Dean of Students

Goals for Student Learning

The mission of the Dean of Students division is to support students outside of the classroom, to provide experiences and services that contribute to their learning and enhances life at the College, and that prepare students for life after graduation. The division includes:

Academic Affairs
Alcohol and Drug Outreach
Career Services
Counseling and Psychological Services
Health Services
Multicultural Affairs
Student Life

Several of these areas each comprise multiple functions. Their work in assessing operations are described only briefly below. Many of these areas receive routine feedback from the biennial Senior Survey, which presents students' rating of each office over time, in comparison with other offices, and its standing within a group of peer institutions. Additional special studies, using College data combined with survey or other information, are conducted occasionally.

The Dean of Students division also has goals for student learning, presented below.   The division is working at this time to align its learning goals with the institution level goals for student learning that are currently in development, and to coordinate its assessment of student learning with assessment activities in the academic areas.

Overarching Goal

Our students will cultivate a clear sense of self in community including the development of their sense of ethics and values with strong leadership, communication and decision making skills. In addition, students will become engaged and responsible citizens in a diverse society to make a positive impact in the world.

Sense of self in Community:

  • clear understanding of community expectations
  • ability to consider the needs of the community in relation to individual needs and desires
  • Self-regulation
  • Acknowledging limitations
  • Learning from adversity and failure
  • Self-care skills and learning to make healthy choices
  • Knowing when and how to ask for help and utilize resources

Developing self and identity in relationship to Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Awareness

  • Understand the influence of personal background and multiple identities
  • Develop identity consolidation, differentiation of self from parents and family
  • Develop clear understanding of community expectations
  • Develop ability to consider the needs of the community in relation to individual needs and desires
  • Develop the capacity to imagine other people's perspective
  • Develop tolerance and appreciation of other cultures and differences of identity and perspective
  • Develop understanding and considering how your actions impact and affect others
  • Align personal values with actions

Ethics / Values:

  • Developing a philosophy of life
  • Ability to articulate values
  • Having your ethics and values guide your decision making and planning for the future

Leadership and Communication:

  • Ability to work collaboratively as a leader and a follower
  • Ability to help facilitate a group
  • Ability to listen deeply to others and incorporate differing perspectives into your world view
  • Ability to manage conflict and disagreements within a group or team setting
  • Being able to manage a complex project including creating timelines, meeting deadlines, and managing large and small details
  • Ability to communicate clearly and respectfully your own ideas, perspectives, and needs


  • ability to make decisions based on values and sense of self
  • ability to thoughtfully choose between competing goods
  • ability to apply critical analysis to the decision making process
  • ability to thoughtfully incorporate other's perspectives into the decision making process
  • develop the capacity/perspective to live and plan for the present in the context of also weighing choices and planning for the future


Career Services counsels students and alumni as they explore career directions. Since career development is preparation for life, the office's mission is to help students and alumni gain self-understanding and connect interests, values and skills with knowledge about careers and life beyond Swarthmore College. In support of that mission, the office builds relationships with faculty, colleagues and students' families, and serves as a resource for employers and graduate schools.
The office prepares an annual report which summarizes its activities, and its effectiveness in reaching its goals. It reports numerous metrics of student, alumni, and parent engagement with the office, and the outcomes of students after graduation. The office routinely evaluates the effectiveness of its work through participation rates and outcome tracking, appointment follow-up, presentation and workshop evaluations, and recruiter feedback; programming is adjusted in light of these assessments. For example, a presentation about networking techniques was recently modified to a more interactive instructional workshop approach, based on feedback from students in the previous year.

Career Services also provides feedback to the College on the outcomes of students' graduate school and employment placement.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides counseling and psychotherapy, crisis intervention, psychological testing, psycho-educational programming, and consultation and training to the College community. In order to assess its effectiveness, CAPS tracks types of problems, scope and intensity of difficulties, and a range of usage indicators. Activities and assessments are summarized in an Annual Report.

The Registrar's Office's mission is to administer the faculty regulations and educational policies of the College through courteous, timely, accurate, efficient service -- some public, some private and secure -- to faculty, students, administration, staff, alumni, parents, and outside constituencies, in the areas of course registration, classroom scheduling, grade collection and reporting, maintenance of student academic records, enrollment certification, degree verification, and degree advising and certification of graduation requirements. The office annually reviews its effectiveness, tracking its activities, and focusing on a set of key objectives each year, and setting goals for the subsequent year. An example of improvement resulting from these efforts is the improved timely compliance of students fulfilling graduation requirements. Coordinated efforts using the new online degree audit in conjunction with class-year targeted emails and presentations at class-year-based mass meetings have dramatically improved the fulfillment of degree requirements at the appropriate times in a student's degree progress. Several key areas have improved: the Writing Course Requirement, the foreign language requirement, and the PE requirement and its swim test requirement. In this way and others, the registrar's office directly and indirectly supports the Dean of Students Goals for Student Learning "Sense of Self" and "Decision-Making" sections through working with students to accomplish their immediate educational goals.

Residential Life -The Residential Life and Student Activities areas of the Dean's Office began a three-year benchmarking project in 2011-12, researching and surveing 24 peer institutions about the services offered and staffing structures, in order to discover best practices in creating living/learning communities.   This work examined many areas of student life, including meal plan, athletics,  early return residential issues, campus safety issues, and use of graduate students in creating community. The review led to the merging of Residential Life and Student Activities at Swarthmore into the Office of Student Engagement, a structure that will allow for enhanced and better integrated support of students.  


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