Graduates should be able to:
Articulate knowledge of historical and philosophical underpinnings of past and current issues shaping the field of student affairs and the student experience
An understanding of higher education and student affairs is encouraged, both in detail, and more broadly, at all stages of the CSSA program — in the first term, our cohort became familiar with historical events that shaped higher education; the current events and hot topics facing professionals today; and imagined future events and scenarios in higher education.
A total of 5 courses focused primarily on the history of the United States — courses included: Environmental History of the United States; Technology and Change; American Higher Education; Sociology of Education; and Race and Ethnic Relations explored the social institutions of America, telling stories of America’s past through the context of Higher Education, American Immigration, Environmentalism, Social Justice, and Socio-Technical systems. Until I took these courses, I did not have much experience or exposure to historical analysis, research, and scholarship. It turns out, I enjoy writing with a historical perspective, and wrote an essay on literary societies, and the student experience, telling a story of the American college, a story of community, and a story of student intellectual activism. Historical analytics of literary societies shed light into a community of students seeking intellectual freedom, and provided history of an institution that provides information, learning resources, and a scholarly environment to this day.
Excerpt from my essay on literary societies.
Students of the colonial era created their student experience through the literary societies, identifying what was important to them and their education. Higher education administrators eventually absorbed most of the intellectual ecosystems that the students had created, leading to libraries of the present that are now continuously evaluating their contribution to students’ success. National accreditation through the ALA enabled the libraries to better serve their student population. This, however is not a guarantee that the students will not find other needs and desired outcomes when they come to college. With the internet and mobile communication technologies making physical location less of an issue, universities will continue to find the need to prove their value and commitment towards student learning and student success. With students on the library and educational boards at some institutions, perhaps their voices will continue to be heard by the university. The library itself is going through a sort of identity crisis and needs to be able to think broader than the physical storage of books. Over time, the library has shifted from archival-like preservation of information towards becoming a mentor to those who intend to be literate in the 21st century. Students have shown an intellectual curiosity, and desire to have their own educational environments that are social, accessible, and challenging enough to create social change.
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the range, scope, and roles of different functional areas within higher education
Programs, and Functions
Two courses allowed me to examine functional areas in higher education and student affairs, best practices in the field, along with exploration of current events that student affairs professionals are facing today. The CSSA program provided me with a fast-paced introduction to the professional standards respected in our field such as the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) in Higher Education as well as the ACPA College Student Educators International (ACPA) and NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA).
Sociology of Education
A course that covered the historical and sociological elements of K-20 education system, focusing on higher education, but also looking at the K-12 system as it prepares students (or not) for placement in colleges, learning about tracking, and issues of inequality in access to infrastructures, literacy, and student success in the American school system.
2300 hours of professional work experience in higher education and digital communication
I worked as a graduate communications assistant in the Student Affairs Office of Communications and Marketing (SACM) for the Division of Student Affairs at OSU for 16 months, leading to a rich understanding of our division’s strategic planning process as well as various components of each of the (10) offices directly reporting to the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. I was fortunate to have been called upon to produce a video calling faculty and staff to join in on the new strategic planning process, and was able to meet with most all of the direct reports in the division, hearing them discuss the challenges ahead in our profession. This was an eye opening, humbling, and inspiring experience knowing that we have so many people working to improve the student experience at Oregon State University, even in the face of local, state level, and national / global realities that make higher education very complex, complicated, and volatile.
November of 2015, I had started the CSSA program, the OSU Speak-Out occurred for which ultimately influenced my focus on internet studies (with a focus on authenticity online, social justice, and internet geopolitics) and student development theory — I wrote a blog post on medium, and have included an essay that was written specifically for this portfolio and a course in race and ethnic studies.
Understand the primary challenges and opportunities being presented to student affairs professionals
Coursework in the CSSA program starts off with a tremendous amount of reading, both of textbooks & academic journal articles, as well as current events from publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, EDUCAUSE and Inside Higher Ed.
Understand systems of privilege and oppression and the impact of these on institutional systems or organizations
Many courses that I took in the CSSA program focus institutional racism, the history, and the impact on today’s institutions and organizations. Courses included the Sociology of Education, Student Development Theory I and II, Research in Higher Education, Race and Ethnic Relations, Multicultural Issues in Higher Education.
In Race and Ethnic Relations, and Sociology course, I explored issues of race and internet as a sociological institution in the context of the OSU Speak-Out.
In Sociology of Education, I explored the impact the internet has on institutional oppression, looking at cultural and social capital, and gave a presentation on the work.
In Research in Higher Education we learned about systems of oppression, and how they can impact knowledge structures, reminding us to keep the equity of those involved in research in mind. We need to implement research that is well grounded in the participant’s well-being and best interests, along with best practices for research protocols, data use and ethics.
Identify goals, trends, and key issues related to the future of the student affairs profession
As a self proclaimed futurist, I greatly enjoy exploring the past and present, with the hope to be able to make somewhat informed assessments, scenarios and / or ‘thought experiments’ to welcome the conversation of where the future may — or may not — end up. Working for the Office of Communications and Marketing in the Division of Student Affairs, I had the opportunity to produce a video introducing the strategic plan, which was set to take us through 2020.
Being able to take part in the planning, and launch of the Student Affairs Strategic Planing Process, and its connection to the Oregon State University strategic plan provided me with a professional lens to begin to understand what challenges and opportunities are ahead for professionals in higher education and student affairs.
The CSSA program provided me with ample opportunity to inform my philosophical and theoretical approaches to the future with actual research and practice in the field.
A variety of future focused projects I’ve focused on in the CSSA program include:
- A multi property analysis of Google Analytics metrics across the entire division
- An essay on the future of student data privacy for our legal studies course
- I’m proud to say I was part of the team that launched the Student Experience website at experience.oregonstate.edu
I look forward to continuing to work in the university setting. The thought of forecasting in a field with such incredible infrastructures and intellectual capacity as the university is a welcome challenge.
Identify legal issues that impact higher education, field of student affairs, institutional policy and the student experience
While I did learn a lot about legal statutes, titles, and cases while writing a legal memo on data privacy for the Legal Studies Course — my most practical experience with legal issues as they relate to higher education is related to FERPA. In short, as a university photographer, videographer, and DRUPAL website architect, I’m constantly reminded of the importance of the model release form, and making sure to respect students (and others) privacy while taking photos of students on campus. Being a respectful creative is not only a kind gesture, it is the law, and as a professional in higher education, when dealing with student data (both visual and text based) is a hot topic, that requires best practices and knowledge that remains current.