

In 2007, after many years of student dissatisfaction with campus dining, Wesleyan put out a request for proposals to several dining companies. In 2007–2008, a committee composed of staff, students, and faculty identified Bon Appétit as the new campus dining provider. In addition to Summerfield’s and Pi Café, Bon Appétit opened and now operates the Marketplace, the Cafe, and the Daniel Family Commons Faculty Staff Dining Room in Usdan. Usdan Marketplace is the primary dining facility and offers three meals a day, in addition to the first-floor “to-go” café and late night dining, which is open until 1 a.m.xii Wes Shop is also managed by Bon Appétit and provides a mini-market with a large inventory of groceries.xiii Student satisfaction with campus dining has gone from a low of 39% under the last vendor to 69% and 81% in the last two years. (Annual Senior Survey)

Another place to grab a cup of coffee is the Allbritton Center for Public Life in the recently renovated former student center. This facility enriches campus life and promotes interaction between faculty and students. It also houses the student-run café on the ground floor, provides well-used study space, and a much-used meeting space.

III. New Student Orientation

The goals of the orientation program are to introduce students to the range of academic and co-curricular activities at Wesleyan and to assist them in integrating into the campus community. An important component is the First Year Matters Program, which begins with summer reading on a particular theme, continues during orientation with faculty lectures and smaller conversations, and culminates with the entire class participating in an interactive music and dance event that embodies the theme. This event is referred to as “The Common Moment.”

Each year participants in orientation program are surveyed, and the results are used to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Two summers ago, when the program was being shortened from seven days to five, the survey results were crucial in determining which activities to preserve.

IV. International Students

The Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) organizes the orientation of foreign students on their arrival to campus and provides ongoing counsel on aspects of adjustment to life at Wesleyan—cultural, academic, personal, financial, and immigration. International students, comprising 8% of the student body, have (2012) an average GPA of 90.1, slightly higher than that of their peers, and roughly the same graduation rate of 91%.

Foreign applicants whose first language is not English are asked to submit their score from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service). Admissions expects to see at least a 100 (of 120) on the TOEFL or a score of at least 7 (of 9) on the IELTS. As with any standardized examination, the scores are viewed in context, and the targets are not absolute requirements. If a student scores a 650 or higher on the Critical Reading section of the SAT, the requirement to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score is waived.

A popular writing course among ESL students is ENGL130, The English Essay, offered every semester by the Associate Dean for International Student Affairs.

V. Class Deans

In the fall of 2005, Wesleyan changed its class deaning system; now each dean travels with a single class from orientation through graduation (in the past the student traveled from dean to dean each year). This new arrangement helps the Class Deans to get to know their students well and better advise and support them. Class blogs, which the Deans use to convey information and celebrate student accomplishments, and Class Councils contribute to class unity and identity. Class Councils were introduced in the fall of 2009 to organize events that promote class unity and identity, and these have provided individual students the opportunity to cultivate leadership skills through planning, organizing, and implementing events. The Deans’ Office took stewardship of Phi Beta Kappa in the fall of 2009 and now coordinates the twice yearly initiations of seniors’ elected by Chapter members. The Deans’ Office also issues the Dean’s List, which was introduced in the fall of 2010 to recognize students’ academic achievements. Overall, the Class Deans of today are better positioned to contribute to the success of their students than were their predecessors at the time of the last reaccreditation review.

VI. Student Academic Support

The Class Deans and Associate Dean for Student Academic Support connect students to appropriate academic resources and monitor their progress toward graduation. They work one-on-one with students having academic difficulties, meet with faculty regarding student concerns in the classroom (and vice versa), conduct Unsatisfactory Progress Report follow up, notify faculty and coaches about students on academic discipline, meet regularly with those students, send early warning letters to explain potential issues with credits and GPA, advise and mentor students for different fellowships and scholarships and, along with the Registrar, enforce academic regulations.

The deans also develop and update academic monitoring and advising tools. In the fall of 2005, for example, they initiated the Academic Skills Assessment Survey in order to facilitate a successful transition to college by encouraging new students to reflect upon their study habits in light of University expectations. Academic skills workshops were recommended to students based on their responses to the survey, but attendance at these workshops proved disappointing. Nor was there a high correlation between students’ self-assessment and their academic performance, so the survey was revised for the Class of 2015 to make it solely self-reflective. Getting students to grapple with academic weaknesses remains a challenge. Faculty advisors can also help in connecting students to academic resources and providing encouragement to seek academic support. And students can serve as resources for one another. A peer advising program was developed for Orientation in 2006 and is now a year-round resource. Peer advisors are trained to help students in a number of areas—from advice on how to prepare for meetings with faculty advisors to providing information on academic support programs.

The Office of Disabilities Services (administered by the Associate Dean of Student Academic Resources) was established in 2006 to consolidate under one roof services for students with disabilities. Since then, the number of students who inquire about disability services has risen from 170 to 297. In the fall of 2011, over 125 students received formal reasonable accommodations, more than double the number in spring 2007. In the past few years, the office has added programming on disability issues for staff, faculty, and students and has worked with other offices on campus to look at the University’s status with regards to changes in disability law.xiv Wesleyan in recent years has become a much more accessible campus to the disabled and will continue to promote accessibility.

VII. Health Services: Counseling Center

Since the last reaccreditation process, the Office of Behavioral Health for Students (now called Counseling and Psychological Services) has done a self-study and undergone an external review. Several needs were identified: among them, the need to diversify the staff, to look for opportunities to introduce interns to the Center, and to increase programming and outreach. The office is now under new leadership, and expanded staffing includes a therapist/sexual assault resource coordinator as point person for campus educational efforts in this area. The focus of the office continues to be on individual therapy, the demand for which has increased to a degree consistent with national trends. New efforts are underway to reach those students who are struggling with personal and academic stress but might not feel comfortable seeking therapy. Three third-year psychology graduate students have been hired (20 hours a week) to assist the office in these efforts in 2012–13. Support is provided to the Class Deans and faculty to ensure that students at risk get the attention they need. Coordination among the Counseling Center, Health Services, and Health Education has improved, and the three health offices work now as a team rather than as separate entities.

IX. Wesleyan Career Center

The Wesleyan Career Center (WCC) reports to University Relations, which helps it to establish connections between students and the greater Wesleyan community worldwide. Formerly located at the edge of campus, the WCC moved in the beginning of 2012 to a central location adjacent to Usdan. The new facility has been designed to incorporate the most up-to-date video-conferencing technology, furthering the Center’s ability to connect students with alumni, parents, organizations, and companies around the globe. The WCC and Academic Affairs established a new process for awarding credit for internships, and there is a newly-created Civic Engagement Coordinator position charged with developing and supporting both internships for credit and resources for students interested in social entrepreneurship.

With the move to the center of campus, the WCC is expecting a sharp increase in demand for its services. The WCC currently serves only undergraduates and BA alumni, but MA and PhD students are increasingly interested in receiving career support. To begin to meet this need, the WCC has worked with the Graduate Student Services office to produce a Graduate Career Forum—a one-day event providing workshops and seminars on Academic and Non-Academic Careers.xv  

X. Physical Education and Athletics

A challenge that faces most liberal arts colleges with large athletic programs is the integration of athletes into the social and academic fabric of the institution. Athletes build strong bonds with teammates and spend considerable time training and practicing for their sport. They run the risk of having a very different Wesleyan experience (for good and for ill) from that of students who are not so committed to one facet of their education. With this in mind, Wesleyan coaches encourage athletes to become fully engaged in the curriculum and develop a relationship with faculty members. As is the case with students dedicated to the arts, music, or theater (all of which require an enormous time commitment), the athletes do find ways to integrate into Wesleyan’s diverse community and take advantage of the expansive curriculum. Still, there are challenges, and athletes disproportionately account for more honor board and disciplinary infractions.xvI Fortunately, the overall numbers of such cases are small.

Another challenge for the athletics department is responding to the growth of club sports. Over the past decade more students have been coming to Wesleyan with a background in team sports, but choose not to compete on a varsity team (or don’t have the ability to do so). In the past, intramurals were the outlet for these students, but today the non-varsity athlete wants more rigorous competition. Wesleyan cannot afford to sponsor a full complement of JV teams, so club sports modeled on varsity ones have become very popular. This expansion of club sports, however, is placing tremendous pressure on field space and indoor activity areas. Tiering clubs into three divisions may help relieve some of this pressure, and the athletic department is also exploring the addition of a second synthetic surface field with lights to provide additional activity space.

As mentioned in Standard Four, Wesleyan teams compete in NESCAC, the strongest NCAA Division III athletic conference. Fielding winning teams in NESCAC requires active recruiting of quality student-athletes by Wesleyan coaches. Because recruiting of prospective athletes takes time away from the mentoring of current students and coaches consider student mentoring their highest priority, Wesleyan, along with peer conference members, is considering policies that may restrict recruiting during certain times of the academic year. Fortunately, this difficulty with the time-demands of recruiting does not exist in all sports.

The Wesleyan A+ Athletic Advantage Program is helping the student athlete prepare for life after college through Career Center mini clinics, alumni mentoring, job shadowing opportunities, internships, on campus speaker series, and community service projects. Former Wesleyan athletes are enthusiastic about engaging with current students and providing guidance and support for what lies ahead post Wesleyan.

Community engagement is an important component of the Wesleyan athletic program. Teams regularly volunteer in support of local nonprofit agencies, area schools, and youth sports teams. Wesleyan opens its facilities to the community on a program basis, and five local high schools use the facilities for practice and games on a pro-bono basis.
(For more on Athletics, see Standard 4)

XI. Civic Engagement

The Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) aims to be a one-stop station for anyone interested in establishing collaborative projects between Wesleyan and (greater) Middletown. The CCP—encompassing the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, Office of Community Relations, the Service-Learning Center, and the Green Street Arts Center—strives to offer meaningful engagement opportunities to the Wesleyan community. CCP’s collaborative activities include Community and University Services for Education, whose programs include introducing fourth graders in Middletown public schools to Wesleyan’s arts galleries, the annual Art Show exhibiting works of local K-12 public school students, and the High School Humanities Program; the Teen Life Conference with the City of Middletown; the Middlesex Chamber Career Expo in partnership with Middlesex Schools Consortium; the Middlesex Transition Academy with cooperation from School District 13 (Durham, Middlefield, and Rockfall); the Center for Prison Education; Let’s Get Ready (SAT-prep for students in Meriden and Middletown); the Foreign Language Bank; and the afterschool program at the Green Street Arts Center.

Through the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism (OCS), Wesleyan students are able to engage in volunteer and work‐study positions, reflection activities, learning opportunities, training, and leadership development. Based on Senior Survey data from the past two years, half of Wesleyan students volunteer at some point during their sojourn here. A total of 550 students engaged in OCS programs each semester during the 2010–2011 academic year (not counting an additional 225 who engaged through the New Student Orientation that year). These programs, organized by 20-plus student coordinators, include tutoring and elderly services, and addresses issues such as hunger/homelessness, AIDS and sexual health awareness, and environmental concerns. The Service-Learning Center provides support and leadership for faculty involved with community-based learning on campus. Twenty-two service-learning courses, offered in all divisions of the University, were taught in 2010–2011, enrolling 315 students. Nine were new courses, which received Service-Learning Initiative Grants for 2009–2010 or 2010–2011. With the creation of the civic engagement certificate, the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Wesleyan will continue to offer intentional engagement activities for students, faculty, and staff that will enrich their Wesleyan experience and add to the quality of life in the greater Middletown community.

Town-gown relations are contingent on various factors: the relationship of elected officials to the President and other senior administrators, organizational relationships and collaborations, student volunteerism, and employment opportunities here for Middletown residents. Over the years, Wesleyan has had challenges with the Middletown community, especially around student housing and raucous parties. But for many years now Wesleyan has made conscious efforts to reach out to city officials, neighboring organizations, and residents. The President and Cabinet members meet regularly with the Mayor and city directors. There is also regular communication with other city stakeholders, and the CCP advisory board includes representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, public schools, Middlesex Hospital, and Middletown Police.

XI. Study Abroad

Under the auspices of the Office of International Studies (OIS), Wesleyan sends 38% of its student body abroad for a semester or year of academic study. Students are required to show proficiency in the language of the host country if it is offered at Wesleyan, and, if not offered, to study that language when abroad. The number of students studying abroad has been decreasing slightly in recent years, and the OIS is working to increase student interest in studying abroad both for educational and pre-professional purposes.xvii The OIS organizes sessions on activities abroad such as internships, employment (in conjunction with the Career Center), and student research. It also oversees application to eight post-graduate fellowships. Students who have returned from studying abroad staff OIS drop-in hours and are essential participants in information and orientation sessions.

Whereas most universities send the vast majority of their students to Western Europe, Wesleyan sends healthy numbers to Latin America, Asia, and Africa—and a handful to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania as well. In all, participants study in some 45 countries each year, usually in the junior year and most commonly for a single semester; credit counts toward both graduation and the major. Students elect from a range of academic opportunities, from direct enrollment at universities abroad to thematic programs designed specifically for U.S. college-goers. Wesleyan directs four of its own programs—in Bologna, Madrid, Paris, and Regensburg—run in consortium with peer institutions in the U.S. and in close collaboration with universities in those cities.

While Wesleyan cannot control what students do with their time abroad, the OIS has changed the underlying message of the pre-departure orientation from “study abroad is fun and meaningful” to “study abroad, done well, is difficult and rewarding at both academic and personal levels.” Although some students take the opportunity more seriously than others, most do substantive academic work, many improve their language skills, and some find their raison d’etre while in a foreign country. Wesleyan provides pre-departure orientations and re-entry workshops, as well as online materials related to cultural and academic adjustment, health and safety, logistics, and so on. The OIS, in collaboration with the Psychology Department, is currently developing an intercultural awareness survey for study abroad participants in order to track student learning in relation to intercultural literacy.

Regrettably, Wesleyan does not track summer study, research, volunteer work, or internships abroad. Such data would give us a much better sense of how many of our students incorporate international experiences into their Wesleyan education. The recent arrival in Academic Affairs of a new internship coordinator could be helpful later in this regard; the coordinator’s primary focus is now on domestic internships. The OIS continues to explore how to offer more services to students interested in international internships, social entrepreneurship opportunities, research, and study over the summer. 

XII. Alcohol and Other Drugs

Like their peers at private colleges in the Northeast, Wesleyan students use alcohol and drugs at higher rates than the national average. There is no doubt that the second-hand effects of high-risk drinking have a deleterious impact on the campus living and learning environment. Since 2007, the alcohol and other drug policy has been revised several times in order to clarify community expectations and address problematic behavior. In working with the Wesleyan Student Assembly, Student Affairs staff have focused attention on high-risk drinking and its consequences. In an effort to better understand the experience of students, Wesleyan partnered with AlcoholEdu to administer an annual survey and educational program prior to matriculation followed by a second survey given in the first semester. In 2011, Wesleyan joined with 30 other colleges in an 18-month initiative led by Dartmouth College to reduce high-risk drinking. Through the use of several short-term, small-scale programs, Wesleyan is hoping to identify strategies that will prove effective in reducing alcohol-related harm campus-wide. While troubled by the seemingly intractable nature of high-risk drinking among college students, Wesleyan is committed to reducing its impact on this campus.

XIII. Honor Board, Student Judicial Board, and Graduate Judicial Board

Wesleyan employs different processes for peer adjudication of the University’s Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct. Separate student boards (undergraduate, graduate) work with administrators and faculty to review alleged violations and ensure that infractions are adjudicated and sanctioned appropriately. Over the past several years, the Honor Code and Code of Non-Academic Conduct have been reviewed with student input and clarified to better address the kinds of issues that now tend to arise. Among the most difficult of these are cheating and plagiarism. Wesleyan has long maintained an Honor Code stipulating that students themselves are personally and collectively responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of their work, yet incidents of cheating have continued to undermine the genuine academic pursuits of others. Responses currently under discussion include the implementation of an on-line tutorial.

The student judicial board hears infractions of the Non-Academic Code of Conduct. While the majority of cases involve alcohol or drug violations, the most intensive cases are those that involve physical and sexual assaults. Incidents of assault on campus are doubtless underreported, and not all students have been satisfied with rulings on those that are reported. In 2010, President Roth appointed a task force on sexual violence that included students, faculty, staff, and parents. The task force built upon previous work that had been done to revise the University’s sexual misconduct and assault policy, as well as the procedures surrounding adjudicating allegations. The University implemented its recommendations regarding prevention efforts, sexual assault resource team training, and the hiring of a sexual assault counselor. Wesleyan is making a clear statement against sexual violence, and looks to aggressively investigate reports and hold any perpetrators responsible.

XIV. Campus Climate and Diversity

In 2009, the Office of the Dean for Diversity and Student Engagement (DDSE) was moved from Student Affairs to report to the newly created position of Vice President for Diversity and Institutional Partnerships. The move was meant to facilitate synergistic relationships among diversity initiatives involving students, faculty, and staff. The DDSE seeks to affirm identity, build community, and cultivate leadership among students through individual advising, workshops, programs, and outreach—often in collaboration with other departments in the University. With the launching of Making Excellence Inclusive, campus-wide discussions have taken place to acknowledge and recognize diversity as an educational asset. The DDSE has also worked to raise awareness about issues facing first-generation college students—partnering with Admission to aid in the transition and success of QuestBridge and other first-generation students.xviii

The Campus Climate Log is a new online reporting and archival resource where students are encouraged to inform the campus community about incidents of hate or discrimination.xix The DDSE monitors the Campus Climate Log and convenes an administrative committee to discuss issues that arise there. The Campus Climate Log should be helpful when controversies arise (such as the discussions around the Anti Affirmative Action Bake Sale of 2010).

The Dwight Greene Internship, overseen by the DDSE, provides two undergraduates with paid internships during the academic year to coordinate and support student discourse and programs around issues of diversity and inclusion. The two interns also manage the Dwight Greene Oral History Project, which conducts and archives interviews with Wesleyan alumni and graduating seniors about their experiences here as students of color. Discussions about campus diversity are also organized by the Wesleyan Diversity Education Facilitation Program, founded by students in 2005 and supported by the DDSE.

XV. Graduate Students

The social and academic life of most graduate students at Wesleyan is focused on their department to a much greater degree than is the case for undergraduates. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Office of Graduate Student Services (OGSS) work to build community across departments, but the natural connections are departmental. This leads to strong links in departments between graduate students and undergraduate majors. The graduate students are in the same labs and same spaces as the undergraduates and often in the same classes. Their social and academic interactions are a real benefit to both groups and are part of the distinctive nature of the Wesleyan model.

Small, supportive departments attract large numbers of international graduate students, contributing to the international character of the campus as a whole. Still, the integration of graduate students into campus life generally is an ongoing challenge, and the OGSS has identified and prioritized the following areas for attention: new graduate student orientation (including pedagogical training, matters of the honor code, benefits, healthcare), housing, career guidance, and community building.xx Another challenge facing the OGSS is what can (should?) be done to improve recruitment of deserving and qualified Americans, particularly students of color who are normally underrepresented in graduate populations, especially in the sciences.xxi In the last reaccreditation process it was noted that the graduate programs are “the best kept secret at Wesleyan” and fly below the radar here. The OGSS believes that the Wesleyan community would benefit from knowing more about these programs and is making new efforts to raise their visibility on campus. Departments are now providing annual reports to the administration on the health and status of their graduate programs, and the new Director of Graduate Studies will deliver an annual report to the faculty.


ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID – Wesleyan will build on the increase in recognition it has achieved in recent years to develop an even more qualified and diverse applicant pool. The Admission team will continue to broaden its outreach, both domestically and internationally. Affordability will be a priority for the University, and Wesleyan has adopted measures (described in Standard 9) that will make the University more affordable for many students while also maintaining the revenue levels to support the scholar-teacher model at the heart of our mission.

STUDENT AFFAIRS LEARNING OUTCOMES – In 2010–11 Student Affairs developed five learning outcomes (and proficiency standards appropriate to each) to help in guiding and assessing its work with students outside the classroom. These outcomes are Critical Thinking, Effective Citizenship, Diversity, Self-Empowerment and Life Skills, and Effective Communication. While some offices within Student Affairs had already identified learning outcomes specific to their work, Student Affairs as a whole is now beginning to use these overarching outcomes.

PROMOTING A DIVERSE CULTURE – Wesleyan strives to promote a diverse cultural/educational experience for all members of its community. To this end Student Affairs staff will continue to engage with the Making Excellence Inclusive initiative, continue to explore how their own position in a diverse world informs their work with students of varied backgrounds, identities, and abilities, and continue to seek new ways to support difference and promote discussion and action around bias, prejudice, and privilege across the campus community.

RESIDENTIAL LIFE – The option (for seniors) to live in wood frame houses is greatly valued by students, but it presents a significant challenge to the University, which must maintain more than 200 separate buildings. During 2010–11, Residential Life and Facilities staff developed a long-range residential facilities plan, which included a projection of deferred maintenance costs as well as opportunities to consolidate student housing closer to the core of the campus. The plan also identified opportunities for future residential facilities that could reduce maintenance costs and improve students’ living experience. While the plan does not call for eliminating wood frame houses, it does make clear that Wesleyan’s priority must be to contain the residential footprint, improve the infrastructure of the houses, and likely add apartment-style units to replace the most inefficient, costly houses.

The success of the Faculty Fellows pilot program connecting first-year residential halls with a faculty member may lead to its expansion.

COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES (CAPS) – Over the last several years, the counseling office underwent an external review, and the University conducted focus groups with students. As a result the University hired a new director and additional staff member to implement a new vision for CAPS. While significant progress is being made, the staff has identified further steps for the coming years to increase visibility and accessibility. One such step is the collaboration between the new sexual assault counselor and the director of health education to implement a bystander intervention training program. The goal of this program is to equip students with the skills to step in and stop risky and harmful behaviors.

Institutional Effectiveness

Offices and departments concerned with student life—ranging from Admissions to Athletics, from Student Affairs to the Office of Community Service—are regularly evaluated with respect to the effectiveness of their programs and staff. The division of Student Affairs compiles an annual report summarizing the work of each of its departments and includes an assessment of the department’s effectiveness where possible. Additionally, the University conducts a number of evaluations (e.g., annual orientation survey, and CORE survey, COFHE senior survey) often with the assistance of the Office of Institutional Research—all for the purpose of making changes that improve the student experience.  Student Affairs has also embarked upon the development and assessment of student learning outcomes to assess the impact of its programs and various leadership opportunities for the students with whom they work.



iThis does not include some 300 students in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

ii In 2007, in order to streamline administrative reporting, the Dean of the College position was reorganized under the new title of Vice President for Student Affairs, with two reports, the Dean for Academic Advancement and the Dean of Students. A third report, the director of Graduate Student Services, was added in 2010 when that position moved from Academic Affairs.

iii The comparison group includes Amherst, Barnard, Bowdoin, Bryn Mawr, Carleton, Middlebury, Mount Holyoke, Oberlin, Pomona, Smith, Swarthmore, Trinity, Tufts, Vassar, Wellesley, and Williams.   

iv Participation in the Making Excellence Inclusive initiative also is one of the ways in which Admission staff are responding to the challenge of creating a diverse student body.

v Learning and Living Seminars were implemented in the fall of 2008 to promote intellectual community outside the classroom and to enhance the experience of students inside the classroom in their first semester at Wesleyan. We believed that shared housing would facilitate group assignments and projects that would extend intellectual discussions and collaboration beyond the classroom as well as promote the growth of a strong community in the residence. By all accounts, our goal has been met by the 13 seminars offered since the fall of 2008. Instructors who offered more structured assignments outside the classroom and were present at activities outside of class were more successful in creating a positive and satisfying intellectual experience for their students in the residence halls. With few exceptions, the living and learning seminars have enhanced students’ experience of their intellectual life and community at Wesleyan in the first semester.

vii Writing Hall and Writing House—Writing Hall (2009), a CBLV for first-year students, and Writing House (2010), a program house for upper-level students, were established in collaboration between the Director of Writing Programs (faculty advisor to the House and Hall) and the Director of Residential Life. Wesleyan has long been known for its vibrant community of writers, but new students have sometimes felt uncertain about how to join this swirl of literary life. Activities in these writing-focused residences have provided a solution: new students meet upperclassmen who understand the curriculum and offer ways to join the literary projects on campus. The Writing Programs Office provides student advisors and contributes funding for House and Hall programming. This past year, residents attended writing workshops, receptions, and dinners with the writing faculty; met privately with visiting writers; and worked with editors of campus journals. In the dorms, they organized weekly writing prompts, open-mic nights, and journal publication; and most important perhaps, they formed close friendships with the people they lived with. In fact, residents of Writing Hall were quoted last year in the Argus as saying they were the happiest first-year hall on campus. Wesleyan’s new Shapiro Writing Center has become a home for many of these House and Hall activities, and we look forward to making use of this wonderful new facility and its support services in the coming years.

viii In sponsoring such activities the Usdan staff has worked with a variety of departments and offices including the Center for the Arts, Music, Theater, Economics, American Studies, Psychology, Wesleyan Career Center, Athletics, College of the Environment, Film Studies, German Studies, and the University Archives. First Year Matters, a threshold experience in which all first-year students participate, and Wesleyan World Wednesday, a speaker series offered by the Office of International Student Services, are examples of joint faculty-student programming that take place in Usdan. There are many initiatives occurring within the Center. As an example, from August 29, 2010 through March 31, 2011, there were 3083 room reservations for a total of 7649 reserved hours. Of those reservations, 10 were for concerts, 37 for banquets/dinners, 493 for meetings, and 282 for rehearsals, as well as various trainings, luncheons, conferences, film screenings, etc.

ix The game room, located on the lower level, has been converted to support the Mail Service. Package service on campus has had to deal with the exploding popularity of on-line textbook purchasing, and using this space as a package pickup location better serves the students and campus community than did the infrequently-used game room. A new gaming location on the first floor includes couches and soft chairs, carpets and tables, mounted televisions, video game technology, and a pool table.

x Beginning in 2010–2011, a graduate intern has aided in programming at Usdan, a significant addition in terms of mentoring the University Center Activities Board (UCAB) and Usdan Common Connections (UCC) programming teams as well as improving programming at Usdan.

xi In 2010-2011, the UCC took over the Welcome Week programming—provided lectures, movies, and music each night of the first week of classes, fall semester. Weekly programming—Each Thursday an event is held in the Café ranging from music to novelty programs, movies and ice cream parties. In addition, a classical musical series occurs each month on the first Tuesday. Held in Beckham Hall, the series is called “Lunchbox Serenata” and is co-sponsored with the Music Department.

xii Total student meals served for the fall 2010 semester: breakfast–9,566, lunch–63,946, and dinner–65,283

xiii The Usdan Café is an a la carte café featuring a variety of grab-and-go salads, sandwiches, coffees and specialty beverages. Usdan Marketplace is the primary dining location on campus, primarily serving underclass students but a good number of upperclass students utilize the space as well. Food stations around marketplace include Classics (pastas, main course meats, vegetables, etc.), a pizza station, the Mongolian grill, Vegan station, Kosher station, Halal station (limited options on occasion only), salad station, specialty station (wing night, taco night, etc.) dessert stations, and beverages. The marketplace also plays host to late night dining from 9:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. seven days a week and features salads and grill items as well as snacks and desserts. The Daniel Family Commons is open for lunch Monday through Friday and is a quiet gathering place for faculty and staff. Faculty and staff have also been encouraged to use a campus voucher program to bring one or two students with them to share a meal and conversation in a relaxed comfortable setting. This space is used for many programs including dinners, receptions, lectures, and musical performances in the evening. It is also a designated quiet study space during finals. The café seating area is also full throughout the weekday and provides a casual seating venue for faculty/staff and students to sit and talk over coffee. The area is also used for weekly performances by faculty and students.
Meals occur three times a day in the main dining room (Marketplace), Monday through Friday and twice a day each weekend day. Total student meals served for the fall 2010 semester: breakfast–9,566, lunch–63,946, dinner–65,283. Late night dining is also offered from 9:30 p.m. – 1 a.m., lunch in the Daniel Family Commons occurs Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m., and the first floor café provides grab and go snacks, breakfast, and lunch foods as well as soft drinks, waters, and coffee from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

xiv The number of students with disabilities requesting services is expected to grow—especially in the areas of psychological and chronic medical conditions, autism spectrum, and traumatic brain injury. Technological advances may increase accessibility for online materials and may help Wesleyan meet the needs of these students.

xv To properly serve this population on an on-going basis, the WCC is looking for new personnel resources. A shared position with Graduate Career Services could provide support for graduate students and augment the current career center staff with a professional possessing expertise in science and technology and the graduate school admission process.

xvi Over the past six years, athletes (roughly 21% of the student population in a given year) have accounted for some 45% of academic violations and 31% of non-academic violations.

xvii Turnout at general information sessions, however, has been a bit disappointing, and even those sessions addressed to specific groups (science majors, students of color, financial aid recipients, those interested in Francophone countries) often don’t yield the hoped-for audience.

xviii As we are only in our third year of the QuestBridge program, we have not assessed impact on graduation rates, however, we have seen a high persistence rate among the three cohorts. They are participating actively in on-campus activities, volunteerism, and pre-graduate fellowship programs such as McNair and Mellon Mayes.

xix The log was established in 2007 as a collaborative effort between the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Student Life Committee and the Office of Student Affairs/Deans’ Office. Since 2006–07, 97 incidents have been posted to the log, an average of 20 per academic year with 2007–08 posting 32 incidents and only 6 during the 2011–12 academic year.

xx In order to improve graduate students’ transition to Wesleyan and Middletown, an orientation planning committee expects a new orientation program to be in place by 2012 that will identify opportunities for participants to learn about the physical surroundings (campus and town), learn practical living advice (especially for international students), hear important academic information, and meet other members of the graduate community through social activities. The Office will work with Residential Life, Physical Plant, and the Housing Committee of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) to assess the current housing stock available to graduate students, work through other housing issues, and improve communication. The Office of Graduate Student Services has partnered with the Wesleyan Career Center, which does not have a dedicated career counselor for graduate students, and it has partnered with the GSA to organize a one-day Graduate Career Symposium that will provide career advice, practical information on how to conduct a job search, and networking opportunities. In addition, the Office is working with the GSA to build community by identifying common spaces, planning social events, and improving the graduate student services website to facilitate better communication among the students.

When Wesleyan completed construction of the Fauver residences, undergraduate students who were living in private housing near campus moved back to university housing, leaving a large stock of desirable non-university housing available for graduate students. This caused a decrease in the demand for Wesleyan-owned graduate housing. The Graduate Housing Committee, made up of staff of Residential Life, Physical Plant, members of the Graduate Student Association (GSA), and the Office of Graduate Student Services, tracks the demand for graduate student housing and makes adjustments in the overall housing stock to meet the demand. Graduate housing stock has decreased from 130 to 105 units in recent years to adjust for the lessened demand.

The Office of Graduate Student Services has partnered with the GSA and the Wesleyan Career Center, which does not have a dedicated career counselor for graduate students, to organize a one-day Graduate Career Symposium that will provide career advice, practical information on how to conduct a job search, and networking opportunities. In addition, the Office is working with the GSA to build community by identifying common spaces, planning social events, and improving the graduate student services website to facilitate better communication among the students.

xxi Wesleyan is a leader in diversity issues in other places around campus and we would like to see that leadership extend to our graduate student population as well. We are working on the creation of fellowships particularly aimed at students from underrepresented minorities within the sciences that could attract more applicants from this group and create a focus of our program towards the needs of those groups. There is considerable national attention to this need and hopefully we can obtain some external funding to support this.

We are also working towards creating a better “pipeline” for bringing underrepresented populations and first generation college students to advanced degrees (MA and PhD) both in the sciences and in other areas. The current BA/MA program does not include a stipend for fifth year students and so is often an impossible financial burden for many first-generation college and underrepresented minority students. One idea is to create fellowships specifically for these students that would pay them a regular graduate stipend (~$25K per year) to obtain a MA degree at Wesleyan. This would give them the additional course work and research experience they may need to obtain admission to the best Ph.D. programs in the country.