Today's Update: Thursday, May 19, 2022

May 19, 2022

Dear Student Life team,

The university Board of Trustees has been meeting this week. The sessions and committee meetings keep me busy, but it is an excellent time for the board members to hear about the great things happening at Ohio State and to weigh in on important matters that will make Ohio State even better.

It is fitting that, on the heels of Commencement, our presentation was all about driving student success. 

At yesterday afternoon’s Academic Affairs and Student Life committee meeting, I talked about how student affairs is a scholarly field of study, dating back 100 years. Not everyone realizes the foundation of the work we do, and how we contribute in meaningful ways to student learning and success in college and beyond in intentional, targeted and significant ways.

I started by outlining our Student Life tagline (Engage, Learn, Thrive) in the context of how it is steeped in theories of college student development and success.  

Then, I updated the board members on several programs we have in place to help students engage, learn and thrive, including the Second-Year Transformational Experience (STEP), Student Employment Experience (SEE) and student organizations. 

I shared the strong data on retention rates for those in STEP, well above the rates for those not in the program, how students recognize the importance of the mentoring offered by their supervisors through SEE and the role involvement while in college plays in making students more likely to be considered for a job. 

The best part of our presentation was the testimony from students. I was joined by Matthew Isakson, a Biomedical Engineering grad now in the master’s program in that field, who participated in STEP, and even changed his career path due to his experience in the program. Recent grad Kate Gomez was a student employee in Student Life who talked about how she developed important professional skills through SEE. We were also joined by another recent grad, Anna Walker, from the Lima campus who was a very engaged student leader throughout her time in Lima. 

Each of them shared their personal experiences with the board members. Their stories brought to life the data about student success, and I was pleased and proud to have them by my side. 

I also want to thank those who were by my side throughout the process of getting prepared for the board meeting, from pulling together important information and designing the slide deck, to helping the students get ready for their portion of the day. Special thanks to Zia Ahmed, Travis Barnhart, Chrisse Edmunds, Shawnte’ Elbert, Gladys Gibbs, Leah Halper, TJ Logan, Blake Marble, Anne McDaniel, Micky Sharma, Kellie Uhrig and Dave Wiseley.

It was a Scarlet and Great way to showcase the work, and the impact of the work, you do every day in Student Life. 


Melissa S. Shivers, PhD 

Senior Vice President for Student Life 
The Ohio State University