Enhancements to the student experience and a look ahead

In cooperation with the Dean of Students office, student feedback contributes to Wheaton’s continuous evolution and helps enrich life on campus.

by Dr. Darnell T. Parker, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Greetings! We are off to a great start to the academic year! I am excited to see the students back on campus and ready to start the year.

Last year, I shared with parents and families how the core values of Wheaton influenced my decision for my family and me to join this community of scholars. In speaking with students, our core values provided more clarity for me. I have learned a great deal from our students, which allowed us to make some necessary changes to enhance the student experience. As we start the school year, I wanted to share some of those enhancements with you.

  • In the fall of 2021, the college worked with the Greater Attleboro and Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) to introduce GATRA Go Connect. GATRA Go Connect is an on-demand service that students can utilize to schedule shuttles. Students are able to schedule a shuttle to take them to Mansfield, Easton, and Patriot Place in Foxboro. The service is free of charge to faculty, staff, and students. The addition of this service provides increased access to medical providers and employment in the community. For more information, you can visit the Transporation page on our website.
  • The Dean of Students office hired an Associate Director for Student Support and Case Manager in the fall of 2021 to help students navigate resources on-campus. The decision to create this position is in response to students sharing they needed the extra support and the position serves as a liaison to parents.
  • In January 2022, the department of Campus Safety joined the division of student affairs. The department works closely with campus partners to ensure we are meeting student needs. We are in the process of creating student employment positions in Campus Safety and developing a student advisory board to gather feedback.
  • During the spring semester, I was able to host a number of “Lunch with the Dean” sessions to meet with students and provide additional access to information and listen to concerns. The sessions also allowed me to get to know the students and learn about the different activities they are involved in. I will be continuing the sessions this year as I found them valuable.
  • Over the summer, we completed some enhancements to three of our first-year residence halls (Clark, McIntire, and Young). We replaced the flooring and painted to brighten up the buildings. We also updated some of the bathrooms on upper campus. We will continue updating the residence halls this year and continue to receive feedback from students.

I would also like to take this time to invite you to Family and Friends Weekend September 23rd and 24th! We have some great programming planned for you with a focus on academic and social engagement. Check out the schedule of events. Family and Friends can register for the event through our registration form. Registration will be open until Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

I look forward to working with you and your students as we assist them with their academic journey. You are always welcome to reach out to the Dean of Students office with questions or concerns.

Dr. Parker