As the landscape of Higher Education is ever changing due to the needs and wants of society it is important that the field of Student Affairs stay aware of issues facing our campuses & our field. Below are some of the issues that our contributors identified for themselves as some critical topics to explore as Student Affairs educators.
What do you consider critical topics for Student Affairs educators right now?
I think a critical topic for Student Affairs educators right now is social media. Its a new facet of life that is here to stay. However, not only are we trying to figure out the logistics and parameters of it, but simultaneously we are trying to discover/learn/teach how to be one’s authentic self, personally and professionally as well as how to express identities all the while attempting to create specific boundaries for social media, when the question could be proposed on whether there even can be exact and specific boundaries on social media.
*Transition programs for international students.
*Financial literacy information as students prepare to graduate.
*Social media as a strategy to build institutional affinity.
~ Ann Marie Klotz
1. The changing demographics of our students. We need to shift our programs and services efforts to a non-residential, older population.
2. Financial Literacy. We need to partner across campus and deliver education to students that will help them as they take on the burden of student loans and other debts.
3. Digital Literacy. Whether its through the use of technology or communicating using social networks, we have an obligation to formally teach students how to best navigate the online space.
~ Ed Cabellon
The increasing class divide among our students on campus, access to technology and our assumptions that incoming students are all going to be technology savvy (Can we agree to ban the phrase “digital natives”?), and our inability to effectively support degrees and learning in the liberal arts as an effective pathway to our current job market.
~ Julie Larsen
Student mental health, First amendment rights and activism, Title X and issues of sexual violence (including dating violence and stalking), teh globalization of education, transfer students are graduating at higher rates at some institutions – how do you support them, how do we expand our view of who we serve (commuters, on line, community college, distance learners).
~ Deb Schmidt-Rogers
There are a number of big picture topics that I consider to be critical in the field – legislative changes affecting higher education including funding sources and meeting the needs of changing student demographics are two of the biggest that I see every day. A critical topic that doesn’t get talked about as much as it really should, is bridging the gap between 4-year institutions and our community college system. And a fourth would be the need for ongoing assessment and high level research on the field as a whole. A lot has changed since Chickering’s Vectors (as much as I love them myself). It is critical for Student Affairs to share the quality of our work – occasionally with words.
~ Emily Yates
Digital Citizenship, Digital Identity, Personal Brand Development
Disrupting the profession – How do we as professionals keep things fresh and progressing forward to best serve the students?
Silo busting – How much more powerful of an experience can we create for our students if we all played together?
The last one is not about sunshine and rainbows and “let’s all get along”, but logically combining different functional areas of the university on specific projects to provide potentially better learning experiences.
Issues of access, retention, and completion will always be critical topics for student affairs. Especially in my area (which leans more like student activities), it is sometimes hard to see how my work works towards addressing these needs. But I like to frame that, large scale events and community development are a small reason why students stay and complete the college work
~ Mike McCormack
Right now my top three critical issues in Student Affairs are, Title IX and how we training our staff around the new mandate for Title IX, this issue has been long overdue and I am excited about the direction. Second, is access to higher education, to acquire a college education is still unattainable whether it is due to finical needs, lack of exposure or under-preparedness, access to higher education needs to be address so that everyone has the ability to have the life they want. Third, critical topic is the professional development/training for student affairs staff members. Often time we focus on the students that are on our campus, but who is focusing on the professionals who work with the students? When budget are being examined, professional development is often the first that gets cut. Some Student Affairs Master’s preparation program are not preparing Student Affairs Professionals to be supervisors or providing some experiences to practice supervision coupled with classroom theory.
~ Aja Holmes
I believe that Title IX (VAWA, Dear Colleague Letter, First White House Report on Sexual Assault, etc) are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Especially with the mandates coming thru legislation at the state and federal levels. I also believe that the rise in comfort and service animal requests have garnered more attention to students with those needs.
~ Scott Schuhert
There are many topics that are critical for Student Affairs educators. The first I would mention is sexual assault. Colleges and universities are under scrutiny regarding how we address sexual assaults regarding prevention, education, reporting, sanctioning, etc. This will continue to be a critical topic and we need to continue to think and act critically when addressing sexual assaults. Another topic that is critical is academic integrity, especially as it relates to student athletes. Our academic reputation is a university’s foundation and we need to make sure our foundation remains strong. If not, the credibility of our departments, programs, etc. will wither away.
~ Kevin A. Dougherty
About Our Contributors:
Brian D. Proffer
Bio: I am currently the Student Engagement Specialist and Success Coach at Marygrove College. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and I recently earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, web 2.0, LGBT issues and general life inspirations and observations. I also serve as the District Grand Master of Michigan for Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
Years in the field: 8 – 10
Connect with Brian on Twitter: @bdproffer
Bio: Ed has over 17 years of progressive experience in Higher Education administration and is a leader in social media and technology integration, education, and assessment. He has worked in various Student Affairs/Student Life departments such as the Campus Center, Residence Life and Student Activities, and currently serves as Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs at Bridgewater State University. He is also enrolled as a doctoral student at Johnson and Wales University with the goal of earning his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the spring of 2016.
Years in field: 16-20
Connect with Ed on Twitter: @EdCabellon
Ann Marie Klotz
Bio: Dr. Ann Marie Klotz is the Dean for Campus Life and Chief Student Affairs Officer on the Manhattan campus of the New York Institute of Technology. Previously, she spent 14 years working in Housing and Residence Life at Oregon State University, DePaul University, Ball State University and Albion College. She earned her B.A. from Grand Valley State University (Political Science) and M.A.’s from Michigan State University (Student Affairs) and DePaul University (Women and Gender Studies) respectively. She recently earned her doctorate in the spring of 2014 from DePaul University where she studied the career trajectories and leadership styles of ten female university presidents.
She is the current National Co-Chair for the Women in Student Affairs (WISA) Knowledge Community for NASPA and is the recent recipient of the 2014 ACPA Standing Committee for Women Research and Scholarship Award. Personal and research interests include women’s career development, professional staff recruitment, developing on-line communities, personal branding, and first generation college students. Learn more at www.annmarieklotz.com
Years in field: 11-15
Connect with Ann Marie on Twitter: @annmarieklotz
Bio: I am a Student Advisor at the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C, where I advise Saudi Arabian students. Prior to joining IIE, I served as an International Student Advisor at Texas A&M University, and spent three years at Texas A&M at Qatar. I completed my M.Ed. in Student Personnel in Higher Education at the University of Florida, and a B.S. degree in Technical Theatre at Radford University (VA).
Years in field: 8-10
Connect with Emily on Twitter: @emryates
Bio: I’m geek out about a lot of things. Advocate for the use of technology in education. Ultimately, work to show students and others how awesome they are. Currently mange the social media for MyWMU, the online brand for the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Western Michigan University.
Years in field: 2 – 4
Connect with Josh on Twitter: @JoshKohnert
Bio: Julie Larsen is a graduate of the Seattle University Student Development Administration program and has worked in student affairs for 8 years. Functional areas of experience include residence life, leadership development, student mentor programs, and academic advising. She is active with NACADA, and is the current chair for the Technology in Advising Commission. Most importantly, Julie loves burritos, good beer, pretending to know about fashion, Shonda Rhimes produced television, and dancing it out.
Years in field: 8-10
Connect with Julie on Twitter: @julieclarsen
Bio: Deb works in Auxiliary Services, Residence Life / Housing, Student Conduct at Northwestern University.
Years in field: 30+
Connect with Deb on Twitter: @DSchmidtRogers
Bio: Dr. Aja C. Holmes is the Senior Associate Director for Residential Life at Sacramento State University. She has worked in residence life, multicultural affairs and student activities. She is one of the founding members for the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis, a student run peer-review at Iowa State University. She serves on committees, directorate and governing boards for regional and national associations. Her area of expertise is in supervision skill development among Student Affairs Professionals.
Years in field: 11-15
Connect with Aja on Twitter: @AjayHolmes
Bio: Mike McCormack is the Coordinator of Community Programs in Housing and Residential Education at CSU Channel Islands, in Camarillo CA. Mike completed his bachelors in English and American Literature from New York University, where he was involved as an Orientation Leader, Peer Education, News Writer, Resident Assistant, and NRHH. He completed his graduate work at Rutgers University, receiving his Masters in Education in College Student Affairs. He worked as a resident director at Fordham University before moving to the best coast. He likes all things news, pop culture, and politics. Find him @HigherEdMike
Years in field: 2-4
Connect with Mike on Twitter: @HigherEdMike
Bio: Currently I am an Associate Director for Residential Life at Binghamton University specializing in Residential Operations and Crisis Management. My current areas of research into best practices include all things Title IX, risk management, and capital growth and development. Prior to my current role, I have been an Assistant Director at Binghamton University, Community Director and Assistant Community Coordinator at Arizona State University, and an Assistant Hall Director at Bemidji State University.
Years in field: 8-10
Connect with Scott on Twitter: @HigherEdScott
Kevin A. Dougherty
Bio: Kevin is an Assistant Dean of Students and Interim Director for Fraternity/Sorority Relations at UCLA. In his role, he serves as an administrator and resource for the campus on matters related to the Student Conduct Code. In addition, he provides leadership for the Greek community in promoting academic success, healthy lifestyles, and civic responsibility. Kevin attended Georgia Southern University where he received his Bachelors Degree in Sociology; the University of Louisville where he achieved his Masters Degree in Justice Administration; and the University of Arizona where he earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Years in field: 11-15
Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @DrKDougherty
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