From the Student Affairs VP: Student Life - Empowering Student Leadership

On April 24, Student Life closed out the 2018-2019 year with the 19th annual Nite in the Life awards ceremony. Student Life staff celebrated and honored Austin Community College (ACC) students, faculty, staff, student organizations, and campus teams.

What is Student Life?

Student Life is not just fun and games (though they do organize a lot of fun events); it's about the purposeful linking of student activities and organizations to instructional programs. Under the direction of Cheryl Richard, Student Life director, the department oversees various organizations and community-building, experiential learning, and leadership activities that allow students to apply course content outside the classroom and immerse themselves in their areas of study.

This immersion in areas of study is facilitated by Student Life staff that together represent four of ACC's 10 areas of study. In addition to their academic needs, staff also work tirelessly to get to know students' unique personal and professional needs and help them develop skills and support their growth in these areas.

Student Life Programs

Each ACC campus has a Student Life lounge. Here, students can learn about campus events, attend leadership workshops, find someone to talk to, get ready for a test, or just relax in between classes. These lounges also serve as sources of information for the following Student Life programs, services, and resources:

2019 Nite in the Light. Photo courtesy of Student Affairs Communications.

Student Life Impact

Engagement — the extent to which students are engaged in activities that contribute to their learning and personal development — is a major component of student persistence and success.1 The more a student participates in activities outside of the classroom, the more likely they are to continue in school.2

Civitas Learning, an ACC vendor partner, found that of 1,000 student success programs and initiatives at 55 higher education institutions, just three, including student organizations, had a statistically significant positive impact on student success. Students who participated in clubs and organizations, such as leadership programs, cultural organizations, and sports, were 4.35% more likely to persist from semester-to-semester compared to similar students who did not.3

Student Affairs Student Engagement & Analytics, using Civitas Learning data specific to ACC, ran its own analysis. They found that similar to the national data, ACC students who attended at least one Student Life activity or programming event were four percentage points (pp) more likely to enroll the following semester (i.e., persist) than students who did not attend.4

Student Engagement & Analytics also examined the impact on different types of students. While the overall impact on persistence was four pp, the impact was even greater for students with the lowest likelihood to persist at ACC (according to predictive modeling). These students were 10 pp more likely to enroll in fall 2018.

Student Life also relies heavily on data, data analytics, and assessment tools to collect input from students to determine their needs and what they're interested in, and streamline student programming for the 55,205 students they served in FY2018.

Students speak about what Student Life has meant to them.

Have Questions?

For information and questions about Student Life, including how you can contribute to Student Life programming or advise a student organization, visit your campus Student Life office or send an email at Ask Student Life.

By Dora Elias McAllister, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs content strategist // May 2019

1 Manning, K., Kinzie, J., and Schuh, J. H. One size does not fit all: Traditional and innovative models of Student Affairs Practice (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge
2 a) Astin, A.W. (1993). What matters in college? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; b) Brittenham, R., Cook, R., Hall, J.B., Moore-Whitesell, P., Ruhl-Smith, C., Shafii-Mousavi, M., White, K. (2003). Connections: An integrated community of learners. Journal of Developmental Education, 27(1), 18-25 c) Tinto, V. (1975). Dropouts for higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89-125.
3 Civitas Learning. (November 2018). The impact of student success programs. Retrieved from
4 For methodology details, contact Guillermo Martinez III, Ph.D. Student Engagement & Analytics associate vice president


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