About Us

Student Affairs Mission, Vision, Philosophy and Curriculum

 Student Affairs Mission

Student Affairs is committed to student success and the University of Mary Washington mission. We create a co-curricular experience in concert with the academic mission that

Photo of Douglas N. Searcy

Douglas N. Searcy, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

supports each student by challenging individuals to learn, to grow, and to lead. Our activities, opportunities, and services inspire students to identify a life of meaning and to become engaged, responsible global citizens.

Mission Statement in “Blue Jeans” (short statement that summarizes the mission)

 “lgl… helping students to learn, grow, and lead.”

 Vision Statement

The VISION for the Division of Student Affairs is to provide purposeful, engaging programs and services….that establish a seamless learning environment for students.


Student learning is multifaceted, ever-changing, and dynamic.  It occurs throughout a student’s college career, under various circumstances, through different mediums, and instructors.  Effective learning communities capitalize on the many teachable moments that a collegiate environment presents, keeping the student consistently engaged; ready to accept the potential of learning when it is spurred by interest, circumstance, and curiosity.  One by one, individual learning opportunities are multiplied across the University community, creating a learning ethos where every interaction, every personal encounter, and every program has the capacity to support and enhance a student’s educational experience.

Key to the learning process is the faculty/staff – student relationship in which knowledge is shared and scholarship is developed.  In tandem with this learning environment is the relationship students have with the co-curricular community.  Here students encounter an array of university citizens in a transformational exchange of ideas, cultures, and perspectives.  Common to each encounter is the pursuit of learning and the search for meaning and truth.  In a liberal arts community, learning not just as an outcome, but as a process – pervades and guides our purpose.  These perspectives come together to create a seamless learning environment centered on the student and supported by multiple professionals who guide and support the students’ growth and development.


The following Curriculum outlines learning outcomes stemming from our services, programs, and all student interactions.   


Learning that maximizes a student’s abilities and interests.  Occurring throughout the academic journey from first-year through graduation, this component of personal growth and development is comprehensive in nature, stimulating and maintaining one’s life-long interest in learning.  Self-actualization can be achieved through many avenues including: developing competency, higher levels of autonomy, and self-understanding or awareness.


Learning that promotes the “the art of guidance” in which a student can advance a cause or influence others through passionate intervention, attitude, determination, and intellect.  Leadership is complemented by the understanding and practice of motivation, planning organization, collaboration, delegation, follow-ship, and accountability.  


Learning to live in a community in which responsibility, participation, and involvement are fundamental to service as contributing members of society.  Citizenship is complemented by:  honor, ethics, integrity, and social responsibility.     


Learning that shapes the wholeness of one’s being including physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual components. As students expand their capacity in each component they are more apt to live healthy, balanced lives. 


Learning that develops an awareness of and respect for different cultures, ideologies, socio-economic conditions, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religions. Cultural awareness is complemented by the pursuit of diversity, inclusivity, and awareness of social justice concerns and issues of privilege. 


Learning that takes place through a student’s ability to interact with others and negotiate complex relationships.  Interpersonal skills are complemented by: effective communication, conflict management, critical thinking, problem-solving, personal ethics, and teamwork. 


Learning that expands a student’s perspective of world issues including: political, economic, social, cultural, ethnic, religious, and historical factors.  

“Learning is a complex, holistic multi-centric activity that occurs throughout and across the college experience.”

Learning Reconsidered, (2004, pg.5.)

Reference: Learning Reconsidered 2004