Reaching students goes hand in hand with remaining true
to institutional missions. “We call ourselves an urban land-
grant institution,” says MacKay. “We cannot serve the com-
munity, educate our citizenry, and contribute to the workforce
in isolation. We must consider the multiple communities of
which our students, faculty, and staff are members.”
Laws confirms that as many states ask higher education
institutions to be economic engines, colleges and universities
must help employees and employers retool and retrain. “The
traditional 16-week courses may not work as well, and we may
need to cater certain courses to students who are not looking
for degrees. We may have to vary schedules to include week-
end seminars or four-week classes.”
A Unified Voice for Student Affairs
In spring 2009, the Task Force on the Future of Student
Affairs began to explore how a common voice could be
achieved by requesting the governing bodies of both ACPA
and NASPA to charge their executive directors with considering the structural alignment of the two associations. The work
of the task force led members to the “inescapable conclusion
that a unified voice for student affairs provided through a
single, comprehensive association is vital to the field’s future
and ought to be assiduously pursued.”
“We cannot serve the
the citizenry, and
contribute to the
workforce in isolation.”
What Does the Future Hold?
Whatever the future holds, student affairs professionals must
remain diligent in their efforts to best serve their students and
institutions, update their knowledge and skills, and prepare for
emerging opportunities in higher education both within and
outside the profession.
As part of that process, Roper and MacKay believe that
many graduate preparation programs must be reshaped.
“Student affairs preparation programs must be aligned more
with education leadership programs. If students get a broader
frame of reference about their responsibility to be leaders on
campus, that will be a good sign,” says Roper.
MacKay agrees that a constant review of training programs
is critical. “The rate of change has accelerated,” she says.
“Does current research reflect the issues and current demo-
graphics? Can we improve?”
New entries to the profession may find a favorable job
outlook. “As individuals begin retiring and more opportunities
become available for women, younger individuals, and
professionals outside academia, there will be a new acceptance
of diverse ideas and recognition of what is important,”
Nancy Grund is managing editor of Leadership Exchange.