Values, Philosophy & History

London Practicum in Higher Education

Each summer, the cohort not graduating takes a class at Practicum in Higher Education, a historical carryover from the beginnings of the Higher Education program at FSU. The practicum is intended to help graduate students grasp the breadth and diversity of education institutions and transition thought patterns to those of a second-year graduate student, focused on determining fit of institution for career purposes and interests in institutional mission and drive. While a local trip accompanies weeks of classwork, the program developed an international research trip to London to study higher education in the United Kingdom. I was fascinated by the opportunity to learn about higher education abroad and explore student life in the UK. Studying in the UK about higher education systems gave me more insight and knowledge about how the United States organizes higher education because I was finally out of the silo of the United States. Exploring campuses in the UK and discussing differences between the US and UK systems of higher education helped me: 

  • Put into context the necessity of Student Affairs in the way institutions of higher education operate in the United States versus the United Kingdom.

  • Ground myself in an understanding of the values of the Student Affairs profession that have become appealing to institutions in the United Kingdom.

  • Some of the similarities, such as the wealth of newer institutions being created, are a reminder of the values of the Student Affairs profession, such as providing access to higher education and preparing students for future success in and out of the classroom, because institutions in the UK hold these same values close.

NASPA Knowledge Community Publication

One of my research and professional interests is the role of Student Affairs professionals in learning, particularly in creating seamless learning environments (Kuh, 2008). I have committed time during my graduate studies to participate in the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs Knowledge Community, a NASPA entity that seeks to develop literature and examples of excellence in this work. In July of 2015, I was offered the opportunity to co-author an article on behalf of the Knowledge Community for the NASPA Knowledge Community Publication, published annually in March. In addition to learning the logistics of writing and publishing in a team, which support the Assessment, Evaluation & Research Competency, I was able to: 

  • Ground myself in the founding principles of Student Affairs by connecting seamless learning environments with the values and responsibilities outlined in the 1937 Student Personnel Point of View (insert citation).

  • Contribute to knowledge about the future direction of the field of Student Affairs using the foundation of the field, such as the 1937 SPPV.

  • Communicate about this future direction, grounded in our foundations, through examples identifying excellence in seamless learning environments.

Conference Attendance

Throughout my graduate studies and professional career, I have had the opportunity to attend multiple conferences, including the 2014 and 2015 NASPA-FL Regional Conference, the 2015 and 2016 Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values, 2015 NASPA Annual Conference, five ACPA Annual Conventions (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019), and the 2015 SACSA (Southern Association of College Student Affairs) Conference.

Conference attendance and presenting is important to me because: 

  • it helps build a community of individuals who are committed to living out the founding principles and values of Student Affairs.

  • it provides an opportunity to educate myself and others on future directions of Student Affairs grounded in the founding principles and values.

  • it requires that I articulate to professionals at my home institution the impact of my attendance and involvement in the conference.

ACPA Association Involvement

Throughout my graduate studies and professional career, ACPA-College Student Educators International has become a professional home for me. During my first convention in 2015, I was amazed and inspired by the excellence, critical thinking habits, and dialogue interests of attendees. I knew that ACPA members really were committed to the principles and values of Student Affairs. I wanted to contribute to this community and back to the profession, so I got involved with the Graduate Students and New Professionals Community of Practice and the Coalition for (Dis)Ability. Throughout my time on both directorates, I have been able to serve in the following roles:

GSNPCoP: Ambassador (Spring 2015), Coordinator for State Divisions (2015-2016), Coordinator for Scholarships (2016-2018), Vice Chair for Professional Development (2018-Present)

Coalition for (Dis)Ability: Coordinator for Membership Engagement (2017-2019); Chair (2019-Present)

Throughout my involvement with both, I have been able to: 

  • contribute back to the field of Student Affairs and provide opportunities for emerging professionals to learn and develop within the founding principles and values of the field.

  • consult with team members and association leadership about the timeless concern of socialization of emerging professionals into the field of Student Affairs.

  • advocate for emerging professionals and Student Affairs professionals with disabilities in a capacity beyond my home institution.


SDS 5040: Introduction to Student Personnel Services

This first class that I took as a graduate student, taught by Florida State University's Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Mary Coburn, was my first point of socialization into the field of Student Affairs. The class focuses on the foundation and history of Student Affairs, highlighting different organizational structures for Student Affairs and introducing us to the logistics of practice in the field. The assignments all supported a grounding in the foundational principles and values of the field, including: 

EDH 5051: Basic Understandings of Higher Education

This class focused more on the establishment of American Higher Education, covering the history and development of the diversity of colleges the United States has today, including private liberal arts, public research, public teaching, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and even proprietary for-profit institutions. Taught by Dr. Robert Schwartz, the class helped ground me in the work of a higher education professional contributing to the learning and development of students through the readings and assignments: 

  • Readings from Dr. John R. Thelin's (2011) A History of American Higher Education

  • Readings from Dr. Derek Bok's (2008) Our Underachieving Colleges

  • A series of critical essays on the following:

    • Critique of Bok's (2008) grim outlook for higher education

    • Summation of the rise of entrepreneurial spirit among higher education

    • Summation of the rise of the urban university and its effect on higher education

  • Coauthored final research paper and an accompanying presentation on the development and impact of urban universities on American Higher Education

Future Directions

  • Seek out other opportunities to publish on directions of Student Affairs and related topics

  • Continue serving the field in a leadership role within ACPA

  • Assist graduate students and other emerging professionals in understanding and following the founding principles and values of Student Affairs through teaching or co-facilitating a class or professional development session