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Strategic Plan Update: First Year Flourish

Dear Student Affairs colleagues,

Our year 3-5 initiatives for the Student Affairs Strategic Plan are well underway, and over the next few months, we will be highlighting some of our progress. In this message, we highlight one of the initiatives within the Organizational Behavior and Development priority area.

As shared at the State of the Division, we recently launched the First Year Flourish program pilot. The program is intended for Student Affairs staff who have joined in the last year (August 2022-present) and staff who missed a Student Affairs New Employee Orientation or believe that the program will help to inform their work and understanding of the Division of Student Affairs.

Over the last two years, we’ve hired approximately 1,600 new staff, 1,000 of whom have no prior UC affiliation. We recognize that providing adequate support to staff in their first year helps ensure they are well-connected to resources and strategic support for effectiveness in their roles. In turn, this drives job satisfaction, and we expect it to impact retention as well.

Our objectives include wanting new employees to understand the context of Student Affairs at UC Berkeley, feel supported to be successful in their job, build a sense of community, feel connected to resources and Student Affairs staff, understand foundational expectations and Berkeley’s Mission, Vision, Values, and have a designated space to troubleshoot, validate, normalize, find support, and process and navigate all that is UC Berkeley Student Affairs.

As part of this pilot, we are holding six new employee overview sessions, four in-person sessions, and additional touchpoints throughout the year. Suggested topics for the in-person sessions include Nuts and Bolts (To Successfully Navigate Your First Three Months) in October, Wellness Resources/How to Get Connected in December, Performance Evaluations/Professional Development in March, and Mission, Vision, Values and Professional Competencies in June.

The official program is scheduled to launch in August 2024. It will expand the new employee and in-person sessions, add a buddies/mentors component, campus tours, off-campus excursions, new staff community building, a new staff graduation ceremony, an internal website, and an online bCourse. Keep your eye out for additional information regarding First Year Flourish in the near future.

Congratulations to initiative leaders Sarah Reed (Registrar) and Sabina Morgan (People & Administrative Services), as well as the rest of the initiative team for their excellent progress and great work thus far: Heidi Yu (Career Center), Marisol Vasquez (Cal Student Central), Amber Ulmer (DOS), Meryl Motika (VC Immediate Office), Ingrid Hunt (RSSP) and Ashley Campos (UHS).


Layla Naranjo (She/Her/Ella)
Executive Director, People and Administrative Services
Division of Student Affairs

Jo Mackness (she/her/hers)
Assistant Vice Chancellor & Chief Operating Officer
Division of Student Affairs


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