The following Smart Thinking entries are excerpted from letters by former senior student affairs administrators
in which they offer advice to colleagues. The letters were compiled and published for distribution at the
2010 NASPA Annual Conference.
A New Paradigm
A persistent gap seems to exist between the two groups of professionals on campus who work most closely with students. We need a new paradigm or a clearer
vision that brings the resources of faculty and student life personnel into a more effective partnership.
That paradigm shift will require a number of considerations:
➤ Both formal and informal administrative and structural
mechanisms must be embraced to ensure a more intentional
approach to collaboration among faculty leadership, faculty colleagues, and student affairs professionals.
➤ A change in rhetoric is needed. The use of the word “
curriculum” and the “extracurricular” or “cocurricular” separates
academic and student affairs. Even worse, the separation of the
two worlds of the residential campus is reinforced by describing “academic” and “non-academic” programs.
➤ At a time when the faculty role is in transition from that
of holder of the world’s knowledge to facilitator of the learn-
ing process, student affairs leaders must see themselves as
resources to faculty as well as students. We must understand
how students learn, what contributes to learning, and how that
learning can be assessed.
James Appleton, president emeritus, University of Redlands
Lead with Humility
As a student affairs professional with a passion for your work, you are already contributing significantly to your campus and making a positive difference in the lives
of students. If your career journey has been mostly smooth and
assured—or even extraordinary—you may benefit from modest
cautionary advice to enhance your continued advancement and