Philosophy of Student Affairs
- I believe that I am an educator.
As a professional who values the “whole student”, I have come to understand that even the simplest dialogues or transactions a student makes throughout the day are learning experiences. My skill set lies in student services (Admissions, Career Services) and I recognize that I play a vital role in “life-learning”, even when students do not know that they are learning. Many students today come to college assuming that the primary goal of their education is to prepare them for the job market, when, in reality, a college degree is one stepping stone toward how they will contribute to society at large as adults. My daily interactions with students, whether manifested in Admissions (“Am I helping this student choose an institution that is a good fit for them and will meet their needs?), Career Services (“Am I helping this student choose a career path that will bring them fulfillment, instead of a major that ‘should’ secure them a job?”), or a future role as a music school administrator (“How do I help this student, who possesses a specific skill and passion, see beyond that singular skill to their full potential?”), help them make the most of their college experience. The Student Personnel Point of View reminds me that I am seeking to “…preserve, transmit, and enrich the important elements of culture: the product of scholarship, research, creative imagination, and human experience…” (Education, 1937), and that I do not need to hold a faculty role in a traditional classroom setting to contribute to a student’s learning.
- I believe that I am a mentor.
My favorite part of my daily work are those one-on-one interactions with students who wish to openly discuss their future goals and aspirations. I want to help them develop their ideas for professional and personal growth, and facilitate discovery of skills they were unaware they had or have taken for granted. I believe that every student has a voice to be heard, and should be treated with dignity and respect—I feel that I am a safe space for them to share hurts and concerns. I strive to be a transformational leader who leads by example, and I want to help my students take pride in their work, be accountable for their actions, and confident in the skills they have already gained (Kezar, Carducci, & McGavin-Contreras, 2006).
- I believe that I am collaborator and a resource.
In a time of decreased budgets and increased diversity in the current student population on today’s college campuses, I recognize that I will have a responsibility to work in collaboration with student affairs and academic affairs colleagues on my campus. I value them for their wisdom and expertise; they all bring different strengths to the table and I believe that the most efficient and friendly campuses are ones where administrators and staff view each other as team mates (the majority of Bensimon and Neumann’s Redesigning Collegiate Leadership supports this argument). Community in the workplace is so valuable, and demonstrating to our students the impact of shared-vision, effective communication, and an environment where team members trust one another is yet another way to promote the development of the “whole person” and prepare our students to be positive contributors to society (Kezar, Carducci, & McGavin-Contreras, 2006).
Bensimon, E. M. & Neumann, A. (1993) Redesigning collegiate leadership: Teams and teamwork in higher education. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Education, T. A. (1937, May 6). ACPA. Retrieved March 1, 2010, from ACPA: http://www.myacpa.org/pub/documents/1937.pdf
Kezar, A. A., Carducci, R., & McGavin-Contreras, M. (2006). Rethinking the “L” word in higher education: The revolution of research on leadership. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.