Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

Faculty and Administrators Collaborating in Student Affairs Preparation Programs: Practicing What We Preach

Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

Faculty and Administrators Collaborating in Student Affairs Preparation Programs: Practicing What We Preach

Article excerpt

Student affairs faculty and administrators need to collaborate in educating graduate students in their institutional preparation programs. Collaboration must take place between these two constituencies to ensure a positive, well-rounded experience for graduate students. The purpose of this paper is to discuss student affairs preparation programs in which faculty and administrators work together in multiple ways inside and outside the classroom to meet the needs of their students.

Student affairs professionals should advocate and facilitate seamless learning environments, featuring collaboration between faculty and administrators for the benefit of students (American College Personnel Association, 1994). Throughout the 90s, this has been a topic of frequent discussions (Altizer, Glover, Seehafer, & Walch,1996; Ardaiolo, 1993; Blimling, 1993; Bloland & Barr, 1997; Bums, 1995; King, 1993; McKee, 1993; Penn,1993). Even before the 90s, this topic was of importance and there were commonplace relations between academic and student affairs, some of which date back to the days of deans of men and deans of women (Barr, Upcraft, & Associates, 1990). Historically, collaborations have occurred via standing committees or councils, university programs or functions, branches of student affairs, including residence halls, health and counseling services, career planning and placement, student activities and cultural programming, and other collaborative endeavors (Barr et al., 1990). Nowhere should collaboration be more apparent than in student affairs preparation programs. This article examines the attempts of a number of preparation programs to "practice what they preach," with specific emphasis upon collaboration between student affairs practitioners and faculty members.

Assumptions of Effective Student Affairs Preparation Programs A successful, collaborative student affairs preparation program is built on several basic assumptions. First, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) (Miller, 1997) should be followed because they are the best expression of professional values available, combining emphases on areas of study, supervised practice, and diversity. Second, the program should reflect a strong balance between practice and theory. As an applied field, student affairs can only be learned by doing, in context of reflection and research. Third, a cohort methodology should be employed to allow students to mimic the experience of blending personalities into a student affairs staff. Shared experience becomes a cornerstone, since students will have to work that way throughout their careers. Fourth, and for similar reasons, the program should not foster or condone academic competition among students. Finally, in order to enhance diversity among the student cohort, students should be recruited nationally or from as broad a base as feasible. This criterion also applies to programs at state-supported institutions that, admittedly, have a need to serve the residents of their home state.

Admissions Process

Collaboration begins with the first contact that students have with the program. The brochure, website, and other materials should reflect an interactive relationship between the Division of Student Affairs and the academic department. Practical experience should be emphasized and graduate assistantship opportunities should be given prominent mention. While academic admission materials may go through traditional channels, it is strongly suggested that students be invited to an on-campus combined academic interview/graduate assistant interview opportunity or conference early in the Spring. This conference could be jointly planned and financed by the academic department and the Division of Student Affairs. This will help prospective students to coordinate all their travel to the university. While on campus, the prospective students can do a writing sample, undergo an admissions interview, and interview for a variety of graduate assistantships. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.