I remember attending the Canadian Institute of Student Affairs and Services (CISAS) in Victoria, BC early in my career as I was drawn to learning about the area from veterans in the area: one of whom was Dr. Peggy Patterson. As part of the introduction Peggy explicated that student affairs practitioners are professionals within a profession because a body of scholarship exists to inform our educational practice.
I internalized this introduction to the field, extending Dr. Patterson’s comment to mean that, to be a profession, the scholarship must be robust and continually growing. Further, to be considered a professional, student affairs practitioners must consult the student success scholarship to inform practice and engage in dialogue concerning intersections between academic scholarship and practice.
While agreement does not exist on the terms profession and professional (indeed, some would argue that student affairs is not a profession and we are not professionals), the key point is that, as educators within an educational field, scholarship and meaningful dialogue must flourish to continually shape and enhance students’ personal, social, and academic development as they transition in, through, and beyond our postsecondary institutions. And the scope is broad.
It’s long been established by notable scholars (see Pascarella and Terenzini) that psychosocial and cognitive development occur both inside and outside the classroom; learning is not, and cannot be, restricted based on operational divides between student and academic affairs. The entire campus is a learning environment.
College Quarterly is pleased to introduce a stream for academic and scholar-practitioner dialogue concerning student affairs and services – an important stream during an exciting time in the field.
To contribute to the growth and enhancement of the field, scholars and scholar-practitioners are invited to contribute original pieces that advance scholarship and/or practice around facilitating students’ academic, personal, and social development as they transition into, through, and beyond our campuses.
I’ve included a list of references that I’ve found beneficial in my doctoral work and in the OISE M.Ed. class I facilitated on student development and services. While some resources are predictable (e.g., those related to general student success or specific populations like first-generation students), others (such as those related to social class, narrative, and learning organizations) have important intersections with student affairs and services scholarship and practice.
It’s not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a starting point for this stream and your future contributions.
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Neil Buddel is the Dean of Students, Student Life Enhancement Division at Centennial College. He can be contacted at NBuddel@centennialcollege.ca.