Office of the Vice President

Mission Statement

The mission of the Division of Student Affairs is to develop, with others in the University, opportunities for students to become productive citizens through the creation of challenging environments that contribute to students' intellectual, spiritual, physical, social, cultural, moral, and emotional growth, and, in so doing, engage them with the widest range of persons within the University and beyond.

Throughout the Division of Student Affairs, students will encounter caring professionals who are trained and skilled in their own specialties and are professional educators dedicated to assisting students in developing to their full potential. The focus of student affairs is one of education and guidance not merely problem-solving. The role of the staff is, along with the faculty, to assist the student in reaching true maturity and to prepare the student to take a useful place in society.

Concern for and realization of the full development of each student in and out of the classroom constitutes one of the major goals of the University. Consequently, SMU's student affairs programs are designed to support and supplement SMU's formal academic work. All departments exist to provide services for the benefit and convenience of SMU students. The Division of Student Affairs encompasses a broad range of programs and services dealing with residential life and student housing, physical and mental wellness, personal and career counseling and testing, recreational sports and intramurals, religious affairs, minority student programs, as well as judicial matters, new student orientation, volunteer opportunities, and women's programs.


Student Affairs Clusters


The student transitions cluster focuses on examining and enhancing the ways in which we successfully transition students to the university; support students’ various decision points as they move through their academic and co-curricular experiences; and prepare students for their post-graduation life. To that end, the student transitions culture is committed to welcoming and affiliating new students with a residential community and to the campus as a whole; connecting and engaging students in a range of experiences that will prepare them for success in the classroom and in the workforce; and character development so that every student is part of a caring, supportive, and respectful community, and actively participates in the design of and adherence to the collective community standards.

The cluster is specifically charged with:

  • identifying and strengthening the ways in which both residential and non-residential students become connected and maintain connections to the campus experience;
  • continuing to enhance the residential commons model and integrating the residential commons with other academic, educational and social experiences on campus;
  • examining student transitions from their first year experience to their second year and upper-class student experience, with a particular focus on providing a seamless connection among  orientation, residential life, and career center programming as students move through the various milestones in their student experience;
  • strengthening students’ understanding and commitment to the meaning of citizenship in the residential and campus community;
  • deploying and managing the resources under its purview responsibly, including budgets, facilities, staff and other resources in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • collaborating with other divisional clusters and campus partners in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • assessing efforts regularly in support of mission and goals and integrating assessment efforts on an ongoing basis and in its future planning cycles.

Student Life and Well-being promotes the social, emotional, and physical health of students through activities, programs, and services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, involved and engaging campus-life experience; build student confidence and provides opportunities for students to exercise leadership; and help students’ clarify their choices in support of their overall well-being; enabling students to live responsibly with sincere regard and respect for self and others. The student life and well-being cluster also provides leadership toward honoring and sustaining SMU spirit and traditions and as such lays the foundation for students’ life-long connection to the university.  

The Student Life and Well-being cluster is specifically charged with:

  • examining national well-being models and developing a holistic well-being initiative for the SMU student experience;
  • identifying student involvement patterns and choices, and developing a strategy, in collaboration with others on campus, for enhancing the involvement; opportunities for those students in particular with little to minimal involvement in campus social, academic, educational and leadership activities and ensuring the diversity of students involved in various campus activities;
  • developing a comprehensive violence prevention program and enhancing violence prevention support services;
  • ensuring  student support services are appropriately meeting student support needs
  • examining space and programs toward enhancing the vibrancy of campus life, school spirit and in support of current and new student traditions;
  • deploying and managing the resources under its purview responsibly, including budgets, facilities, staff and other resources in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • collaborating with other divisional clusters and campus partners in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • assessing efforts regularly in support of mission and goals and integrating assessment efforts on an ongoing basis and in its future planning cycles.

The Values and Community cluster is focused on working with all members of the university and community partners toward supporting a diverse, multicultural, and spiritually vibrant campus community -- one that actively encourages students to ask and explore challenging questions related to their values, morals, and the integration of personal and professional goals; committing themselves to being women and men of character; and to being actively engaged in service to others.  

The Values and Community Cluster is specifically charged with: 
  • enhancing the connection and collaboration among the Chaplain’s Office, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership, and other student and academic affairs entities, in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • identifying and enhancing student activities and programs and academic courses and experiences in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • expanding service learning opportunities for students to support student interest in these experiences and the impactful learning opportunities that are a part of such experiences;
  • continuing the development of the idea of a “Faith and Learning” Center;
  • deploying and managing the resources under its purview responsibly, including budgets, facilities, staff and other resources in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • collaborating with other divisional clusters and campus partners in support of the cluster mission and goals;
  • assessing efforts regularly in support of mission and goals and integrating assessment efforts on an ongoing basis and in its future planning cycles.

The ROI Cluster is focused on working with all constituents, both internal and external to the Division for the purposes of managing fiscal, physical, and human resources efficiently and effectively. Staff members employed in this cluster will actively be strategic minded, entrepreneurial, and results oriented. They will strive to maximize results, while managing both staff effort and resources in the process.

The ROI Cluster is specifically charged with: 

  • seeking the most talented and skilled professionals to serve in an exemplary division and supporting their work through professional development experiences designed in collaboration with divisional colleagues and utilizing the range of available professional development resources;
  • examining and streamlining processes for better and more efficient use of divisional resources;
  • conducting on-going planning and assessment activities that chart a strategic path into the future of our work;
  • generating additional in-kind and fiscal resources to support the programs and services housed within the Division;
  • maintaining well-kept existing student affairs facilities, while planning for future student affairs facilities.