Student Health Professionals: Selected Competencies

Student Health Service Professionals: Selected Competencies

The Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education provides a framework and guidance for 28 functional areas in student affairs (Miller et al, 2003). Each functional area has a list of competencies which guide student affairs professionals in all aspects of student life. One area of student life is the college health program. Typically this program has included both clinical and preventative health services. According to Komives, Woodard, and Associates, “The primary purpose of student health services is to provide immediate medical assistance to students who are ill or injured; student health services also encourage individual good health and provide leadership in promoting the concept of a healthy campus” (2003, p. 349). The importance of health to college students has been cited in several publications (as cited in Benjamin and Robinson, 1998).

For the sake of brevity, I will focus this paper around three student health professional competencies: budgeting, assessment/evaluation, and teaching/learning. The clinical aspects of college health are too broad for a paper of this nature. In order to conserve space, health education and health educators will be the primary focus. A historical context will be provided to showcase similarities of yesterday’s professional with the modern practitioner.

Dr. Edward Hitchcock, director of physical education at Amerherst College, is credited as being the first person to establish a formal college health program (The American College Health Association: A Brief History, 2001). In 1861, Hitchcock “created a health and physical education program that attempted to fill what he saw as the college’s role in combating the failing health of nineteenth century students” (Sloane and Sloane, 1986, p. 271). According to Sloane and Sloane, Hitchcock was the creator of health education and the role of the health educator (1986). Hitchcock’s programs focused on educating students “of the need for a nutritious diet and against the dangers of drinking and smoking” and “offered information on reproductive health…” (Sloane and Sloane, 1986, p. 271) Hitchcock offered a new, holistic approach which focused on a student’s well being (Christmas and Dorman, 1996). 40 years after Hitchcock’s initiation of college health, the University of California developed the first “comprehensive student health program (as it might be defined today), providing both medical care and infirmary care…” (Turner and Hurley, 2002, p. 4).

In 1932, William Hughes wrote a guide for student health professionals, entitled, “The Administration of Health and Physical Education for Men in Colleges and Universities.” Hughes developed a model for a student health service and included information on the financial aspects of student health (1932). According to Hughes, student health services should be funded by general university funds and from student fees (1932). The budgetary needs of a student health program were simple in that the funding primarily provided for staff salaries and supply costs. However, early administrators had to be fiscally responsible with their budgets. According to Weaver and Frederick, if student fees monies were not able to cover the costs of student health programming, it was “usually advisable for the college to make suitable appropriations from general college funds to maintain the health service program” (1947, p. 38). Insurance provided some students with health care but historically, “well recognized values are associated with health serviced practice and teaching which are impossible to duplicate through the usual insurance programs” (Weaver and Frederick, 1947, p. 38).

Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment and evaluation have been part of health education since the inception of the field. According to Stewart and Tipple, “A student-centered…program of health education for every student is a vital part…” of the college level experience (1954, p. 106). It is further stated that health education “assists materially in the development of the potential capacities of each student” (Stewart and Tipple, 1954, p. 106). These statements require validation and thus assessment and evaluation. Stewart and Tipple speak of using scientific methods of evaluation to justify health education programming (1954). One of the main goals for assessing student health programs is to see if student knowledge of health has increased. There were a variety of ways which student health professionals could assess student success including: “questionnaires, health interest inventories, student health autobiographies, and summaries of student health records” (Stewart and Tipple, 1954, p. 110). In 1937, assessment evolved from a process which considered the “adequacy of personnel, facilities, equipment and administrative provisions…” to a process which gave “primary consideration to the effects of health teaching and health service programs in terms of their adequacy in meeting the needs of the student body” (National Conference on College Hygiene, 1937, p. 45).

Teaching and Learning
In the early 1900’s, student health education programs were focused on student learning (National Conference on College Hygiene, 1937). Health education sought to develop the mind and body of the student and this form of education was considered as “one of the most difficult teaching assignments in the college curriculum” (National Conference on College Hygiene, 1937, p. 36). Constantly changing information, a lack of interest from students, and resistance to change provided health educators with a challenging teaching assignment (National Conference on College Hygiene, 1937).

Present Day
College health programs have evolved considerably since 1861. Accreditation plays an important part in this area. Health educators are increasingly becoming Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES). 80% of all colleges and universities in the United States have “some organized arrangement for advancing [student] health” (Miller et al, 2003, p. 83). The principal associations for college health are the American College Health Association and the American Public Health Association. Budgeting, assessment/evaluation, and teaching/learning continue to be areas in which college health practitioners need to have proficiency.

The economic climate in which college health programs exist is one that is filled with uncertainty and opportunity. Funding sources are no longer limited to university general funds and student fee revenues. Grant funded programs can now supplement or increase overall service offerings (Turner and Hurley, 2002). College health programs can have multi-million dollar budgets especially when health education services are incorporated into “multi-specialty clinics” which offer services to “students, faculty, staff, spouses, dependents, and in some cases, the general public” (Turner and Hurley, 2002, p. 43).

Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment and evaluation are extremely important to a practitioner in a college health program. Turner and Hurley state that the evaluation of student health services should include the following questions: “How many students are utilizing the services? Are students satisfied with the services received? Are the program objectives being accomplished? Are the objectives being accomplished in the most cost-efficient manner?” (2002, p. 65). According to Hayden, college health programs should “plan on assessment”, “carry out evaluation of plans”, “interpret results of program evaluation”, and “infer implications from findings for future program planning” (2000, p. 7).

Teaching and Learning
College health educators are by default, teachers. They teach a specialized topic which can have a major impact on student success (Damush, Hays, and DiMatteo, 1997). According to Miller et al, a college health program “must provide evidence of its impact on the achievement of student learning and development outcomes” (2003, p. 86). Furthermore, a college health program and its practitioners “must be based on theories and knowledge of learning and human development” (Miller et al, 2003, p. 87). According to the International Association of Student Affairs and Services Professionals (IASAS), college health programs should provide “information on health issues specifically involving the college age student, e.g., sexually transmitted diseases, stress, diet, depression” (2001, p.41).

Future directions
In 1998 the college health education Competency Update Project (CUP) was started by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. The project will have an impact on the “professional preparation, certification, and professional development” of college health practitioners (NCHEC – About NCHEC – CUP, 2002). The competencies for the college health program practitioner are constantly evolving and changing with the needs and requirements of the students that they serve.


American College Health Association, (2001). The american college health association: a brief history. retrieved Nov. 21, 2004, from ACHA: History Web site:

Benjamin, M., & Robinson, J. (1998). Service quality, encounter satisfaction, and the delivery of student health services. Journal of College Student Development, 39(5), 427-437.

Christmas, W. A., & Dorman, J. M. (1996). The “storey” of college health hygiene. Journal of American College Health, 45(1), 27-35.

Damush, T. M., Hays, R. D., & DiMatteo M. R. (1997). Stressful life events and health-related quality of life in college students. Journal of College Student Development, 38(2), 181-190.

Hayden, J. (2000). The health education specialist: a study guide for professional competence. 4th ed. Allentown, PA: NCHEC.

Hughes, W. (1932). The administration of health and physical education for men in colleges and universities. New York City, NY: Bureau of Publications: Teachers College, Columbia University.

International Association of Student Affairs and Services Professionals. (2001). The role of student affairs and services in higher education: a practical manual for developing, implementing, and assessing student affairs programmes and services. R. Ludeman (Ed.).

Komives, S., Woodard, Jr., D., & associates. (2003). Student services: a handbook for the profession. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Miller, T. (Ed.). (2003). The book of professional standards for higher education. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, (2002). Nchec – about nchec — cup. retrieved Nov. 21, 2004, from

National Conference on College Hygiene. (1937). Health in colleges. Proceedings of the second national conference on college hygiene. New York, NY: National Tuberculosis Association.

Sloane, D. C., & Sloane, B. C. (1986). Changing opportunities: an overview of the history of college health education. Journal of American College Health, 34, 271-273.

Stewart, E., & Tipple, D. (1954). How student health can be influenced through health education. Proceedings from the fourth national conference on health in colleges (pp. 106-116). American College Health Association.

Turner, H., & Hurley, J. (2002). The history and practice of college health. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky.

Weaver, M., & Marty F. (1947). Objectives, finances, housing, and equipment, staff, services, and records. A health program for colleges (pp. 27-39). National Tuberculosis Association.

Student Development Autobiography #2

I am amazed by the amount of learning and growth that has occured since I wrote this paper. I was really struggling with Janet Helms’ Model of White Identity and now I completely understand what she was saying!

Student Development Autobiography #2

The events leading up to my move to Oregon, and the months of rigorous academic work for my graduate program, have provided what I hope will be an interesting snapshot of my present day development. While searching for relevant theories to apply to my graduate experience I found that most of the theories we have studied focus primarily on traditional undergraduate development. Having written about my undergraduate experiences in the previous autobiography I have found the process of reflection to be considerably more challenging for this assignment.

University of Illinois at Chicago
To paint a clear picture of why I am here in Oregon I feel it is necessary to look back at my time in Chicago as a student affairs professional at the University of Illinois at Chicago. My tenure at UIC lasted for more than 2 years. My task was a simple one, market and promotes the UIC Wellness Center’s services and programs. I soon became aware that the environment at UIC was becoming toxic for my professional development. I was involved in several campus committees, participated in intramurals, and was involved with planning a lot of campus events, but something was wrong. I felt like I was being marginalized. Maslow states that secrecy, censorship, dishonesty, and blocking of communications are all threats to basic needs. I definitely felt threatened. I do not wish to focus on the negative experiences of my previous job but I felt it was necessary to include a small bit of information as these were the grounds for my search for something else. I started searching for graduate programs and found that the OSU CSSA program seemed to be a good fit. Perhaps this need for something else could be assigned to one of Maslow’s “needs.” I could have been striving for self actualization at both conscious and unconscious levels. Part of me was looking ahead at my continued growth but there was still an undetermined future in Oregon. I feel it is necessary for me to include an aside to my transition from Chicago to Corvallis: I took the GRE and received poor marks. According to Astin, the GRE is significant as a post test of future graduate student performance. He is assuming that everyone takes the GRE immediately after they graduate from college. I do not feel that my GRE scores reflect my academic ability.

I arrived in Corvallis, Oregon at the end of August. It was lonely in Corvallis as I had left my peer groups and family behind in the Midwest. Fortunately I had the CSSA orientation to attend only a week after I arrived. Orientation was amazing. We were challenged, literally by the OSU Challenge Course. Our program leaders planned a 2 day orientation that created a priceless support structure to form. I read somewhere, perhaps in Chickering, that a cohort can become a family away from family. I whole heartedly agree with this.

Graduate Assistantship
Two weeks after my arrival in Corvallis, I began my graduate assistantship. My assistantship was the result of my telephone interview for acceptance into the CSSA program. The need for my technology/student affairs skills was very high. Everyone I met that first week said to me that they were glad I was here and that they needed me to “fix things.” Unlike my previous experiences at UIC, I felt that I mattered and that my skills were in high demand. My assistantship provided me with ample opportunities for professional growth. However, it soon became apparent that my role of “fixer of all things techie” would not be very fulfilling. I became marginalized because I mattered too much. I felt that I alone was responsible to make things better. Plus, I was not having any contact with students. Fortunately I was housed in the student orientation and retention office. Realizing my need for support, the staff in the student orientation and retention office encouraged me to volunteer for non-techie programs. I was able to participate in a campus preview event and several new student events. I was very appreciative of the fact that I was able to participate in a few campus rituals. Schlossberg would have approved! According to Chickering and Reisser, “signs of discomfort and upset are not necessarily negative” (1993, p. 479). They state that positive development and learning can occur when such difficulty arises. I would disagree. My early assistantship learning and development was retarded by a lack of support. It is ironic that it seems that you can matter too much which in turn causes marginalization. Jessica White states that, “the role of the techie can be a very isolating one in student affairs” (2004).

School started and I quickly became aware that being a graduate student was going to be challenging. Longwell-Grice states that “older, returning, non-traditional students” are more successful when they develop a “narrow focus on academics” (2003, p. 50). I think graduate students develop this focus out of a need to persist. I have not been able to involve myself in anything other than CSSA work and my assistantship. According to Astin, I will probably not persist due to low levels of involvement. Thankfully I was working at OSU for two weeks before school started. This allowed me to explore the campus and seek out forums for involvement. Although the rigor of my current situation dictates that I will have to have tunnel vision for the remainder of the fall term I am optimistic that I will be able to be more involved in the future academic terms. The challenge is time. Time is a finite commodity which determines the level of support that I can embrace.

Personal Life
To say that my personal life was affected by my decision to attend graduate school would be the largest understatement of my life. I quit a well paying job and moved over two thousand miles. This radical life change has forced me to reevaluate my own sense of self. I seem to have several dimensions of identity which I am dealing with. I am: white, heterosexual, a student, a professional, tall, a techie, and sensitive. Jones and McEwen’s model of multiple dimensions of identity looks like an atom. I feel that my “electrons” are spinning out of control. I find it very hard to focus on my studies while being a good professional at my assistantship. According to Widick et al, the demands of a new environment such as graduate school can cause a reexamination of one’s identity. I cannot help but agree with this as a real statement which personally is valid. One aspect of my identity which I am struggling with is the idea that as a white person, I have aspects of racism which are part of my being white. Helms states that white people must move towards an abandonment of their racist tendencies. I was completely flummoxed by this concept. I disagree with Helms because I have never thought of myself as a racist nor have I exhibited racist traits. If Helms were conducting a study which involved my entire family then, yes, racism would emerge as a core family identity dimension. Throughout my entire adult life my family has frustrated me with their uninformed biases. I have struggled with them and yet they seem to need me in their lives. Tinto talks of Native American students and the difficulties they sometimes face when they leave their families when they leave for college. I am part Cherokee but not enough that it is part of my identity so I guess Tinto’s generalization that educated white parents will reward a child for going off to school is incorrect. My parents have college degrees but do not understand why I would “leave them” for school. I appreciate my CSSA cohort family because they are the antithesis of my real family. According to Tinto, students need to interact with their peers to increase their persistence. I have both consciously and unconsciously utilized my cohort as a support structure and in some ways have fulfilled needs for friendship as described by Maslow. The cohort provides me with academic, social, and personal support. The CSSA cohort is, in my opinion, the catalysts for my persistence. They are the ultimate supporters of me.

I wrote in the first autobiography that I was utilizing graduate school as a means to further my need for self actualization. I think that statement is no longer valid. My “electrons” are pulling me in directions that I cannot see, for who can see their own developmental future? I can try to relate my development to the theories I have read but in the end it seems that no one knows what will happen.

The faux presentation

What would be the most appropriate professional organization conference
at which to present?

NASPA – National Conference


Originally, I was going to send this proposal to Educause for their Spring
Conference. I came to the conclusion that I would be “preaching to the
choir”. The folks at Educause already are on board with many of the concepts
which I will discuss below. I believe my student affairs technology ideas need
to be presented at NASPA so that senior student affairs practitioners can adopt
them. Technology needs to be discussed at every level and across a wider range
of audiences.

When is the next conference?

March 19-23, 2005

What is the deadline to submit program proposals?

September 10, 2004

What is the theme of the conference?

Imagine and Explore the Future

How does the presentation relate to the theme?
My presentation embraces a new paradigm, the idea that the virtual web is
just as important as the brick and mortar office and that student affairs
websites need to adopt standards.

What method can programs be submitted?
Programs can be posted electronically via a web form.

Program title:
The Student Affairs Website: It’s time for a framework.

Name of presenter, including name of institution:
Eric Stoller, Oregon State University

Program abstract:
This session will emphasize the importance
of and reasons for utilizing web standards. Websites and the functionality
they provide have become as important as brick and mortar services. The need
for web standards is important in this age of nontraditional students, recruitment
initiatives, and budget uncertainty. The need for dedicated web programmers,
designers, and usability specialists will also be addressed.

Program Overview
Many of us wear many hats. One hat or role that some student affairs
professionals have is the function of the student affairs webmaster. Once
a website plan has been established, it becomes necessary to follow a process,
which enables user-friendly access for all stakeholders. This presentation
will present a framework for student affairs professionals who are looking
for a technical document written in a non-technical manner.

Responsibilities of Web Publishers
As a web publisher, you are responsible
for the content of your pages. You must ensure that your content is up to date
and is grammatically correct. Macromedia Dreamweaver has a built in spell checker
located in the “Text” menu
(Shift + F7).

Content Maintenance
Pages must be accurate and up-to-date. Establish an updating system and identify
specific individuals to help maintain content validity.

Websites should be accessible to users with visual, hearing, mobility, and
cognitive disabilities. The guiding principle is that all sites must meet
or exceed Section 508 (Priority 1) standards for accessibility.

Interface Consistency
Web Pages should maintain a consistent “look and feel”.

Page Components
Web pages should include the following:
university branding, search capability, and cascading style sheets for universal

Contextual Titles
Titles are used by search engines to identify pages when users
search. Additionally, if two or more pages have the same title, they cannot
be differentiated by users or the "Favorites" capability of a browser.
Page titles also aid users who are using screen readers.

Site statistics
Website statistics can be monitored using a variety of options. These numbers
should play a vital role in how your site functions. Most web statistic options
include the ability to monitor referrals and the most “popular” pages
on a site. It is important for a website to be updated and upgraded in order
to meet the needs of your audience. Once those needs are determined through
proper web statistics, content can be created or updated to match.

Site Directory Structure :

Unlinked/Landing pages
Place all non-public\landing\temporary test pages in the root directory.
The only html files in the root should be current pages or pages which fall
into the aforementioned category.

Directory rules

Do not use capital letters. Use lowercase for all file names. Try to limit
the use of #’s and _’s. Use clear naming conventions: applications.html
instead of apps.html

Technical Notes:

A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be
provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc",
or in element content).

ALT tags is short for alternative tags.  ALT tags appear when you place
your mouse over an image.  They also appear when an image does not load
or is not allowed to load.  This provides a hint to a user reading from
a text only browser or one on a slow connection. Screen readers also use
the ALT tags when reading to the visually impaired.  ALT tags are very
easy to add to your pages.

Do not use frames. Frames are not universally accessible. The content of frames
may not be searchable by search engines.

Descriptive links
Instead of denoting a link with the words "Click here" or similar
phrase, be descriptive when providing links; for example: "more information
about online applications." Consider allowing such links to stand on their
own line or provide an ordered or unordered list of links in HTML.

Page dimensions
Pages should be no larger than 740 pixels wide x 440 pixels high to fit on
an 800 x 600 screen without scrolling. This ensures that someone on a 15 inch
monitor can use your website as well as someone with a monitor that is 22 inches
in size.

Meta Tags
Meta tags help search engines find and index your web pages.
Meta tags provide:

1. A brief description of the content

2. The edit date and name of the author or authoring department 3. Keyword
search terms for indexing.


Meta tags
For beta/test pages please include the following code in the <head> of
the document:

A robot will not index this document, nor analyze it for links.

Validate code in Bobby, W3C, or Cynthia

Do not leave old web pages on your web server. Old
pages are still “live” and
can be found via search engines and old links/bookmarks.


Web sites

Krug, Steve. Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.
Indianapolis : New Riders, 2000.
Veen, J. (2001). The art & science of web design. Indianapolis
, IN : New Riders.


Outline of the program presentation

Responsibilities of Web Publishers

Content validity
Content Maintenance

Interface Consistency

Page Components

University branding


Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
Contextual Titles
Site statistics

Site Directory Structure

Unlinked/Landing pages
Directory rules
Technical Notes


Descriptive links
Page dimensions
Meta Tags





  • Intended learning outcomes
    It is my hope that attendees of my presentation will gain a new
    understanding of how a simple plan can be used to create a successful website.
    Through the use of technical examples that are framed in an easily understood
    manner, the audience will be shown directives which compliment their existing
    brick and mortar structures.
  • Relationship of program to conference theme
    The future involves change which historically has been a slow process
    in academia and student affairs. Today’s students move at the speed
    of light. I hope to generate momentum for the audience’s imagination
    regarding their websites. Exploration is an exciting yet challenging
    endeavor and I hope this presentation sparks the audience to effect
    change at their institutions.
  • How audience members will be involved in the presentation

I will ask for audience participation throughout the program.
At the end of the session I will allocate time for questions and answers. The
structure will be flexible so that a free flow dialogue can be established.
The framework that I will provide is not written in stone but instead is presented
as a springboard for new ideas.

Why we need tenure

Why We Need Tenure

Tenure is defined as “a means to certain ends; specifically: (1) freedom of teaching and research and of extramural activities, and (2) a sufficient degree of economic security to make the profession attractive to men and women of ability” (1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure With 1970 Interpretive Comments, 1990). I would argue that tenure is necessary for the following reasons: academic freedom, job security, and faculty/student recruitment.

To say that tenure is necessary in academia would be an understatement. Many ideas and discoveries may not have happened if without the security of tenure. Research can take many years to generate beneficial outcomes. Without tenure, many faculty would not have been able to create and communicate new thought processes which otherwise might have been censored or stifled. Alexander W. Astin stated that, “the underlying logic is really very simple: the quickest and surest way to the truth is to encourage the expression of diverse points of view and to promote active discussion and debate of these different views” (1993, p. 49). Another benefit of tenure is it allows faculty to grade students based on their achievements rather than their social status (Perley, 1997).

Tenure cannot replace a “real world” salary but it can ensure a certain degree of employed longevity. Today’s economic climate further emphasizes the need for tenure. Can you put a price on job security? Former Harvard University Dean, Henry Rosovsky says that tenure is:

A social contract in which professors achieve job security by accepting lower pay than their education, talents, and initiative would command in other fields. Faculty members have the talent and amount of time invested in their own education that would tend to make them very successful business people, lawyers, and doctors – people who make much more money than the average faculty member (Hobbs, 1997)

Some have said that tenured faculty focus more on attaining and maintaining their tenured, i.e. employed status, then actually teaching students. According to Henry Lee Allen, most tenured faculty spend roughly the same amount of time teaching as non-tenured faculty (1997).

Lastly, if tenure ceased to exist at OSU, the university would be at a distinct disadvantage in its faculty/student recruitment efforts. According to Stephen Rittenberg, vice provost for academic administration at Columbia University, “Our tenured faculty are perhaps the single most important factor determining the quality and reputation of our institution” (Karaganis).

Tenure must remain at OSU for the aforementioned reasons. If tenure were abolished at OSU and at other institutions, the faculty would “…threaten a revolt…, as well as plunge the institutions that might make the attempt into a morass of litigation” (Yarmolinsky, 1996).


AAUP, (1990). 1940 statement of principles on academic freedom and tenure with 1970 interpretive comments. retrieved Nov 03, 2004, from AAUP 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom & Tenure Web site:

Allen, H. L. (1997). Tenure: why faculty, and the nation, need it. THE NEA HIGHER EDUCATION JOURNAL, 75-88.

Astin, A. W.W. (1993). How are students affected? Change, 25(2), 49.

Hobbs, A. M. . (1997). retrieved Nov 03, 2004, from White papers Brochure, Draft 5a, December 18, 1997 Web site:

Karaganis, J. (n.d.). Scapegoating tenure, or, what the media did and didn’t learn in econ 101 . retrieved Nov 03, 2004, from Metanews: scapegoating tenure Web site:

Perley, J. E.E. (1997, April 4).Tenure remains vital to academic freedom. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Yarmolinsky, A. (1996). Tenure: permanence and change. College Teaching, 44, 115-118.

History of UNI

University of Northern Iowa: A brief history

I attended the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) from 1997 through the summer of 2000. I experienced classes in both old and new buildings, attended campus rituals and was involved with Student Organizations. My involvement with UNI accounts for only 2 percent of the entire history of the university.

Founding and History

Founded in 1876 as the Iowa State Normal School, UNI had a dual purpose. First, the citizens of Iowa, affected by the Civil War, wanted to educate the children of Civil War soldiers/sailors. Second, Iowa needed an institution focused on the schooling of teachers. This does not mean that UNI was created without controversy. Private schools, concerned that UNI would take away their business, lobbied against its creation. “By thin margins — one vote in the Senate and two votes in the House — the bill passed” which started UNI.

“The first class at the Iowa State Normal School (UNI) was held on September 6, 1876, with twenty-seven students in attendance.” Students and faculty lived together in the school’s sole building, Central Hall. Students relied on Principal James Gilchrist’s personal collection of books for their studies and research. By 1880, 233 students had enrolled at UNI. To accommodate the college’s tremendous growth, South Hall (later named Gilchrist Hall) was erected in 1883. It contained classrooms, living space, and a chapel.

Student life was fairly rigorous:
During the week the rising bell rang at 6 A.M. Breakfast was at 7:05 with assembly and roll call at 8:40. Classes and study ran from 9 until 12:15. Dinner was served at 12:40 and classes and study resumed at 1:40 and ran until 4. The time from 4:30 until 5:40 was for students to get exercise from walking or other activities. Tea was served at 6:05. Students studied during the evening and lights were to be extinguished by 10:30. Students could ask to leave school grounds on Saturday afternoons, but the remainder of the weekend was meant for study. Principal Gilchrist led UNI for ten years. During that time, hundreds of students were “educated and taught in all parts of Iowa.”

Today, the primary mission of the University of Northern Iowa is to educate undergraduate students. The university is “Iowa’s only public university that is distinguished by its emphasis on undergraduate education.”

Major Developments
The beginning of the twentieth century was difficult for UNI as the state legislature of Iowa decided that there was to be no “duplication” or “overlap in fields of study.” The Bachelor of Arts degree, which UNI offered, was deemed too similar to a comparative program at the state college at Iowa City. Because of this “challenge”, in 1909, UNI’s name was changed to the Iowa State Teachers College. This further solidified UNI’s role as an educator of teachers. UNI would be renamed again in 1961 as the State College of Iowa and would officially be named the University of Northern Iowa in 1967.

Facts and Tidbits
Since 1910, the cost of attending UNI has risen by over 500 percent. There were a total of 89,863 living alumni as of the fall of 2003. 12,824 students currently attend UNI. 8 men have served as the University’s Presidents. The current president, Dr. Robert Koob, is an alum of UNI. UNI is home to the UNI-Dome. When it opened in 1975, the UNI-Dome “was one of only four air-supported fabric-covered large permanent structures in the world.” In addition to the UNI-Dome, UNI has two unique residence halls. Bender and Dancer Hall tower contain 13 levels and are the tallest buildings in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Reference sites:

Investigative paper #1: Dean of Students

The Dean of Students

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education provides a framework and guidance for 28 functional areas in student affairs (Miller et al, 2003). One student affairs area that is not mentioned is the Dean of Students. Perhaps this area is not considered a functional area because of its lack of standardization. According to Komives, Woodard, and Associates, the Dean of Students “carries the burden of helping students while establishing and enforcing both community standards and institutional standards at the same time” (2003, p. 346). I chose the Dean of Students, specifically the role of the undergraduate Dean, as the focus of my functional paper because of the variety of responsibilities that fall within the purview of the position. Current research on the role of the Dean of Students is meager at best. It would be fascinating to find out how many colleges and universities have a Dean of Students. An online search for Dean of Students results in page after page of university web sites regarding their Dean of Students. Although the present day Dean of Students is rarely written about, I will attempt to enlighten myself and others by summarizing the vast history of the position, looking at possible job responsibilities, and highlighting competencies which are necessary to be a Dean of Students.


The origins of the Dean of Students are differentiated primarily by gender. Men became Deans of Men and Women became Deans of Women. According to Arthur Sandeen (2004), LeBaron Russell Briggs, the first “student dean” was appointed at Harvard College in 1890. Briggs was appointed by Harvard’s president, Charles Eliot. Eliot, in an effort to “manage his increasing work load” created a faculty dean and a student dean (Schwartz, 2001). Briggs’ success at Harvard inspired other colleges to create student dean positions. These early Deans of Men valued “personality as a part of the deans’ natural affinity for work with students” (Sandeen, 2004). Initially, Deans of Men did not champion graduate study, research, or publication (Sandeen, 2004). In an effort to dialogue with fellow Deans of Men, “Robert Rienow, the dean of men at the University of Iowa, wrote a letter to Thomas Arkle Clark, dean of men at the University of Illinois, suggesting a meeting that is now recognized as the founding of the NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education” (NASPA History).

Women started to make strides in the early 19 th century as Deans of Women began to emerge. In 1833 Oberlin College was “the first institution to establish such a position in the form of a lady principal” (Herdlein, 2004). According to Holmes, in a survey sent out to 55 institutions in 1911, “44 had deans of women or women serving in that capacity” (as cited in Herdlein, 2004). According to Schwartz, deans of women, "laid the foundation of professional practice for higher education administration and student services, including graduate study, development of professional associations, research on students, professional literature and journals, and professionalization of the position of dean of women….Most of the significant and well-established practices of higher education administration and student services that exist today were put in place through the work of the deans of women" (as cited in Tuttle, 2004). Contrasting the early behaviors of the Deans of Men, Deans of Women “encouraged graduate study” (Schwartz, 2001). They also “published their own academic journals, and even produced a book on the topic (women deans) in 1915” (Schwartz, 2001). Women deans developed what could be considered the precursor to NASPA when the Association of Collegiate Alumnae was formed in the 1880’s (Schwartz, 2001). Women deans were also responsible for the creation of regional professional associations (Schwartz, 2002). Student Affairs as a viable profession was a direct result of these early Dean of Students positions (Sandeen, 2004).

In the mid 1900’s, the title of Dean of Men/Women was being phased out. Tuttle explains that “the rise of psychology as a discipline…the influence of Progressive education, with its focus on the individual student…and the call for an organization based on function, not gender” all contributed to the demise of gender-oriented positions (2004). “Esther Lloyd-Jones…is credited with suggesting the name "dean of students" for the new administrator in charge of offices serving both female and male students” (Tuttle, 2004). The transition from gender specific deans, to the current Dean of Students title, is written about for both Deans of Men/Women. The transition was filled with turmoil and allegations of gender bias. Schwartz states that Deans of Men became upper level administrators while women deans “found themselves with fewer and fewer responsibilities and eventually, many simply retired, heart-broken and defeated” (2001).

Present Day

Unfortunately, the literature up to this point in time has focused primarily on the history of the Dean of Student. Present day iterations are nowhere to be found except in slight paragraphs. Komives et al states that the function of the dean of students is to “respond to students, faculty, and staff, parents, community members, and others concerned with student related issues or concerns that arise on campus” (2003). Deans of Students can be in charge of several of the functional student affairs areas. Because there is not a defined role for the Dean of Students, I will simply list several areas which a Dean of Students might oversee. I will also provide practical examples. When placed into a hierarchical model where the Dean of Students is in charge of student life, several CAS functional areas appear. Student Judicial/Conduct, Counseling, Health and Wellness, Orientation, Campus Activities, Career Services, Residence Life and LGBT Programs are a few of the possible areas within student affairs that a Dean of Students could oversee. This view does not take into account the increased managerial factors which occur when a Dean of Students is also a Vice President. Our in class discussions have touched on the many areas that Jackie Balzer as interim Dean of Students at OSU is in charge of. One can assume that a Dean of Students who is supervised by a vice president would act as a parental buffer for the VP.


It would seem that it is then necessary to establish competencies which can handle the pressures of dealing with multiple constituencies. Due to the non-categorical nature of the Dean of Students role, I have gathered a list of competencies based on Dean of Students job postings found on both the Chronicle of Higher Education and NASPA websites and from various Dean of Students websites. However, I believe it is not necessary to list all of these competencies because the Dean of Students is the quintessential generalist of the student affairs profession. Jackie Balzer has stated that she is part of a variety of student affairs associations and is connected to her peers via several listservs. Seemingly, a competent Dean of Students is an individual who has studied all of the functional areas of student affairs. Dean of Students are important because they can be called upon as campus wide resources of copious amounts of student affairs information. Stanford University gives us an example of the importance of finding the correct Dean of Students. Stanford University recently conducted a search for a new Dean of Students. The search lasted for almost a year. Stanford was so intent on hiring a competent dean that, after the first round of applications failed to produce a qualified candidate; they hired a search firm to find someone who was a perfect fit. What did Gregory Boardman have that made him the right candidate for the job? “He listens to students very well; he’s a great colleague and administrator. He’s a wonderful person and he has a good feel about him", said Stanford Vice Provost for Student Affairs Gene Awakuni (Stanford Report, 2004).

It is my hope that future time and energy will be devoted to understanding the present and future roles of the Dean of Students. Student Affairs professionals owe their professional existence to the men and women who were the Deans of Men/Women. Perhaps NASPA, ACPA, and/or CAS can be called upon to revitalize the study of this historically relevant position.


Delgado, R. (2004). Boardman jumps into role as new dean of students. Stanford
, .Retrieved Oct 19, 2004, from

Herdlein, R. J.J. (2004). Thyrsa Wealtheow Amos: the dean of deans. NASPA
, 41(2), 336-355.

Komives, S., Woodard, Jr., D., & associates. (2003). Student services:
a handbook for the profession
. 4th ed. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass.

Miller, T. (Ed.). (2003). The book of professional standards for higher
. 3rd ed.

Washington , DC : Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, (n.d.). NASPA history.
retrieved Oct 19, 2004 , from About NASPA Web site:

Sandeen, A. (2004). Educating the whole student: the growing academic importance
of student affairs. Change, 36(3), 28-33.

Schwartz, R. A. (2001). The Disappearing Deans of Men — Where They Went
and Why: A Historical Perspective. Annual Meeting of the American Educational
Research Association. Seattle , Washington .

Schwartz, R. A.A. (2002). The rise and demise of deans of men. The Review
of Higher Education
, 26(2), 217-239.

Tuttle, K. (2004). The Historical Perspective of Women Administrators in
Higher Education. 2004 NASPA Alice Manicur Symposium.