About Us


Division of Student Affairs

Division of Student Affairs Mission - With students at the heart of all we do, the Division of Student Affairs facilitates innovative learning and developmental experiences, challenging and preparing students to successfully learn, engage, serve, and lead at Rutgers University and in a global society.

Learning Outcomes

Communication & Dialogue
  • To express ideas and facts clearly in a range of settings and through written, oral, and visual formats 
  • To demonstrate effective use of information and technology to communicate, problem solve, and complete tasks 
  • To identify and establish trustworthy and supportive relationships with peers, faculty, and staff 
  • To identify effective and appropriate strategies for managing and resolving conflict 
  • To listen and seek to understand in order to empathize with another person’s perspective and experience 
  • To articulate one’s values, beliefs, strengths, and challenges 
  • To develop the capacity for civic discourse
Intellectual Engagement & Curiosity
  • To construct a variety of frameworks for viewing an issue 
  • To reflect and connect new learning to previous knowledge and experiences 
  • To incorporate, apply, and synthesize information from a variety of sources including personal experience, academic learning, and observation to form opinions and make decisions 
  • To demonstrate creativity when formulating one’s approach to making decisions and solving problems 
  • To engage creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically with the learning process 
  • To understand and value culture and human differences 
  • To analyze and understand the interconnectedness of our local community within the global world
Interpersonal Relationships and Inclusion
  • To demonstrate leadership through role modeling, influence, partnership and service 
  • To cultivate meaningful and respectful relationships 
  • To actively engage with others to build consensus, define values, or meet shared goals 
  • To recognize the context for and develop the skills involved with knowing how to advocate for equity, inclusion and social justice 
  • To understand and examine social identities and how they intersect 
  • To develop a sense of responsibility in order to recognize and intervene in situations where bias and discrimination are evident
Intrapersonal Development
  • To develop, understand and incorporate a personalized approach to well-being 
  • To examine, identify, and assess one’s goals and challenges, areas of strength and growth
  • To analyze one’s own identity and examine one’s role in society 
  • To employ self-reflection and actively seek feedback from others 
  • To understand how one’s individual actions impact the greater community 
  • To take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results 
  • To demonstrate and articulate transferrable skills (e.g., time management, problem solving, teamwork) that contribute to lifelong success 
  • To employ positive help seeking behaviors and coping skills in ways that promote self-advocacy and self-efficacy

Student Basic Needs

Mission - We understand that basic needs have a direct impact on our students' mental, emotional, and physical health, wellness, academic achievement, professional growth, and overall success. The quality of life of our students has a huge impact on their sense of belonging, persistence, graduation rate, and overall experience. As a result, we refuse to accept hunger, malnutrition, and homelessness as part of the ethos of our university.

Vision - To address basic needs insecurity proactively in order to enable access and connections to essential student services throughout campus that support impacts on health, belonging, persistence, and student well-being.


  • Students will be equipped with the ability to make knowledgeable decisions, grow in self-advocacy, and obtain resources that address their basic needs. (Intellectual Engagement & Curiosity)​
  • Students will understand the need of meeting their basic needs if they are to succeed intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically as a whole. (Intrapersonal Development)
  • Students will be able to identify at least three resources that serve their basic needs, either on or off campus. (Intellectual Engagement & Curiosity)
  • Maintain constant outreach and support to reaffirm students' alternatives and reduce obstacles to getting basic needs help. (Interpersonal Relationships and Inclusion)

Guiding principles for basic needs work: 

  1. Meeting students’ basic needs is foundational to affordability, accessibility, and student success throughout higher education. 
  2. Students’ challenges with basic needs reflect long-standing struggles with inequality, inequity, and systemic racism. 
  3. Meeting students’ basic needs is a shared responsibility. Higher education institutions cannot solve these issues on their own.

Student Basic Needs Team


  Phillip Smith, Ed.D.
  Assistant Dean for Student Basic Needs

  Hometown: Cleveland, OH


  Amber Danku
  Assistant Director 

  Hometown: Sayreville, NJ


  Ross Perez
  Program Coordinator
⁠  Languages: English/Spanish

  Hometown: Moca, DR