TOOLS OF THE TRADE (continued)
Stay at the Top of Your Game
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 34
equilibrium between their personal and professional selves
helps to invigorate them over time. Opportunities for
continuous personal growth were also stated as necessary
and important contributors to personal sustenance, presumably allowing these senior managers to more effectively
contribute to student development.
What Will Sustain the Student Affairs Profession?
In Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
(HarperBusiness, 1994), Collins and Porras discuss the impor-
tance of staying true to an organization’s ideology and/or
values. They note, “In a visionary company, the core values
need no rational or external justification. Nor do they sway
with the trends and fads of the day.
Nor even do they shift in response to
changing market conditions.” As such,
successful organizations, and profes-
sions for that matter, are those that stay
true to their values, preserving their
Successful organizations and professions are also those that facilitate
collaboration and partnerships. Alcan
Incorporated, a multinational company,
emulates the belief that organizations
best achieve sustainability by keeping
stakeholders united behind a joint
purpose, providing venues for relationship building, and
valuing the human connection that enables group members to
communicate with and sustain one another. Fundamentally,
organizations and professions may be sustained by a deep-rooted commitment to interpersonal relationships.
Many of the seasoned student affairs officers who participated in our analysis share these perspectives. Essentially, the
profession’s fundamental commitment to serving the whole
student and the willingness of new professionals to ground
their practice in theory, innovation, and collaboration with
institutional and community partners will ensure our profession continues to effectively serve the vital and necessary
function of facilitating student learning well into the future.
In effect, individuals in service-
oriented professions are believed
to be sustained by a sense of
moral purpose and partnerships.
What Sustains SSAOs Throughout Their Careers?
Michael Fullan, author of The Moral Imperative of School
Leadership (Corwin Press, 2003), discusses elements of
sustainability that individuals in service-oriented professions
should internalize. These include the concept that service-oriented professionals should feel inspired by the moral virtue
of their roles, look for ways to enact positive change in any
context, and be sustained by such actions. Further, service-oriented professionals should seek opportunities to interact
with colleagues and grow as practitioners. In effect, individuals in service-oriented professions are believed to be sustained
by a sense of moral purpose and partnerships.
Related themes surfaced within our own analysis. A
majority of the seasoned student affairs professionals who
participated made it clear they have been professionally
sustained by moral responsibilities to make differences in the
lives of others. They have also benefited from connections
with colleagues, both on campus and through professional
associations, who have supported and mentored them
throughout their careers. Additionally, the service-oriented
nature of student affairs was consistently identified as a
sustaining force that preserves student affairs officers and their
commitments to enhancing student success.
Scott Andrew Schulz completed his doctorate in higher education from
the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The University of
Arizona. He is currently the program manager for the Center for
Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice at the University of
Dudley B. Woodard, Jr. is professor emeritus at the Center for the
Study of Higher Education at The University of Arizona and former
president of NASPA.
Successful organizations and professions
are also those that facilitate collaboration