I’m sure you’ve seen this post circulating around: 20 Courses Missing From Your #HigherEd & #StudentAffairs Master’s Program. It really frustrates me.
I just completed my master’s in College Student Personnel in May 2014. It was hard work and I am proud of that degree. I am proud to say that I am a graduate of WIU’s CSP program (shout out: Western Illinois University) and I feel privileged that I had the opportunities to learn with the faculty that challenged my thinking. I am thankful for the people that I met and the 21 classmates that I had the opportunity to learn with and what we accomplished together.
I saw this article floating around on Twitter. I read through the classes missing from your higher ed and student affairs master’s program and thought to myself two things: 1. This makes me laugh, and 2. I am frustrated. Really, really frustrated.
I am worked up because I, like many professionals in our field, have had to explain what I do, what my degree is in, why what I do is important many, many times. (My brother once told a past high school teacher of mine that I was in graduate school to learn how to be a better tour guide). I have no problem explaining what I do, what a master’s in College Student Personnel means, because I am so grateful that I get to do what I do! And I love talking about it!
However, having to explain myself and my career choice to someone who does not know is one thing. Telling my brother that what I do in gradate school is a lot more than give tours (actually I did not give any campus tours in graduate school) is something that I am happy to do. But when things like this are written, it reinforces ideas that as a field we are fluff. I know that we believe that what we do is much more.
The state that higher education is in right now has led us to the ever-important need for quality assessment to show the learning that is happening in what we do. This need for assessment probably won’t ever go away. We should be able to show how what we do contributes to a students experience in college.
We are more than party planners. We are more than ice-breaker facilitators and bulletin-board creators. We are more than t-shirt order-ers and free-swag hoarders. We are higher education professionals. We are educators!
Articles like this reinforce the idea that what we do is not measurable – something that professionals all over, day in and day out, are developing awesome assessment tools and writing learning outcomes to show otherwise: to show the meaning behind those out-of-the-classroom experiences and how enriching they are to a students’ development.
As you read things like this article: 20 Courses Missing From Your #HigherEd & #StudentAffairs Master’s Program, sure, laugh. I agree that being able to hang a table skirt (or in my case fold a table cloth so it fits in my travel bag) is one of the many skills that we need in this field. But is joking about our qualifications undermining the work we do? If we joke about these kinds of things, even among one another, are we perpetuating an idea that our assessment models are proving otherwise? What we do matters. Let’s not forget that.
Happy Careers in Student Affairs Month!