Message from the VP/Dean of Students Jon Jacobsen
Last fall, the Division of Student Affairs underwent a comprehensive program review, including a self-study and external review of the entire division, which includes Institutional Diversity, Community Engagement, Health and Wellness, Housing and Residential Life, Career Services, and Student Activities. We had an outstanding review team chaired by Rae-Anne Butera (dean of student affairs, Olin College of Engineering) along with team members Mike Brody (vice president for student services, Reed College) and DiOnetta Jones Crayton (associate dean for undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education, MIT). The team reviewed our division history and self-study materials and spent three days on campus in November meeting with students, faculty and staff. We are excited about their comprehensive and thoughtful approach to our division. The team concluded our “DSA team is meeting and exceeding many of the ‘best practices’ in the field [following the] Principles of Good Practice in Student Affairs espoused by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.” The team noted the remarkable ethic of care and overall responsiveness of DSA to students and faculty, as well as their strong collaborations with academic affairs, which the team identified as a hallmark best practice in the field and an area HMC particularly excels. The team also acknowledged that much of DSA’s work is proactive support for individuals (and the entire student body) and provided valuable feedback and recommendations to strengthen our support network and ensure effective deployment of finite resources.
It is an honor to work with such remarkable students, and we are proud of our division’s efforts to support the College by offering programs, services and resources that help produce ethical leaders who are committed to the well-being of society and the planet. In this month’s report, we’re proud to share some of the division’s current efforts.
Office of Institutional Diversity Has a New Home
For over a decade, the HMC Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) was located in a small office across from the mailroom. On Feb. 5, the campus celebrated OID’s move to its new home, in Platt Campus Center. The beautiful, new center was made possible through President Maria Klawe, who responded to several requests made by the student group BLAM (Black Lives and Allies at Mudd). During spring 2015, BLAM spoke with President Klawe about increasing HMC’s inclusivity and improving campus climate. One of their requests was for OID to move to a space that could truly serve as an inclusive center. Construction began shortly before winter break, and the OID team moved into the new center on Jan. 26. Associate Dean Sumun Pendakur and Assistant Dean Angelica Ibarra welcome all community members to OID spring events and workshops.
Office of Student Activities
OSA continues to offer programs and activities that encourage interaction, promote stress relief and provide a non-alcoholic alternative to parties. Programs, such as the weekly Wednesday Nighters, biweekly “Pub” Trivia nights, and other events like Bubble Soccer and movie screenings, are just part of creating an open and welcoming environment for our students. Working with OID, OSA offered a Sophomore Retreat in the local mountains where students spent time reflecting, assessing and connecting. Although it’s many months away, preparation for New Student Orientation is underway, beginning with the selection of New Student Orientation leaders Fernando Fernandez ’17 and Kim Tran ’17. These leaders have begun working with OSA staff to plan and implement one of the major components of the fall program, Orientation Adventures. Fernando and Kim are evaluating OA trips and hiring student OA guides. By the time New Student Orientation rolls around, we will have 40 student leaders for 20 trips, which are designed to immerse incoming students into the HMC community and surrounding environment, including many of the rich cultural offerings and activities in the greater Los Angeles area. OSA programs
Spring 2016 began with our annual Job and Internship Fair on Feb. 4. The College hosted 61 companies, including several new companies: Applied Minds LLC, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Clover Network Inc., Electronic Arts, and Tubular Labs. We welcomed startups (Dots, Shoes of Prey,Upstart, and Saga Innovations) as well as biotech companies (Bolt Threads, MicroVention, Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research and Medtronic Inc.). Over 509 students attended from across the seven Claremont campuses; 327 were from HMC.
The successful Beyond the Bubble: Life After HMC seminar series for professional development continued this year with over 24 programs in the fall. The spring lineup includes such topics as Working in academia compared to industry; Alumni who work in non-STEM careers; What can you do with a major; Financial planning and Re-paying federal student loans.
HMC opened its ninth and largest residence hall on campus this year! The Wayne and Julie Drinkward Residence Hall is the tallest dorm on campus and has traditional double and single occupancy rooms (space for 131 students). It is comprised of suites with kitchens and has four lounges, the largest of which contains a community kitchen. The Drinkward residential life staff (proctors and mentors) actively work to shape the community with programs like “Kitchen Talks, Dorm Dinners” on Sundays and “Movie Mondays” in the lounge. These activities have been an effective way for residents to socialize, share ideas and thoughts and build community. The residential life student leadership team of proctors and mentors returned to campus for a training day in January to brush-up on their leadership skills.They revisited topics such as developing inclusive peer education, strategies for changing high-risk behavior, intervention skills, and programming ideas. The proctors and mentors are very excited to put their skills to use during the spring semester!
HMC offers funding, made possible through the generosity of alumni, parents and foundations, to support students who participate in unpaid or low-paying summer internships. These funding programs were established to support students who are pursuing a personalized experience that directly addresses their individual values and educational goals. Summer funding awards are provided from the Donald and Dorothy Strauss Internship for Social Understanding; the Ben Huppe ’14 Memorial Internship for a Sustainable World; the Nathaniel Davis Fund for Public Policy and International Relations; and the New Millennium Experiential Learning Fund. Students may apply for a stipend of up to $5,000 to help with incidental expenses (housing, travel, meals). Manu Kondapi ’18, shown second from left, interned at the Hindu American Foundation as part of the Nathaniel Davis Fellowship.
Health and Wellness
The Office of Health and Wellness was launched in the Fall 2015 semester and continues to expand its programs for students, faculty, and staff, utilizing a prevention approach based on positive psychology and the eight dimensions of wellness (emotional, environmental, intellectual, multicultural, occupational, physical, social and spiritual). The OHW consists of Dean Q, Dean Michelle, Kat Wang (international student wellness coordinator), and 10 student Wellness Peers. The mission of OHW is to support and co-educate students as they strive to find and maintain their work-life balance and provide them the resources needed to thrive as healthy ethical leaders serving society and the world. Dean Q has a PhD in clinical psychology, an M.A. in counseling psychology and an M.A. in clinical psychology; Dean Michelle has a master’s of social work (MSW) and a master’s in public health (MPH). Together they have more than 12,000 hours of clinical experience. In addition to programming, Deans Q and Michelle meet with students one on one to provide support and guidance for a variety of concerns ranging from stress management and work-life balance to emotional health wellness. By February, there were more than 20 OHW programs with over 900 student participants, and OHW staff supported more than 200 students in one-on-one guidance sessions. New programs have been established based on student needs and feedback and include weekly yoga and support groups. The OHW also works collaboratively with the Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services Center, the Claremont Colleges’ central services for promoting psychological wellness for all students of the Consortium.