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Future of Student Affairs: Staff Experience

The Staff Experience Working Group focusied on two broad areas   —  staff diversity and staff retention. The group's co-chairs were Shalini Bhutani, Director of Bechtel International Center, and Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director of the Native American Community Center. The group was charged with exploring the following tasks:


  • Create and implement a comprehensive recruitment and interview process for Student Affairs staff, ensuring diverse representation in the candidate pools.
  • Develop five strategies to have a staff make-up that affirms the identity of our student population.  Be sure to address recruitment and retention.
  • Develop five strategies to have a diversity of staff “at each table” with “voices” at each table that increase the complexity/thoughtfulness of decisions.


  • Purposefully examine the first six months of a staff member’s experience in Student Affairs. Create and implement an onboarding process for new staff that brings clarity to their role, helps them navigate their department and the division and helps them identify with Stanford.
  • Analyze the challenges with staff retention after one year and after five years.  Examine options for flexible work, and make five recommendations.  Examine options for addressing the cost of living, and make five recommendations.

The Staff Experience Working Group members were:

Jan Barker Alexander, Interim Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Chair of  Community Centers

Brian Begley, Physician Assistant, Vaden Health Center

Shalini Bhutani, Director, Bechtel International Center (Co-Chair)

Karen Biestman, Associate Dean and Director, Native American Cultural Center (Co-Chair) (2016-17 academic year)

Tanisha Clarke, Clinical Care Manager, Counseling and Psychological Services

Celeste Davila, Office Manager, Office of Community Standards (2016-17 academic year)

Sonya Forrester, Assistant Dean, Graduate Life Office

Linda Lydon, Recruiting Manager, BEAM, Stanford Career Education

Frances Morales, Associate Dean and Director, El Centro Chicano y Latino

Cindy Ng, Associate Dean and Director, Asian American Activities Center

Diontrey Thompson, Assistant Dean, Residential Education

The group focused its attention on a Staff Experience Climate Survey , which was conducted in Fall 2017, analyzed in Winter 2018 and continues to be implemented in 2018.