Caltech Co-Curricular Group
In April 2022, the Caltech Co-Curricular (C3) Group, appointed by President Rosenbaum, delivered a set of recommendations for enhancing the Institute's co-curricular program as a means of improving the student experience. The group's deliberations covered housing and the residential experience; student health and wellness; academic and research advising; career exploration, advising, and development; student orientation and onboarding; and inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.
In September 2021, President Rosenbaum tasked the Caltech Co-Curricular (C3) Group to explore how to enhance the co-curricular experience for all Caltech students. Dr. Rosenbaum charged the C3 Group to "identify the elements that play significant roles in how students feel about their time at Caltech, to articulate the most successful approaches, and to make recommendations on how to enhance the Caltech co-curricular program in a manner that will strengthen the experience for all students."
The C3 engaged with this charge in a deliberate and methodical manner. The Group implemented a process that included: reviewing the recent reaccreditation process and areas of focus; gathering information from existing offices, programs, and prior efforts related to the student experience; analyzing and prioritizing student needs via data; speaking with student leaders; and conducting surveys and focus groups with recent alumni to understand their experience outside of the classroom and laboratory.
Twelve learnings emerged from C3's early process. The C3 then deliberated and consulted student leaders and colleagues across peer institutions. The Group arrived ultimately at practical and actionable recommendations for the Caltech community. The intent of this report is to set the stage for Caltech to strengthen programming in high-impact areas to enhance the student experience.
Seventeen recommendations are presented. Each one requires, and is designed to benefit from, further collaborative discussion and action by those closest to, most cognizant of, and most impacted by, the area highlighted. These recommendations are grounded in the commitment to support each student's development as a whole person. This includes their academic achievement, professional development, mental and overall well-being, and preparedness to contribute meaningfully to a diverse and inclusive world.
At the same time, the recommendations to improve the student experience at Caltech are presented as a vision that encompasses the whole student experience: from matriculation through graduation. The recommendations aim to enhance specific efforts and support services and to strengthen and operationalize the connections between these efforts and services so that there is a shared understanding and objective of how students should develop through their experience at Caltech. The C3 Group recommends a universal, strategic, goal-oriented, and cohesive approach to the student experience be articulated through an approach that ensures enhancements that strengthen each of the interdependent components, is overseen by one individual assigned to serve the function of holistic student experience oversight, is implemented in a collaborative manner with the students, and contains an assessment component to ensure that progress is made and the efforts are supporting students as intended.
Finally, these recommendations arrive with a sense of urgency for action. This moment in Institute history affords a unique opportunity to examine intentionally the student experience and likewise provides an opportunity to carry forward the required monitoring and adjustments that will help the Institute elevate the student experience to one that is on par with the excellence of the student academic experience.