Competency 1 – Knowledge of Higher Education and Student Affairs

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1) Knowledge of Higher Education and Student Affairs

Graduates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the role of student affairs in higher education by being able to articulate current and past issues shaping the field and the implications these issues have on students’ lives. In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their knowledge of…

The historical and philosophical underpinnings of student affairs.My previous employer was the University of Illinois at Chicago Wellness Center. During my tenure at UIC I was exposed to NASPA, ACPA, and ASJA. Prior to working at UIC, the only professional association that I knew about was PRSA (a national public relations association). I started to read NASPA emails and ACPA journals and realized that the practical work that I was engaged in was supported by student development theories and years of history.

The first term in CSSA was the most difficult for me in terms of re-adjustment. It had been 4 years since I had been a student. Fortunately, the first term is filled to the brim with courses which are designed to strengthen the atrophied student muscles of first year students. It was in our History of American Higher Education course where I was introduced to the history of the profession (and of my undergraduate institution). I had attended a brief history presentation of the field while I was at UIC, but it did not provide me with the depth and breadth of the CSSA History class. Once again, I delved into college student health as a key area of my professional development. The health of students has been a primary concern since the inception of the field.

In our Programs & Functions class I was able to research the history of my favorite student affairs functional area: the Dean of Students. I wrote a paper on how the role had been split across gender lines and of how the field almost disappeared due to its general nature.

A fascinating historical context of which I have been learning about in my CSSA Enrollment Management course is how the field of enrollment management emerged. I had no idea how the baby boomer generation had influenced university admissions practices. The history of enrollment management has provided me with a necessary framework for what I would posit is the gateway for most schools: admissions.

The primary challenges and opportunities being presented to student affairs professionals. I rely on several organizations, associations, conferences, colleagues, web sites, and periodicals to maintain my awareness of the challenges and opportunities that occur on a daily basis in student affairs. My primary sources of information are: Educause, NASPA, ACPA, Diverse (Black Issues in Higher Education), The Chronicle of Higher Education, UB Daily from University Business, and Academic Impressions: Daily News, in addition to student affairs colleagues with whom I frequently network.

Educause, the UB Daily, and Academic Impressions provide a daily e-newsletter that covers topics including: financial aid, legislative news, campus technology, multicultural readings, and innovative practices.

Standards of good practice in student affairs and ethical responsibilities of the student affairs professional. I learned a great deal about student affairs standards of good practice while I was at UIC. However, I was not exposed to the CAS Standards. The CAS Standards provided me with a foundational basis for the work that I do as well as a guide for foundational areas in which I might not have experience or practitioner knowledge.

During my OSU Student Conduct practicum, I was exposed to a working environment that dealt with standards of good practice and ethical responsibilities in meaningful ways.

Goals, trends, and key issues related to the future of the student affairs profession. The future of the student affairs profession is something that is very important to me. I recently attended the NASPA National Conference as well as the NASPA Multicultural Institute. These conferences provided me with information that I would not normally have had access to. Professional development is a necessity for student affairs practitioners. My first NASPA presentation was at a regional conference in Milwaukee in 2003. I look forward to attending developmental activities throughout my career.