Canadian Association of College and University Student Services Identity Project

Canadian Association of College and University Student Services Identity Project

Jennifer Hamilton, Executive Director
Canadian Association of College and University Student Services
Gregory Roberts, Executive Director
ACPA – College Student Educators International

The Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and ACPA – College Student Educators International (ACPA) forged ahead with a partnership of sharing of thought and ideas.  Thanks to Amanda Suniti Niskode-Dossett, editor of Developments, for agreeing to publish this excellent article that appeared in the CACUSS magazine earlier last year.

In June 2011, at the invitation of the CACUSS President and executive director, Chris McGrath and Jennifer Hamilton, ACPA’s President and executive director, Heidi Levine and Gregory Roberts, attended the annual conference of CACUSS.    Our ongoing friendship has incredible potential to open up the conversation about “different” ways of doing things, approaching our work, and how we see our relationships with students.   The context of student affairs work in Canada is measured by both subtle and obvious differences as well as clear similarities to the comparable work that occurs in the United States. For example, the work of Canadian colleagues is currently influenced by the regional contexts and provincial jurisdiction that shape higher education institutions, the infancy, yet vigor of graduate programs and research in the country and their focus primarily on scholarship as opposed to professional preparation, and the growing need to serve Aboriginal populations

We hope that this paper will provide a historical context of Canadian student services for our United States colleagues.  You will see our many similarities as you read this paper and particular attention to the “contemporary issues in Canadian higher education.”  Canadian student affairs professionals have taken several opportunities over the past decade or so to learn from the context and research of the profession across the United States.  This learning has informed Canadian practice and research to a great extent, and has also offered clarity around the unique context of higher education outside of the United States.  Perhaps thinking about “internationalizing” our campuses has less to do with inviting international students and faculty to become scholars at our institutions, and more to do with seeking out different models and institutional cultures which can inform our work differently.

This paper was originally written to stimulate conversation among Canadian student affairs professionals and inform next steps for the CACUSS organization moving forward as a profession.    In sharing this article, it is our wish that this paper be a reflective piece for ACPA members particularly as you read the context and values of the work of Canadian colleagues.   The diversity of perspective and context can have broad implications on your own campus as well as how you interact with students of diverse backgrounds.

The full document is both English and French including questions for the CACUSS Association is available online at

After reading the CACUSS document, reflect upon the following questions and discuss with your colleagues:

a) The author lists seven trends, issues, and approaches to Canadian student affairs (Strategic Enrolment Management, Integration, Student Mental Health + Wellbeing, The Built Environment, Support for the Distance Learner, Assessment + Evidence-based Planning, and Information Technology). How do these compare to what you are experiencing and observing at your own institution?   Can you identify specific examples of similarities or differences? How do such similarities or differences impact your daily work? Are there certain things you take for granted?

b) The author poses five important questions that she wants CACUSS to consider:

1. Advocacy: What role should CACUSS play in bringing profile to our work at a national scale?

2. Research + Assessment: Does CACUSS have capacity to organize multi-institutional assessment activities?

3. Member Outreach + Engagement: How can CACUSS use technology and social media more effectively?

4. Organizational Structure: Does the organizational structure of CACUSS support collaboration in the most effective way?

5. Professionalization:  Should CACUSS actively support professionalization of student affairs? 

Now, if you substitute ACPA for “CACUSS” how would you answer each of these questions?

c) For graduate students, can you think of any comparable document about that the status of student affairs in the United States and implications for professional associations (e.g. ACPA)? If so, what is it? Who wrote it? How does it compare to the CACUSS document?

We trust you will see the benefit and excitement that we experienced when we held a shared conversation. A new beginning together!

A Transcendent Idea: The Student Personnel Point of View

A Transcendent Idea: The Student Personnel Point of View

Melvene Draheim Hardee
Edited and with a Preface by
Sally Click
Butler University
Michael D. Coomes
Bowling Green State University

Preface: Has it been Twenty Five Years?

The year of the 50th anniversary of the 1937 Student Personnel Point of View (SPPV) (American Council on Education, 1937), student affairs practitioners gathered for a joint conference of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). The theme, “Make No Little Plans,” described the ambition of the early architects of the grand city of Chicago, the setting for the 1987 joint conference. As it turned out, it aptly reflected the significant role that the SPPV had played in the development of what we now call the student affairs profession. In historical hindsight, the SPPV turned out to be “no little plan.”

The Hyatt Grand Ballroom was filled to capacity at 5:30 pm for the opening session. After the welcome by conference chairs and association presidents, the lights in the ballroom dimmed and the theme song to the movie Gone with the Wind filled the auditorium. The podium was flanked by floor to ceiling screens. Varied voices narrated the multiple images that flashed upon the screens. First slide: a black background and the number 1937emblazened in red. Click. A mention – Margaret Mitchell had won the Pulitzer Prize for her epic novel. Click. Click. Click. Vivid images appeared conveying the highlights of the year: FDR was in his second presidential term, the U.S. Supreme Court favored a minimum wage law for women, Amelia Earhart vanished over the Pacific, and Joe Louis gained his heavyweight boxing title. The images culminated with a photo of the Hindenburg as it crashed after a transatlantic flight killing all 36 passengers.

And then it was quiet. A spotlight shone upon a single figure at the podium—a petite woman, perhaps five feet tall, wearing large framed glasses and a furry white stole. There from over the top of the podium, peered Melvene Draheim Hardee, Professor of Higher Education at Florida State University (FSU). Her voice emerged and her story began. She explained that on the tragic day of the Hindenburg explosion, just about 50 years before, she was standing in a hallway at Teachers College, Columbia University waiting to defend her master’s degree. Although she did not know it at the time, this day was also the birth date of a document that would guide her professional practice from beginning to end. On that momentous day, a committee of the American Council on Education endorsed a document entitled, The Student Personnel Point of View.

And so the teacher described to the Chicago assemblage the economic, cultural, and political events happening in the United States in and around 1937 that shaped the thinking of those who gathered to scaffold the work known as student personnel. She dissected the document’s structure and reminded us of the 16 people who met for two days in Washington to consider the prospectus presented by two Ohio educators, W. H. Cowley and D. H. Gardner.

Hardee researched this presentation for over a year; her quest took her to the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the archives of the American Council on Education. No doubt she consulted with her colleagues, C. Gilbert Wrenn and Esther Lloyd Jones, two 1937 SPPV summit participants. She finished the keynote script in November 1986 and then worked with the (FSU) Multi-Media Department to put it together with her visual and audio enhancements. Hardee prepared several different versions and back-ups. She was so nervous about losing it in transit from Tallahassee to Chicago that she bought the slide show its very own seat on the airplane flight. Hardee wanted to get this just right; she also wanted to do it her way.

From an early age Melvene was a musician, a singer, and a thespian. In her small hometown of Clarion, Iowa, she took Shakespearean lessons and spent the summers in a local youth theatre troupe. Friends paid a dime to watch the “Neighborhood Players” perform. This penchant for performance made classes with Professor Hardee a constant surprise. Former student, David Meabon, described her magnetism.

When Dr. Hardee is in front of an audience, she is totally different. She comes alive in a way that in rehearsal is not there. I think she thought life was a stage. She was a director at times, an actress at times; she loved props. She thought [we all needed] to figure out: What is the best way to help somebody learn what you are trying to teach? (personal communication, October 27, 2007)

The inspiration for Hardee’s Chicago keynote performance was a radio broadcast, written and produced by Norman Corwin and entitled, We Hold These Truths. Commissioned by President Roosevelt to observe the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, it aired eight days after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. An estimated 63 million people listened to the broadcast that featured such well-known voices of the time as Jimmy Stewart, Orson Welles, Walter Brennan and Lionel Barrymore (Corwin, n.d.). Hardee employed this audio taped drama in her classes asking her students to listen not only for content but also for emotions. At the podium for a national convention keynote, she would similarly want her audience to feel something as a result of their participation.

Unbeknownst to Hardee at the time, feelings were running high behind the scenes of her keynote performance. Well before the development of PowerPoint, in early multi-media days, this slide show was constructed of film slides and audiotape synced together. Three trusted souls had come to Chicago with Hardee, their Mentor, to provide technical assistance. John Opper, Robert Dawson, and Mike Lawrence had rehearsed and practiced umpteen times back at home. With one hour before showtime to set up and test the equipment, the trio discovered that the production was not compatible with the hotel’s system. Without letting Hardee know, the three of them manually keyed the projectors throughout the performance from various points in the room. To their great relief, a technical catastrophe was averted, and their Mentor’s efforts were rewarded (J. Opper, personal communication, October 26, 2007).

The opening keynote entitled, The 1937 Student Personnel Point of View: The Birth of a Charter, was certainly dramatic: Big pictures, big music and a (petite) woman with a big voice. The keynote’s ending was equally memorable. Her closing was a commanding mix of Constitution, poetry, and theatre. Tying threads together, she blended political wisdom (“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”) to the truths understood about learning and young adults, such as validating the whole person, individualizing education to promote the development of potential, and assisting our charges in contributing to the betterment of society. Hardee likened Theodore White’s (year) thought about the U.S. Constitution “as an idea that became a nation” to the assertion that the 1937SPPV was an idea that became a profession. The lover of the humanities tied the movie story of the Tara plantation to Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. To describe those drawn to the student affairs profession, she relied on her standby, O’Shaughnessy’s poetic line, “We are the music-makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.” Hardee sealed the keynote with the punch line, “Frankly, my dear, we are the ones who do give a damn!” (Hardee, 1987).

Hardee had been asked to open and to set the tone for an historic meeting. At the time, there may not have been a more perfect choice for this task. She and the SPPV had shared the profession’s development together for 50 years. Her keynote honored the construction of a philosophical treatise that had stood the test of time. She, too, had stood the test of time. Those in attendance were reminded of the founding tenets of their profession, and they witnessed the dramatic flair of Melvene Hardee. Her FSU department chair at the time, David Leslie, described it as not just any keynote:

Mel’s grand extravaganza at the joint anniversary meeting was not a “presentation.” This was an Oscar-worthy dramatic show. There were probably 3,000 people in the hall. At the end of it, they were in tears, they were standing on chairs, and they were applauding. I have been to a Christmas Mass with the Pope in St. Peters, and that is the only thing I can say that rivals what Mel did for the two associations. (personal communication, February 15, 2008)

Former doctoral advisee, Terry O’Banion, described it similarly:

The audience was totally engaged in this process and finally at the end, after she had [positioned] her ideas in the framework of Gone with the Wind, her last line was, “Frankly my dears, we are the ones who give a damn.” The audience rose to its feet in thunderousovation. It was one of the greatest speeches I have ever seen in an educational environment. Mel was just a master of that sort of stuff. She really had a sense of drama. She was a great communicator. I think it was probably her greatest moment as a professional. (personal communication, February 20, 2008)

In an ACPA Developments editorial that followed the joint meeting, Caple (1987) lauded Hardee’s accomplishment:

Her use of history, her understanding of the political, economic, and cultural climate of the period, her knowledge of the field of College Student Personnel work, and her skill in presentation combined to make this the best keynote address I have heard in the 20 years I have attended the convention.

Hardee retired from teaching at FSU in 1989 after 41 years of service. She died in 1994 at the age of 81. Among Hardee’s papers, housed at the National Student Affairs Archives at Bowling Green State University, treasure hunters can find the script of her 1987 presentation. Some of the historic slides are housed in the Hardee Center Collection at FSU. Audio tapes of the speech exist, as do video clips of its delivery that were used in a post meeting teleconference entitled, Student Affairs: A Historical Perspective and a View of the Future.

In an attempt to translate her keynote performance into writing, Hardee worked with former FSU student, John Opper, on the unpublished manuscript that follows. Hardee readily admits in the prologue that writing for reading and writing for speaking are very different endeavors. Much is lost in translation. In this, the 75th anniversary year of the SPPV, Hardee’s insights within A Transcendent Idea: The Student Personnel Point of View are once again offered to the profession for consideration. The voices of those who constructed the SPPV live on in writing; as does hers.

A note on the article.

As her former students tell us, Dr. Hardee was a voracious reader who remembered most of what she read (Click, 2009). She read widely and worked diligently to integrate the knowledge gained from a recent book or article into her lectures or presentations. In editing this speech for publication, we have attempted to track-down as many of the sources she used to inform her thoughts as possible. When we have been unable to do so, we have trusted her encyclopedic knowledge and refrained from deleting her ideas or the sources of those ideas. Where minor changes have been made, we have noted them by including them in brackets [. . .]. A PDF of Dr. Hardee’s original draft may be found on the website of the Student Affairs History Project (

American Council on Education. (1937). The student personnel point of view. (American
Council on Education Studies, series 1, no. 3.) Washington, DC: Author.
Caple, D. (1987). Editorial. American College Personnel Association Developments, 14(3).
Click, S. (2009). Melvene Draheim Hardee: Music maker and dreamer of dreams. Dissertation
AAT 3351099)
Click, S., & Coomes, M. (2010). Melvene Draheim Hardee: A touchstone of the profession.
Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 47(1), 1-10.
Evans, N. J., & Reason, R. D. (2001). Guiding principles: A review and analysis of student
affairs philosophical statements. Journal of College Student Development, 42, 359-377.
Corwin, N. (n.d.). Classic radio programs 1938-1955. Retrieved January 9, 2009 from
Hardee, M. D. (1987). The 1937 Student Personnel Point of View: The birth of a charter. [Multi
media]. Keynote address to the joint meeting of the American College Personnel Association and
the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Chicago, IL. [MS-773, Box 3,
Folder 4] Hardee, M. D. (1992). A transcendent idea: The Student Personnel Point of View. Unpublished
manuscript. [MS-773, Box 3, Folder 4]

A Transcendent Idea:
The Student Personnel Point of View

The 1987 combined conferences of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) opened in Chicago with recognition of the origins of the 1937 Student Personnel Point of View (SPPV) (American Council on Education, 1937).  The introduction featured a multi-media presentation using two giant screens, as well as a series of larger-than-life photographs matching the script and appropriate musical accompaniment reminiscent of the 1937 era in America.
This event was likely the first time in history that the document was voice-expanded and image-oversized.  It was a production of the Multi-Media Laboratories of The Florida State University (FSU).  With but few additions, the speech is presented here. Assuredly, an essay, which follows this spoken event five, six, or more years, undergoes a sea change. A translation of Krajewski’s1 research on the subject of rhetoric names the problem one of information transmittal over time, or hermeneutics, the bridge linking the meaning of a speech fixed by writing and understood by reading (emphasis added). In addition, Krajewski reminds those who perform in these three forms, that there is a difference between writing oriented to reading aloud and in reading silently.  Of continuing concern to this writer is the adaptation of a professional association to these varied presentations.

The odyssey of SPPV(1937) must extend its lifetime into the future with the hearing of its words (rhetoric), subjecting the written text to something bigger than print size.  One model is the 1941-recorded performance of Norman Corwin and cast, giving voice in a variety of scenes, to the First Ten Amendments to the Constitution (it is notable that this document is never reduced to four letters – FTAC).  If there is any residual benefit from the half century of its historical antecedents, SPPV should be used as often as possible in its entirety, giv[ing] it full play in higher education. The distillation of a basic belief, a philosophic commitment, to a word of five letters is no mean accomplishment in the saving of time and space.  But SPPOV 2 is an unpronounceable descriptor – an aberrant mix, referring as it does to a full-grown professional group and, conversely, not understood by those “outside the loop.”  It can be mistaken for a slogan or trade name – conceptual but not actual.  What is needed is a return to the original full designate: Student Personnel Point of View.

The professional stature of the field raises question in times of economic stringency, with the diminishment of the service concept, and the hardening of the arteries of compassion and campus relations.  This is the time that renewal of means for insightful communication is needed in reading, writing, speaking, and listening for all administrators, academicians, student personnel workers, and students.  It may be the last best chance to fulfill our historic resolve.


On the evening of May 6, 1937, on the grounds of the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey, the great German dirigible, The Hindenburg, nosed into its moorings after transatlantic flight.  Tragically, its explosion and the loss of 36 traveler lives headlined the New York Times, obscuring all the other happenings in the eastern metropolitan area – one of which was an important announcement [by] the American Council on Education. The unannounced message was that of [the] approval given a document termed The Student Personnel Point of View [1937].

This document, in its formulation, has an auspicious history, parts of which can be found in the repositories in Washington, D.C.: the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Museum of American History, the American Council on Education, and in such radial resources as the Jerome Archives at Bowling Green State University, the Strozier Library of Florida State University, as well as in personal mementos, videos and other pronouncements of scholars of the student personnel specialty in higher education.

To discuss the historical concepts of this document one must search for answers to the question: What was happening in [1937] America in relation to economic, cultural, and political events? At the outset, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1986) reminds history trackers: “[Science] and technology revolutionize our lives, [but] memory, tradition, and myth [frame] our response” (p. 21). The early trackings of our founding document have uncovered some hidden memories, some buried traditions, and not a few myths – all in a jumble, for as Daniel Boorstin (1983), the Librarian of Congress emeritus, adds:  “There is no academic neatness to history.  There is only miscellany with overlapping, interfusing, and blending.”

This is indisputably true of America in the 1937 year.

[1937] was the year:

  • that Gone with the Wind sold a million and a half copies. Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the first script for filming the epic was submitted to David O. Selznick, the producer;
  • that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his second inaugural address stated: “I see [one-third] of a nation ill-housed, ill-fed, and ill-nourished;” 3
  • that half a million American workers went on sit-down strike[s], slowing industry, deep in the second stages of the Depression;
  • that the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of a minimum wage law for women. 4
  • that Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, regained the heavy-weight championship, defeating Jim Braddock in the 8th round [Schlesinger, 1983];
  • that Amelia Earhart vanished in her daring flight over the Pacific [Schlesinger, 1983];
  • that F. D. R. signed the Neutrality Act [Schlesinger, 1983], while across the Atlantic in the village of Guernica, as Picasso’s masterpiece reveals, 2000 civilians were killed or wounded in a three hour testing by German bombers in air-to-ground strategy; [and]
  • this was the 150th anniversary of the Constitution of the United States with both charters [the U. S. Constitution and the SPPV], one new and the other a century and a half old, affirming history as living, human experience.

The emergence of the SPPVconfirms this fluid record of human encounter, all in a blend – romantic, realistic, polemic, with no bibliographic propriety.

The Transcendent Idea – An Awakening 

The overlapping, interfusing and blending of the efforts of dedicated professionals in the field of education are evident in the shaping of policy directed to change.  This recalling of fact is presented not in the belief that history is the ultimate test of painstaking policy formation, but rather that the instances noted attempt to explain how decisions over time have been accelerated by choice, change, collision, revision, and just plain “resistance to” and muddling through 5.  The transcendent idea which became the SPPV experienced some or all of these.
As early as 1926, the American Council on Education established a Committee on Personnel Methods chaired by Dean H. E. Hawkes of Columbia University.  In that year, Dr. L. B. Hopkins, Director of Student Personnel, Northwestern University, created an opening in the thick of personnel work with publication of his study of 14 institutions purporting to provide student personnel services as defined in the mid-twenties6.

After a 10-year interval, and with mounting appeals for curtailment of committee overlap, the American Council accepted the report of the Committee on Review of the Testing Movement – thought to be parallel in importance with the Committee on Personnel Methods – recommending both the formation of a new Committee on Measurement and Guidance, and the discharge of the Committee on Personnel Methods.  Obviously unaccounted for were committee-formulations for bringing eye-to-eye and ear-to-ear, two vocal groups seemingly diverse in academe – the teacher [or] major professor and the practitioner, [or] administrator-manager of student campus life.  A variety of beliefs defined their differences in status and performance; there were few terms used to unite their missions.

But, on the periphery, moving toward the front, were the problems of students, admittedly financial, which many administrators, faculty, and staff aides to consider remedies for a widening area of student welfare.  In 1933, the National Industrial Recovery Act initiated the student work-study program as part of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. (This writer supplemented her aid form home with her work-study pay of 20 cents per hour, 20 hours a week at the college switchboard.  But, a sophomore switchboard operator, located in the sensitive strategic center of a campus, holds a trust tantamount to that of a member of the National Security Council in the White House.  As such, she was likely underpaid.) In 1935, Executive Order #7086 placed student aid under the newly formed National Youth Administration and was soon thereafter to become an affiliate of the National Youth Commission.

Both coalition and collision were to be expected.  Some efforts of well-intentioned groups were given audience in Washington; some were cut short.  One appeal was made to the American Council on Education by two who came out of the West, so to speak.  They presented a prospectus designed to combine theory and practice, with a transcendent idea for bringing together academicians and practitioners in the area of student life.  Their identity: Dr. W.H. Cowley, Professor of Education, Ohio State University and Dr. D. H. Gardner, Dean of Students, University of Akron.

Their goal was to minimize misunderstandings between academicians and student personnel workers – to make clear the types, functions and administration of what was termed student personnel services.

From the beginning, their partnership had need of a philanthropic windfall – in Broadway parlance, an angel to back the undertaking.  An affiliate bond existed.  Dr. George Zook was earlier President of the University of Akron where Gardner in 1936 had served as Dean of Students.  The message, which the two from the West relayed, was: “Sir, a study of student personnel work in higher education is urgently needed.”

Activating the Idea 

Their [proposal led to] the convening in April 1937 of 16 professionals who would represent both theoretical and practical viewpoints.  It would seek to delineate the specialty in its derivatives from the various fields of scholarship.  It would direct efforts to inform and ultimately to disarm academicians.  However, with all such justifiable effort, Dr. Zook had misgivings.  He needed to be convinced of the tour de force of his own Council.  There were, in fact, five professional organizations, which could as well, if not better, sponsor the proposed meeting. [They were]: the American College Personnel Association, the National Association of Deans of Men, the National Association of Women Deans’ the American Council of Guidance and Personnel Associations, [and] the National Occupational Conference. The two standard-bearers [Cowley and Gardner] argued for a new coordinated approach, which the American Council, with its distinguished reputation, could provide in a climate of cooperation essential for success of the idea.

It was patently understood that the record of the two-day conference would be forwarded to the Committee on Problems and Plans in Education of the American Council on Education – a wide receivership within which a number of associations would compete for approval and funding of projects.

The 16 members of the Committee [held] impressive titles – presidents of collegiate institutions, deans of colleges, deans of student personnel, chief of the U.S. Office of Higher Education, directors of guidance and counseling, administrative personnel in professional associations, high school and corporate business – together with staff of the American Council on Education – its president, vice president, and the administrative assistant.  [In addition to Cowley and Gardner,] they were: Dr. Thyrsa Amos, Dean of Women, University of Pittsburgh; Dr. F. F. Bradshaw, Dean of Students, University of North Carolina; Mr. D. S. Bridgman, American Telephone and Telegraph; Dr. A. J. Brumbaugh, Dean of the College, University of Chicago; Dr. A. B. Crawford, Director of Personnel Study, Yale University; Dr. Edward Elliott, President Purdue University; Mr. Burton Fowler, High School Principal; Dr. H. E. Hawkes, Dean of the college, Columbia University; Dr. L. B. Hopkins, President, Wabash College; Dr. Fred J. Kelly, Chief, Division of Higher Education, U.S. Office of Education; Dr. Edwin Lee, Director, National Occupational Guidance Conference; Dr. Esther Lloyd Jones, Chairman, Department of Guidance and Student Personnel, Columbia University; Dr. D. G. Paterson, Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota; and Dr. C. Gilbert Wrenn, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota. The production staff (i.e., representatives from the American Council on Education) were: Dr. George F. Zook, Chairman; Dr. C. S. Marsh, Vice President; and Dr. Donald J. Shank, Administrative Assistant

With the date and place for the committee assembly set for April 16-17 in Washington D.C., the two crusaders in their separate engagements, 1926 to the present, murmured soto voce; “Mission accomplished.”
But not quite.  There were gaps admittedly in what transpired from then on.  In random letters recovered from various offices and personnel files from video tapes, and from fragments of newsletter and newspaper reports, and little else, this first formal meeting of administrators, teaching faculty, and association entrepreneurs was pieced together.  And again there was the reminder… “there is no neatness to history; instead, memory, tradition, and myth mark the milestones of change.”

The Sum of Its Parts 

The 1937 SPPV contains approximately 4,000 words.  The foreword is equivalent to a single page.  Thereafter follow three sections – Philosophy, Coordination (six divisions) and Future Development (five divisions).  When introduced to the reader-world, the modest document, paper-backed, was offered for sale at 10 cents – reminiscent of the Depression pleas of its time, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”


The section is viewed by wordsmiths as the soul of the writing.  The first paragraph affirms the basic purposes of higher education – the product of scholarship, research and creative imagination.  The task of colleges and universities is unequivocally stated: “to assist the student in developing to the limits of his/her potentialities and [to assist the student] in making his/her contribution to the betterment of society.” (The gender shift to include her has been added by this writer.  There was no intentional omission.)

The philosophy reaffirms the student as a whole person with eight dimensions cited – intellectual, emotional, physical, social, vocational, moral, economic, and aesthetic.  Eugenie Andruss Leonard, in her book, The Origins of Personnel Services, reminds the reader that this view has had a long and honorable history in America.  It was, in fact, as old as education itself in the colonial beginnings.  From 1630 to 1930, three centuries of the whole person philosophy dominated.  The reversal occurred when faculty and administrative personnel promoted expansion of subject matter in opposition to the study of students in relation to their potentialities and their resulting contributions to society’s betterment.  As subject matter was expanded, the student, as subject for study, was suspended.

But to return to the SPPV and its original evocation: twenty services are named.  The student personnel practitioner is seen as interpreting, selecting, orienting, providing, assisting, supervising, assembling, coordinating, maintaining and evaluating – all symbolic of energy and forward direction.

The philosophy, in its reaffirmation, is the center of the historic document we currently address. The commitment is similar to that contained in the Constitution of the United States in its bicentennial year, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” The prefatory paragraph of the Constitution of the United States speaks of (1) forming a more perfect union, (2) establishing justice, (3) insuring domestic tranquility, and (4) promoting the general welfare.
The prefatory paragraph of the 1937 SPPV speaks of promoting the general welfare of a selected group, namely students, thereby transmitting and preserving the products of scholarship, creative imagination and human experience.


The second section of the 1937 document, with its six sub-parts, sweeps the scenario, recommending study of a theory of administration which guarantees to keep intact the central design and operating relationships of the transcendent idea.  It appears to connect the campus with the world of business, trading, and corporate and consumer interests.  The term [i.e., coordinator] can be viewed as a possible replacement for titles in the collegiate sector such as director, administrator, head or chief, as well as others conceptually alike.  The whole student concept would favor a unifying of the total institution, inclusive of study, recreation, work, health, and all the varieties of counseling and advisement – resulting in less separatism and more communal planning.

At The Florida State University in the 1940s, at the time the institution moved from a college for women to coeducation, a committee, after study of the SPPV, advised the president to name a University Coordinator of Counseling.7 The administrator’s primary goal was to combine counseling and faculty advising with residence hall life, religious activities, psychological, vocational, religious counseling, part time work, internships, and other related aspects of the students whole experience.  This plan proceeded with success for eleven years before returning to the so-called traditional pattern.

The section on Coordination, in addition, underscored the cooperation between and among institutions, professional associations, secondary schools and higher education, colleges and the job placement of students both during and following the completion of courses of study and fulfillment of graduation requirements.

Future Development

The final section of the 1937 SPPV is relatively short.  It is conceivable that the two-day conference in the cherry blossom springtime of the nation’s capital generated pressures, (i.e., duties on the home front), competing with those of the conference table.  It is certain that the member group, viewing the magna size directives of philosophy and coordination, gave reign to their responsibility believing that the future should be the task of other philosopher kings.  They reasoned that with national economic malaise, impending wars, and the surety of scientific and technical advances in the period ahead, committee clairvoyance had run its limits. (This truth is born out with the convening of the second Student Personnel Point of View committee twelve years thereafter [in] 1949 [and] which numbered many of the original convening group, as well as additional personnel.)

In the 1937 committee report, the conferees were quick to state that the life and times of the student personnel movement (now a common referent) could thrive only through sound and studied research – some to be generated in company with other agencies, bureaus, and association committees over time. For this emphasis, continuing credit is due the 1937 committee for the volume of theses and [dissertations] which has supported the profession’s growth, given status to its journals, and supported its convention programs.

In his dissertation, completed in 1973, Dr. W. W. Blaesser, Division of Higher Education, U.S. Office of Education, researched the contributions of the American Council on Education to student personnel work in higher education.  He concludes, the SPPV:

Became the most widely quoted and used statement in the field of college student personnel work. Along with the 1949 revision, it continues to be quoted or paraphrased in most articles purporting to cover the field. (p. 140)

Societal Influences: A Renegade Society?

For this writer, the 1937 SPPV, as a transcendent idea, must attach – and when disassembled – be reattached to its philosophy.  The reaffirmation:

It is the task of colleges and universities so to vitalize this and other educational purposes as to assist the student in developing to the limits of his [sic] potentialities and in making his [sic] contribution to the betterment of society.

In the countdown of intervening years, it would appear that the first command has received major attention.  The second trails.  It is possible that the betterment of society – its fulfillment – lies not within reach of the institution’s grasp or that the goal is an impossible dream or a myth.  And so, a thoughtful questioning ensues.

The two-day roundtable of April 1937 was composed of professionals knowledgeable in logic, reasoning, foresight, and skilled in communication – the far reaches of reading, writing, speaking, listening.  In what form was this accumulated wisdom shared?  With what counterparts in the classrooms, laboratories, study halls, counseling offices, and playing fields?  What did the 1937 Committee bring to the table? What did each take form the experience?  What was the society within which the sixteen interacted?

It is possible that they were influenced in their thinking in at least three ways: (1) by educational philosophers and policy makers; (2) by news media of the time; and (3) by the influence of novels and films. These may be all-too subtle stimuli or, on the other hand, too heavily weighted.

Educational Philosophers and Policy Makers

In the period of the early 1900s, the writings of Professor John Dewey (1990) were vigorously discussed, his words re-echoed:

The place of the individual in society shall be determined by the student’s own nature as discovered in the process of education…and the student’s own nature includes not merely the intellectual but also the wide range of potentialities such as habits, attitudes, ideals and aspirations. (p. X)

In an analytical review in special recognition of Dewey in the University of Chicago’s centennial, Dr. Philip Jackson (1990) has written:

Dewey’s psychology…was more a point of view than an integrated assemblage of empirically grounded facts and principles.  It was an outlook on human nature, one that depicted humans as actively striving to explore and to master their world rather than passively relating to forces impinging upon them from the outside. [pp. xxii]

The use of “point of view” as a designate of difference in thought and behavior appears to confirm the influence of Dewey psychology on the 1937 SPPVpronouncement, at least in Jackson’s discernment.

The SPPV is not a rule book.  It is not a manual for administrative policy or performance.  It is primarily an outlook focusing on college students who can, with assistance, explore and master their world and contribute to the betterment of local, national, and global society.

In 1932, Professor George Counts of Columbia University was urging educators to examine the relationship of education to social action.  Following his visits to Asia, he confronted students in classrooms and auditoriums with the question from the title of his book, Dare the Schools Build a New Social Order?8

At that time, in the marketplace of ideas, there was mandated the National Youth Administration, with its concerns for Negro youth, assumed by Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and advisor to Mrs. Roosevelt.  Thereafter in 1939, the National Youth Commission was formed under the direction of Dr. Homer Rainey posing the question of his 1937 book, How Fare American Youth? He contended: “There must be no widening gap between youth and society” (p. v).9 The Commission’s interrogation proceeded on two key questions: Shall success be measured in terms of money? and Shall there be a national service developed to enlist the loyalties of youth? Both questions have resurfaced in successive decades in policy formation.

The Influence of News Media

The period of 1938-39 was marked by President Roosevelt’s New Deal.  Newspaper editors, radio newscasters, and platform speakers addressed public policy, giving critical as well as, complimentary comment.  The foremost political theorist and journalist of the era was Walter Lippmann, regarded as a one-man State Department.  In his book, The Good Society, a 1937 publication, he stated what all counselors and advisors to students believe, “Man is an inviolable, self-respecting human person (p. X).”10

Lippmann used the term as it was used four centuries earlier (1592), stating that man must be kept sacredly free from profanation, infraction, and assault.  In one of his columns, Lippmann (1937) praised creators and visionaries; one of whom was Amelia Earhart.  He wrote:

They [discoverers like Earhart] do not know what they discover.  They do not know where their impulse is taking them.  They can give no account [in advance] [of where they are going or explain completely] where they have been.  They have been possessed for a time with extraordinary [passion which is unintelligible] in ordinary terms. (p. 348)

There are creators and visionaries who can be cited for their efforts to contribute to social betterment through philanthropy.  Boorstin (1983) calls them “discoverers” in their exploration of the universe of wealth.  In 1936, the report of John Maynard Keynes (Perkins, Leininger, & Perkins, 1987) appeared [and was] vigorously debated.  Its content was viewed both analytically and critically in the media.

As Boorstin (1983) notes, the Keynes Report (YEAR) recounted the shift of traditional economic theory from its base in the impersonal marketplace to the actual street scenes worldwide where human wastage and despair, resulting from unemployment, were rampant.

In 1937, the deaths of Andrew Mellon and John D. Rockefeller occurred.  Industrialists, financiers, and philanthropists, the two became beneficiaries for higher education in American colleges and universities following the Great Depression.  In the sessions, the conferees were reminded of the Keynes’ redefinitions of economic theory, which figured into their plans for assisting students in developing to the limits of their potential.  Out of this liaison of great wealth and great need has come some initial means for evaluating the theory born of 1937 times – education for all and employment for all.

The Influence of Novels and Films

The third influence upon conferees includes the works of writers of novels and film adaptations – Saroyan, Hemingway, Huxley, O’Neill and Steinbeck.  In the forefront were Steinbeck’s novels, Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath.  Steinbeck, holder of both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, is viewed as a literary cameraman.  The story of George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men is one of social dropouts…”transients follow the harvests…bucking grain bags and invoking the dream of owning a little farm” (p. #)

Steinbeck raises two questions: Is the good society impossible because humanity is flawed? (Note the difference between Lippmann and Steinbeck in the assessment of man.)  And a second question: What are the economic and social barriers creating loneliness, disaffiliation and disadvantage?

Steinbeck knew America—the waterfront, the farmlands of California, its Midwest cities—as places where the benefits of the general welfare and the blessings of liberty were missing.  He was pointing, say analysts, to the gap between great charters, constitutions, declarations, and points of view as expressed in the language of law, agreement, and covenants.

The three influences – educational philosophy, communication in print and airwaves, and in novels and films – provided background for the committee of 16 who put the mood of the times, with its overlapping, interfusing and blending, into the student perspective.  What emerged was the transcendent idea – name it as you chose: a declaration, a charter, a compact, a mandate, or creed – for that time.


Theodore White wrote that the Constitution of the United States was an idea that became a nation.  It can be said that the 1937 SPPV is an idea which became a profession or, if not that, a document giving stature – a vision of possibility for becoming a profession.  So emerged the transcendent idea – one for all of higher education in America – far beyond the usual promise for its day and time.

Dr. John Opper policy analyst for the Florida Postsecondary Education Planning Commission, summarized the current struggle within the student personnel ranks:

As a profession possessing its own research base, together with standards for preparation and performance, the student personnel specialists, and student affairs and development staff demonstrate not one unified point of view but multiple views.  There are many voices, many standard bearers – these constituting a collection of points of view.  This state of affairs confuses entrants to the field, complicates decisions on general funding as well as fiscal rewards for individual performance within the field. Student personnel work continues to search for its evolving identity as a large-scale movement within the diversities of higher education.

In its membership, there is diversity almost unparalleled in other fields of specialty.  In it lies the promise of continuing strength or the warnings of epitaph in under-performance:

  • We are the business oriented: the management prone.
  • We are the keepers of records: the keepers of law.
  • We are the technically oriented: the computer “byten”.
  • We are the elder statesmen: orating from pulpit and press.
  • We are the young firebrands: pied pipers without burnout.
  • We are the humanists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, biologists, psychologists, technologists, and more.
  • For we are what O’Shaunnessey wrote in his matchless verse: “We are the Music Makers and [We are] Dreamers of Dreams.11
  • And, if permissible in print as it was in voice [in] Chicago in 1987, one could repeat the bold line of 1937: “We are the ones who do give a damn!”

Questions for Consideration

  • Like Hardee, others (e.g., Evans & Reason, 2001) consider the SPPV to be an important (if not the most important) statement of student affairs philosophy. Is the SPPV a philosophy? If so, is this philosophy sufficient to guide student affairs practice in the 21st Century?
  • Hardee posits that educational philosophy, communication (news media), and novels/film shaped the thinking of the committee of 16. How do current educational philosophy, communication (read: social media), and popular culture shape our thinking about the purpose/role of higher education?
  • An important aspect of the 1937 SPPV deals with the need to coordinate a number of activities, not the least of which was the coordination of student personnel services and academic affairs. What evidence exists that this coordination has taken place? Would Dr. Hardee be satisfied with the current state of student affairs-academic affairs collaboration?


1. Krajewski, B. (1992). Traveling with Hermes: Hermeneutics and rhetoric. Amherst, MA:  University of Massachusetts Press.
2. We acknowledge Dr. Hardee’s assertion, but conventional usage has shortened the Student Personnel Point of View to SPPV as opposed to SPPOV.

3. Roosevelt, F. D. (1937, January 20). Second inaugural address. Retrieved from Great Books Online website”
4. West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937)

5. Lindblom, C. E. (Spring, 1959) The science of “muddling through.” Public Administration Review, 19(2), 79-88.
6.  Hopkins, L. B. (1926). Personnel procedure in education: Observations and conclusions resulting from visits to fourteen institutions of higher learning. The Educational Record (Supplement, No. 3). Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

7. American Council on Education consultant, E. G. Williamson, recommended to FSU a new organizational structure. It is this newly created coordinator of guidance position that Hardee assumed in 1948. In1959, she helped establish the FSU Department of Higher Education and assumed the title of professor.

8.  Counts, G. S. (1932). Dare the school to build a new social order. New York, NY: John Day, Co.

9. Rainey, H. P. (1937). How fare American youth? New York, NY: Appleton-Century.

10. “The root of the passion which has moved such men is in some measure present in all men; it is the will to live, not as an animal, but as an inviolable, self-respecting and respected, human person. Lippmann, W. (1939, December 14). Today and tomorrow: “The Bill of Rights”, New York Herald Tribune. Reprinted in Rossiter, C., & Lare, J. (Eds.). (1963). The essential Lippmann: A political philosophy for liberal democracy. New York, NY: Random House.

11. O’Shaughnessy, A. (1847). Ode. In Music and moonlight. London, England: Chatto and Windus.


American Council on Education. (1937). The student personnel point of view (American Council on Education Studies, Series 1, Vol., No. 3). Washington, DC: Author.

Boorstin, D. J. (1983).  The discoverers. New York, NY: Random House.

Dewey, J. (1990). The school and society. In J. Dewey, The school and society & The child and the curriculum. Chicago, IL. University of Chicago. (Original work published 1900).

Elliott, E. (1988). Columbia literacy history of the United StatesNew York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Gadamer, H. (1992). The expressive power of language: Of the function of rhetoric for knowledge. (Bruce Krajewski, Trans.). Publications of Modern Language Association in America, 107(2), 345-347).

Grun, B. (1946). The timetables of history: A horizontal linkage of people and events.  New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Hardee, M. D. (1959). The faculty in college counseling. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Books Company.

Jackson, P. (1990). Introduction.  In J. Dewey, The school and society. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Leonard, E. A. (1956). Origins of personnel services in American higher education. University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis.

Lippmann, W. (1937, July 8). Amelia Earhart. New York Herald Tribune. [Reprinted in Avlon,

J., Angelo, J., & Louis, E. (2011). Deadline Artists: America’s greatest newspaper columns. New York, NY: Overlook Press.]

Perkins, G., Leininger, B., & Perkins, P. (1987). Benet’s reader’s encyclopedia of American literature (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.

National Archives and Record Administration (1988). Celebrating the Constitution: A bicentennial retrospective. Prologue—Quarterly of the National Archives. (Special Issue) National Archives Trust Fund Board: Washington, D.C.

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (1989). Points of view 1937-1949-1987.  National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (With permission of the American Council on Education). Washington, D.C.

Schlesinger, A. M., Jr. (1983). The almanac of American history. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Schlesinger, A. M., Jr. (1986). The cycles of American history. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Schlesinger, A. M., Jr. (1986, July 27). The challenge of change. New York Times Magazine, pp. 20-21.

Steel, R. (1980). Walter Lippmann and the American century. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Special Features: ACPA celebrates the Student Personnel Point of View 75 Years of Excellence and Relevance

Special Features: ACPA celebrates the Student Personnel Point of View 75 Years of Excellence and Relevance

Heidi Levine
ACPA President 2011-2012
Cornell College
Keith Humphrey
ACPA President 2012-2013
University of Arizona

The Student Personnel Point of View (SPPV) was written to fulfill a need: to describe the initial work of the student affairs profession.  Over the past seven decades, the SPPV has proved to be an immeasurable gift to our profession.  This year is the 75th anniversary of the SPPV, and ACPA is honored to celebrate this document that, despite its efforts to describe a moment in time, has become timeless in its teachings and direction for the profession.   One need not look further than the multitude of ACPA Commissions that provide leadership to all areas of student affairs to see the lasting effects of the SPPV.   The strong functional-area emphasis of the commissions reflects the many points of the profession highlighted in the 1937 document that are still advancing professional practice in 2012.   The SPPV is the foundation of our work and inspires innovation in professional practice and scholarly research for which ACPA is known throughout the higher education field.  As leaders in the profession, we are grateful for what the SPPV has provided.

In the classroom, new graduate students, eager to learn the theories and philosophies that guide our work, begin often by reading the SPPV.  Each fall the master’s students in many “Introduction to Student Affairs” courses are amazed that the SPPV clearly outlines functions that have grown into major departments and core services for our students.  Many remark that the SPPV is the first and only organization chart for the profession; all can clearly see themselves in that organizational chart 75 years later.

Those same graduate students go on to enter the student affairs profession, looking for opportunities to continue developing their knowledge and skills as practitioners. Again, the SPPV provides a foundational map to help point toward those areas in which all student educators should be competent, such as having the skills to assist students in deepening their self-understanding, developing academic skills, engaging with the community, and navigating effectively in an increasingly small and inter-connected world. Over the past 75 years, society and higher education have grappled with a range of challenges that could not have been anticipated easily in 1937, including the explosion of access to information, heightened (and sometimes contradictory) expectations about access to programs and services, coupled with increasing demands for accountability.

While the world of higher education, arguably, has become more complex, we still seek professional development opportunities that enable us to foster growth of the whole student, even as we extend our competence in our particular areas of expertise. Robert Brown’s article in the spring 2011 Developments (Vol. 9; Issue 1) called on us to return to the charge of the SPPV, which recognized that “the full maturing of each student cannot be attained without interest in and integrated efforts toward the development of each and every facet of his [sic] personality and potentialities” (pg. 2).  And, in a time in which we struggle to imbue our students with a sense of global citizenship and elevate public discourse, the SPPV’s focus on education to serve the common good and “directly and explicitly [educate students] for international understanding and cooperation” (pg. 1) is as relevant today as when first written.

The work of ACPA is infused with the SPPV’s call to action. Our association’s structure and professional development offerings reflect the importance that the SPPV places on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out our jobs as student affairs practitioners and deepening our understanding of those conditions that will help students grow cognitively, interpersonally, affectively, and morally. Among ACPA’s core values are education of the whole student, respect for human dignity, promotion of inclusive and democratic processes, and the continuous creation and dissemination of knowledge. Each of these values not only helps shape ACPA, but can be traced back to those values espoused in the SPPV which calls for:

  • “Education for a fuller realization of democracy“ (pg.1)
  • “Education for the application of creative imagination and trained intelligence to the solution of social problems“ (pg. 1)
  • Institutions that include governance structures that promote collaboration and include students’ involvement (pg. 18)
  • Use of data to inform decision-making (pg. 19)


ACPA is eager to bring the student affairs profession together in Louisville this March for the annual Convention to celebrate many of our accomplishments, including the 75th anniversary of the SPPV. We hope our colleagues will take advantage of the myriad opportunities the convention will offer to answer the charge of the SPPV. As we prepare to come together in Louisville, we invite you also to engage in your own reflections on this charge as you consider the following questions:

  • How do we balance the call most effectively to educate the whole student with the demands to provide increasingly specific services and expertise?
  • What developmental tasks, beyond those named in the SPPV, must students in the 21st century master?
  • How do the imperatives described in the SPPV reflect the experiences and needs of adult, graduate, or part-time students?

Perspectives: An Ethical Exploration: Violations of the Law and Differential Treatment Between College Students and Non-Students

Perspectives: An Ethical Exploration: Violations of the Law and Differential Treatment Between College Students and Non-Students

Nicholas A. Clegorne
Louisiana State University
Jonathon M. Hyde
Louisiana State University
Rony Die
Louisiana State University

A focus on students is the hallmark of the student affairs profession. However, an ethical dilemma emerges when one considers if our treatment of students is inadvertently unfair to non-students. Do institutions of higher education inadvertently privilege the students they serve when those students violate the law? Is it fair that non-students are processed through the criminal justice system for the same offense treated as learning opportunities for students? Could the criminal justice system learn something from the developmental approaches often taken by colleges and universities?

These questions and others are explored by the authors in this examination of fairness and differential treatment in our society. First, we pose two case studies and a typology we hope will illustrate examples of fairness and differential treatment between student and non-student populations. Second, we discuss the ways these cases compare and contrast to adjudication practices outside of the university.  Finally, we pose questions that may prove helpful in illuminating this complex ethical issue. While there are no definitive solutions, discussion generated from this column could lead to increased interest in the topic, new directions for research, and hopefully a greater understanding of the complexities involved. We hope this column can be a catalyst for further exploration, discussion, and understanding regarding institutional practices and the choices we make as a society regarding how we treat alleged student and non-student offenders.

Case Studies

In order to examine the differential treatment between college students and non-students, hypothetical scenarios are described next. While an express purpose is to present a well thought out explanation of the potential consequences for the involved individuals (Non-student A and Student B), it is important to note there are other variables not discussed here that may affect the outcome. Indeed, it is more likely that the illustrated scenarios represent several points along a continuum of potential responses. In other words, while we present a completely developmental strategy on one hand and a punitive approach on the other, there are many options in between.

Illicit marijuana use was selected for these scenarios because this was a common offense at the institutions familiar to the authors. In order to better allow one to compare the two case studies, we assume all identity-based characteristics of the students are equal, other than their college enrollment status. Conversations with local police confirmed that similar instances were handled quite differently off campus than on campus. Confusing the issue further, some federal and state laws conflict regarding the illegality of marijuana use. Additionally, there is much evidence to suggest that age, race, and socioeconomic status all can, and often do, play a part in determining the nature and severity of consequences for legal infractions regardless of student status (Lynch, Patterson, & Childs, 2008; Neubauer & Fradella, 2011). The complexity suggests it is difficult to state whether such behavior is illegal all of the time in every place (“Federal Marijuana Law,” n.d.). Even so, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811) suggests that illicit marijuana use is typically against the law in most regions of the United States. Rather than becoming bogged down in the specifics of this particular crime, we hope the reader will view illicit marijuana use as a vehicle for discussion. One might substitute theft or stalking for marijuana and convene a similar discussion.

Case study 1: Non-student A 

Non-student A is a high school graduate, but is not enrolled in college. Non-student A is smoking marijuana alone in his private residence when a neighbor or passer-by smells the odor and calls the police. As is typical from the authors’ experience, when police arrive they confirm the smell and decide to investigate.  Shortly thereafter Non-student A hears loud banging on the front door followed by, “Open up! This is the police!” shouted from outside. Non-student A delays complying with the request because he is attempting to hide the evidence of his marijuana use. He eventually allows the officer to enter and search the domicile. The officer smells the strong smell of marijuana and notices a pipe and a plastic bag of what appears to be marijuana sitting in a box on the kitchen counter.

Case study 2: Student B 

Student B is also a high school graduate but unlike Non-student A is enrolled in a four-year college. Student B lives in a residence hall on campus, in a room shared with one roommate. Student B is alone in his room on campus, smoking marijuana, when he hears a knock on the door, and his resident assistant says, “This is your RA, I need you to open the door.” Student B delays complying with the request because he is attempting to hide the evidence of his marijuana use.  He eventually allows the resident assistant to enter. Inside the room, the resident assistant notices the strong smell of marijuana, a pipe, and plastic bag of what appears to be marijuana sticking out of a messenger bag on the coffee table.

A Typology of Potential Outcomes

First, an examination of the potential outcomes of Student B’s situation is warranted. As a student at a four-year college, Student B could potentially be facing a wide variety of consequences for his actions. It has been the authors’ experience, through roles as student affairs professionals at eight different postsecondary institutions that university responses can vary dramatically. Three types of university responses to these cases will be described. The responses presented below are not meant to be a comprehensive list but should be seen as guideposts along a spectrum of potential responses.

Type 1: No campus police involvement 

In the first type of institution the situation is handled within the confines of the university, and campus police are typically not called to the residence in the first place. In a Type 1 institution, the resident assistant calls a professional staff member who comes to Student B’s residence. The professional staff member documents the situation, and the marijuana and paraphernalia may or may not be destroyed. The professional staff member then attempts to provide resources and support to Student B. In lieu of accountability measures, resources and guidance are directed to Student B in an attempt to increase the student’s knowledge of the potential consequences of drug use. Additionally, information is provided to promote the student’s welfare and success. In a Type 1 institution, there are no academic or judicial implications for Student B, and his criminal record is not affected.

Type 2: Campus-based educational adjudication

At type 2 institutions, the campus police are notified, confiscate the marijuana and pipe, and dispose of them. The campus police ask the resident assistant to document the situation, but no criminal arrest is made. Student B then progresses through the institution’s conduct system, which typically involves educational sanctions that seek to ensure the safety of the community and engage the student in a developmental process. In a Type 2 institution, an administrator may or may not record the incident and resolution in Student B’s university conduct record.The student’s criminal record is not affected.

Type 3: Criminal arrest 

Finally, at type 3 institutions, the campus police are notified, confiscate the marijuana and pipe, and process them as evidence of a crime. The campus police make a report of the situation and either issue Student B a summons or arrest him or her. The resident assistant also documents the situation and directs it through the student conduct process. In a type 3 institution, Student B’s criminal record is almost certainly affected. This incident may also be recorded in the university conduct record, depending on the student conduct response.

Now that the potential responses to Student B’s situation have been presented, one may take a closer look at what will most likely happen to Non-student A. Non-student A may face a range of consequences including being arrested and processed through the criminal justice system.

Discussion and Conclusion

Having described the potential consequences for marijuana offenses facing both Non-student A and Student B, the focus turns to the potential ethical dilemma created by this set of responses. The authors believe that institutions rooted in developmental practice are important for not only the development of individual students but also U.S. culture and society. When conduct policies designed to encourage better decision-making are successful it is likely that both the individual and society benefit. Another perspective is to consider whether such a difference in procedure is fair to our students and non-student counterparts.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a double standard as “a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another” (“Double Standard”, n.d.).  With his in mind one may question whether a double standard is created when, intentionally or not, students enjoy varying degrees of greater support and differential treatment than their non-student counterparts.

Questioning the differential treatment of students and non-students is not meant as an indictment of developmental student conduct practices. To the contrary, the authors completely support the concept of developmental conduct processes within the university but cannot ignore that this attitude is less prominent outside the university. In short, if college is about preparing students for a real world, where developmental adjudication strategies are in short supply (Natarajan, 2010), is it ethical to prime students in a culture that is counter to the real world?

Student affairs professionals seeking to develop students may be inclined to suggest the university’s developmental approach to student accountability is superior to that of society at large. While the authors agree with such an assertion, it is beside the point for this discussion. The question is not whether judicial systems outside of the university are overly prescriptive and intolerant. Neither is the question whether the university system is fairer or more just when viewed in a vacuum. In general the authors feel the real question is whether both systems, existing simultaneously, present an ethical conundrum for state and university officials.

Is such a model ethical and fair? Some would ask why college students, who already represent a privileged population, should get a second chance when other community members (non-student) their age might not. Furthermore, is it possible the university purpose and funding regarding behavioral response compared to that of U.S. society generates a system which is unfair to those inside and outside of the academy? With regards to this last question, the authors invite discussion on the ethics surrounding beginning a college student’s adult life with added protection of a developmental process only to release the student into a world where such luxuries are less available. Additionally, we raise the question about absence of a developmental process for non-students.

One natural suggestion of student affairs practitioners is that colleges might collaborate with federal, state and local municipalities in order to bring societal solutions external to the university more in line with practices within the academy. Indeed, universities, particularly flagship and land grant institutions, do have an expressed responsibility to contribute to the community outside of their own gates, but practitioners must be careful not to overstep in such roles. While the authors believe such cooperation to be integral to the expressed concerns highlighted in this piece, it is potentially problematic to assume that the local citizens (more specifically voters) in the community near an institution support developmental sanctions to the same extent of student affairs practitioners. There is evidence to suggest this distrust of development within the rehabilitation movement in the American prison system (Natarajan, 2010). Perhaps better outreach programs from universities could help to mitigate this obstacle.

Harry Dammer, in an edited volume by Mangai Natarajan (2010), described the sentiment of the American populous regarding prisons. In short, prisons in the early 20th century were cruel institutions reminiscent of dungeons. These were replaced by a system that purportedly sought to educate and rehabilitate through a number of psychological, physical, and career-based applications. However, by the 1970s the American public clamored for a more punitive model, and politicians and policy makers complied. While public opinion may or may not have changed since the 1970s, “the call for increasing severity of sentences has been driven by ‘penal populism’, a term used to describe crime policies that are formed by politicians in their attempt to appease the public and their call for punitiveness” (Naterajan, 2010, p. 93).  Pratt (2007) claimed this phenomenon is still true. Pratt also suggested the control and drive of politicians to keep the system punitive is real regardless of whether they understand or have adequately questioned the opinions of their constituents.

In contrast, universities typically seek to create teachable moments out of student conduct violations. Generally, only the most egregious acts result in suspension or expulsion, which are the greatest sanctions available to an institution. This seems trite compared to the possibility of incarceration. Certainly, students can suffer heavier legal punishments, but in the authors’ experience, many times (as in types 1, 2 described above and the spectrum in between) the university is able to choose whether to report the crime or handle it internally. Here it is important to remember there are a spectrum of responses. Based on experience, some universities are heavily dependent on a community standard approach, which often avoids legal action while, on the opposite end to the continuum, others use police almost exclusively to approach behavioral response. We find that most institutions fall somewhere in between. In most cases some form of probation or educational sanction supported by a number of student affairs practitioners and/or faculty is devised to help the student learn from their mistakes and succeed in the long run. On the other hand the notion of rehabilitation often seems like the punch line of a bad joke in the criminal justice system. At best, most people describe criminal sentences as “repaying one’s debt to society.”

Comparing campus judicial proceedings with criminal adjudication we can see a difference in ideology. The university seeks to invest in the individual, and conversely, society seeks to punish the guilty party. Based on conversations with many experienced student conduct administrators within different states and institution types, we found some agreement that if local, state, and federal governments had the resources to provide services similar to those offered in the universities to convicted criminals that such a system could be very good for society. Conduct administrators also discussed with us that such a system is difficult to attain. The modern American democracy, a servant of the American voter and taxpayer, would require immense resources to support this type of system. Not only would many more hours of work be required becoming costly, but the American public would have to support the perspective that the criminal justice system should be about rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. Given the prevailing concept of penal populism (Natarajan, 2010), a shift to a developmental approach seems unlikely.

Scholars and researchers in the area of criminal justice agree that the courts, police, and prisons are overtaxed (Goldkamp & Vîlcicã, 2009; Lurigio & Snowden, 2009; Scott, 2009; Worden & Davies, 2009). Furthermore, at every university familiar to the authors, this greatly overloaded criminal justice system is often happy to allow universities to take care of their own offenders for two reasons. First, in a system where there are impossibly long courtroom dockets, too few police on the streets, and too many convicted individuals in the prison system, the criminal justice system seems thankful part of the load to be taken by other organizations. Second, we can see where some might argue if society cannot offer the same treatment to everyone, at least each person who can be rehabilitated or developed through university conduct processes is a victory. The combined effect is that a system is created where the academy is allowed to sanction along completely different guidelines than the criminal justice system.

Here the authors will briefly describe some thoughts in the direction of potential solutions, which we hope will lead discussion towards greater problem-solving efforts. Specific attention is needed to both research and outreach. First, studies which examine the effects of university conduct procedures on students after college may allow student affairs practitioners to better acknowledge whether there is merit to the concerns regarding transition to life after college.  Further inquiry into transfer of the desired outcomes of the development process may provide greater support for contemporary strategies or prompt reform. Second, outreach to municipal legal and penal systems has the potential for two-fold success. On one hand the developmental approach used in colleges and universities might better help prevent and/or lessen crime while also helping to rehabilitate offenders. On the other hand, face-to-face interactions with crime outside academe could establish new ways of thinking in university conduct processes.

The ethical dilemma is with the existence of two environments that are separate yet operating side by side. The first favors development along a continuum exemplified by university conduct processes varying greatly in application. The second seems more focused on punishment as a result of perceived public opinion. The long-term solution to relieving the tension in this dilemma would be to bring each of the systems more in line with each other to remove the possibility of the double standard expressed above. Ideally a change in governmental policy to come more in line with developmental methods seems more appropriate. The optimism of the authors leads us believe great strides can be made to this end, but our shared pessimism has us considering how changing complex and politically charged issues will be a long and arduous process. The authors have suggested further research and outreach is needed to accomplish real strides towards bringing university and societal systems in-line. With this in mind we suggest that a short-term analysis also take place. While the authors fully support greater efforts at research and practice in the former long-term solution, we believe a short-term solution such as collaborations between student affairs conduct officers and local judicial servants resulting in an increased communication would be helpful in bringing awareness to this issue..

Discussion Questions

  • Regarding a developmental approach versus a more punitive style, which system is more appropriate given the realities of our world?
  • Can the student conduct and criminal systems work together?
  • Can either community (the university or society) trade their system for or merge their system with the other?
  • There are compelling reasons why the academy handles conduct in the manners it chooses, but is this ethical in light of the greater expectations of the municipality. If not, what should be done?
  • Where does your institution fall on the spectrum of typology presented?
  • What are the implications of where your institution is on the spectrum?
  • Do contemporary practices in student conduct on your campus appropriately correct behavior before students exit the institution, or do they simply provide a false expectation of leniency to privileged students?  What evidence do you have to support your claim(s)?
  • How could student affairs professionals reconcile any differences that may exist between  personal philosophies regarding conduct and that of your university regarding this type of situation?



Double Standard. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from…

Federal marijuana law. (n.d.). [Americans for Safe Access web site]. Retrieved from http://www.safeaccessnow. org/article.php?id=2638

Goldkamp, J. S., & Vîlcicã., E. R. (2009). Judicial discretion and the unfinished agenda of American bail reform: Lessons from Philadelphia’s evidence-based judicial strategy. In A. Sarat (Ed.), Special issue: New perspectives on crime and criminal justice (pp. 115-157). [Special issue].Studies in Law, Politics and Society, 47.

Lurigio, A. J., & Snowden, J. (2009). Putting therapeutic jurisprudence into practice: The growth, operations, and effectiveness of mental health court. Justice System Journal, 30, 196.

Lynch, M. J., Patterson, E. B., & Childs, K. K. (Eds.). (2008). Racial divide: Racial and ethnic bias in the criminal justice system. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.

Natarajan, M (Ed.). (2010). International Crime and Justice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Neubauer, D.W. &, Fradella, H.F. (2011). America’s courts and the criminal justice system.

Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Pratt, J. (2007. Penal populism. New York, NY: Routeledge

Scott, M. S. (2009), Progress in American policing? Reviewing the national reviews. Law & Social Inquiry, 34, 169–185.

Worden, A. P., & Davies, A. L. B. (2009). Protecting due process in a punitive era: Analysis of changes in providing counsel to the poor. Special issue: New perspectives on crime and criminal justice (pp. 71–113). [Special issue]. Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, 47.

About the Authors

Nicholas A. Clegorne is an Assistant Director in the Louisiana State University (LSU) Department of Residential Life and a Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Leadership Research and Counseling (Higher Education Administration) at LSU.

Jonathon Hyde is the Associate Director for Residence Education and interim Director of the Center for Academic Success at LSU.

Rony Die is a Residence Life Coordinator in the Department of Residential Life at LSU.

Please send inquiries to Nicholas A. Clegorne  [email protected] 

The opinions expressed by Developments author(s) are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members, Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

The Educational Dynamics of the Transfer Dilemma

The Educational Dynamics of the Transfer Dilemma

Paulette Brower-Garrett
College of Staten Island/CUNY

Transfer students are increasingly becoming a major constituent group within higher education institutions. Institutional leaders at both two- and four-year colleges rely heavily on transfer students for revenue, additional classroom perspectives, and positive contribution they make to an institution’s profile. The high percentage of transfer students may be surprising. Ewell, Schild, and Paulson (2003, p. 2) reported, “More than half of the students who ultimately earn bachelor’s degrees enroll in two or more institutions, and almost a fifth attend three or more.” These students often incur additional educational expenses because they frequently lose credits through the transfer process. Consequently, both transfer students and institutional funding sources have begun to apply pressure on institutional governing boards to finally rectify the persistent dilemma of transfer credit articulations. This concern continues to be reaffirmed as exhibited by the most recent statement from the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education (2011a):

Overall completion rates among students who lose significant credits in the transfer process are low, and it is not difficult to see why. Students are often required to enroll again in courses they have already taken, incurring significant costs in terms of tuition and time. In the absence of effective statewide policies, the burden of negotiating transfer, often between large, complex institutions, falls primarily on students seeking to transfer. Additionally, the costs of inefficiencies in the transfer process (e.g., credits not transferable; excessive credits taken after transfer because community college credits are not applied to degree requirements) are borne by students and states. (p. 5)

To compound transfer issues further, pressure on institutional governing boards has begun forcing faculty (more than other groups) to wrestle with some deeply divisive attitudes towards transfer students that have become systematized over the last 50 years. In fact, Cejda (1997) suggested that faculty members and administrators at four-year institutions might view students transferring from community colleges as academically suspect and lacking academic rigor. Whether these attitudes are perceived as correct or incorrect, this tension of negative attitudes towards transfer students and increased reliance on transfer students has unavoidably created an upsurge of intense debates surrounding the educational roles and responsibilities of two- and four-year colleges in higher educational institutions. In an attempt to provide a framework for understanding this progressively evolving complex dilemma, this article will examine its evolution by first identifying its scope, next addressing its history, then by looking at its current concerns and finally by highlighting some of its needed resolutions.

Transfer Student Proliferation: National Study

According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), college transfer is the movement of students from one college, university, or other educational provider to another. It is the process by which credits representing educational experiences, courses, degrees, or credentials are accepted or not accepted by a receiving institution (CHEA, 2000). Nationally, many students transfer out of the first institution they initially attend. In fact, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, 2011) 2003-2004 study of four million first-time undergraduate postsecondary students, roughly 1.3 million (approximately 32%) of them transferred, and 40% of transferring students moved between one or more colleges throughout their careers. Nationally, 18% of undergraduates transfer from the first institution at which they enrolled within three years of beginning their postsecondary education (Berkner & Choy, 2008). Additionally, transfer directional statistics indicated that while two-year to four-year transfer behavior was most prevalent (10.9%) four-year to four-year, four-year to two-year, two-year to two-year, and two-year to less than two-year transfer decisions were also commonplace (NCES, 2011).

The Transfer Dilemma: Its Creation

Historical Background

The creation of today’s transfer student dilemma began during the 1940s.  Initially in 1911, with the creation of America’s first community college, Joliet Junior College, through the 1950s, governing the transfer of students from two- to four-year schools was the primary goal of community colleges (Rendón & Nora, 1988).  In 1919 only 39 community colleges existed making this task fairly manageable.

In 1946 the President’s Commission on Higher Education was formed by Harry Truman.  The commission concluded, “forty-nine percent of the American public had the mental ability to complete 14 years of schooling” (Witt, Wattenbarger, Gollattscheck, & Suppiger, 1994, p. 130). After the report was issued, community colleges proliferated throughout the country. Additionally, the Servicemen Reenactment Act of 1944 (GI Bill) was created to divert veterans away from the scarce job market and into the educational system after World War II.

Prior to the 1940s, higher education institutions were primarily privately funded, limited, and largely restricted to individuals who had both the financial and political connections to access them. However, with the influx of government monetary funding, community colleges surged throughout America (Goodale & Sandeen, 1970), educational funding was provided to citizens who would not otherwise be able to obtain it, and the landscape of higher education institutions vastly shifted. Thus, the GI Bill extended higher learning access to veterans, those in lower socioeconomic classes, and to groups of people who previously had limited or no access to such opportunities (e.g., women and people of color).

Evolution of the Transfer Dilemma

Millions of Americans eventually took advantage of the GI Bill’s educational and low interest, zero down payment home loans. Because of this, community college enrollment boomed, and both transfer student populations and the American higher educational system proliferated. Contemporary economic struggles continue to expand this growth. Massive unemployment, corporate downsizing, adult career changers, state tuition incentives, and ongoing veteran education all contribute greatly to the ongoing evolution of transfer student classifications and behaviors. In fact, the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education (2011b) states, “There is a critical need to educate all Americans. With the virtual disappearance of opportunities for unskilled labor in the U.S., in this century a college education has become essential for anyone who seeks meaningful employment and social mobility (p. 2).”

Additionally, the entrance of community colleges into American higher education brought with it internal and external student learning and pedagogical challenges and biases. For example, on average community college students usually come from relatively less advantaged backgrounds (Dougherty, 1994), and many are first generation college students who may also be the first in their family to graduate from high school (Chandler, 1999). The National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education (2011b) confirmed that these two populations have learning and pedagogical challenges, “Too often universities and colleges tend to focus more intently on emulating their more selective peers than on taking stock of their students’ learning needs and helping them achieve educational success. The element that tends not to figure substantially in the visions and strategic plans of institutions is a concern for measurable improvement in learning” (p. 2).

Agreeing Gonzalez (2001) stated that the faculty at four-year institutions often negatively perceive the capabilities of community college transfer students. Consequently, students transferring from two-year to four-year institutions were oftentimes viewed as possessing less ability and overall preparation than their peers in four-year institutions. They were often deemed less likely to succeed than those who matriculated directly from high school into a four-year college. However, Ratcliff (1995) noted that two- and four-year institutions provide relatively equal cognitive gains for students after the initial year, suggesting students who begin college at two-year institutions do not sacrifice intellectual gains.

The Transfer Dilemma: Its Current Status

Student Classifications and Behavior

Laanan and Sanchez (1996) and Susskind (1997) recognized the vastness in transfer student behavior. They suggested that community college leaders measure effectiveness by identifying various transfer types in addition to monitoring transfer rates. They classified the types of transfer students into the categories presented below:

  • Vertical transfers: students who move from a junior to a senior college
  • Horizontal or lateral transfers: students who move between two institutions at the same level (e.g., from one two-year to another two-year institution)
  • Reverse transfers: students who begin their studies at a four-year college and graduate from a two-year college
  • Swirling transfers: students who enroll in two or more colleges simultaneously

Additionally, I would supplement this list by adding the following category:

  • Internal transfers: students who earn both their two- and four-year degrees at the same college. This scenario is most often only found at comprehensive colleges accredited to offer more than one degree level.


Institutional Response to Transfer Student Behavior

Student transfer behavior between educational institutions has created the need to successfully educate diverse student populations within a singular institution. As a result, the quest to address student learning and pedagogical cultural changes has begun proliferating throughout American higher educational institutions. Coupled with this, today’s massive unemployment rates, corporate downsizing, adult career changes, and state tuition incentives continue to influence previously unseen college enrollment patterns. Current unemployment rates and adult career changes have motivated highly-educated citizens to enroll in two-year colleges to earn associate degrees (even though they have already earned baccalaureate and master degrees); state tuition incentives are encouraging high-achieving recent high school graduates to directly enroll in community colleges before attending four-year institutions; and corporate downsizing has led to a host of mature adults returning to the classrooms to expand their professional credentials.

Gone are the days when American educational institutions could focus primarily on homogenous educational groups and monolithic teaching methods. Furthermore they can no longer expect a plethora of federal, state and local funding, non-parental interaction, and limited or postal communication. In fact Goldstein (2009) and Kimmich (2011), current and former Chancellors of The City University of New York (CUNY), repeated emphasis that higher education design must change. Contributing factors described by Goldstein and Kimmich included the diversity of special student population needs, globalization, access to instant communication and information, limited funding resources, increased accountability, increased demand for greater student access, and an increase in the type and number of higher educational institutions at-large. These factors have led to the restructuring of the basic design, philosophy and operations of higher educational institutions over the last 75 years.

I believe money is at the heart of all of these changes. Economics, whether masked under the disguise of surplus or deficit, is the fundamental element that has prompted these institutional changes. Kimmich (2011) indicated that long-term job security is becoming a relic from the past, educational standards to achieve a minimum standard of living have been raised, teaching and outcomes (job placement) accountability are being scrutinized, and both the public and private sectors are demanding more service—more options with less revenue. Additionally, the biggest obstacles impeding transfer student progression and timely completion of degrees have been identified as accurate and timely evaluation of transfer credits, loss of credits, and/or additional credits required after transferring. Lynch (1994) concurred with these and identified other barriers as well. Plus, Cejda (1994), Diaz (1992), and Knoell & Medsker (1965) found that a 0.5 (or more) drop in a student grade point average occurs due to transfer shock. These barriers cannot be overlooked. Each of these obstacles places a huge economical burden on students.

In response to the growing numbers of transfer students across the United States and ongoing economic challenges, many legislatures and boards of education have responded by directing energy toward creating system-wide transfer initiatives and articulation mandates. Additionally, federal pressure to address these concerns continue to be applied through such recurring legislation bill goals as the Higher Education Affordability and Equality Act of 2010 (HR 5078). As a result of these multiple forces discussed in this section, American educational institutions are being pushed to simultaneously address credit transfer, remediation and student preparation needs in general, and faculty teaching expectations at-large, at both institutional and federal levels.

Student Learning and Pedagogical Challenges

The issues of how credits transfer and how they are articulated both within and outside of similar or differing educational programs and institutions have been areas of contention for many decades. Over the last 10 years, several state educational systems have taken on these issues by undergoing the massive challenge of revamping their in-state transfer articulation policies and procedures. Florida (Florida Department of Education 2011), Georgia (University System of Georgia, 2008) and Illinois (Illinois Board of Higher Education, 2001) have successfully undergone this tremendous task; and New York’s CUNY (Goldstein, 2011) system has resolved to complete this task by 2013. As these examples show, states have begun to move away from allowing individual school-to-school transfer and articulation agreements and are instituting statewide mandated agreements.

Additionally, states are being forced to address the incredibly political task of improving the effectiveness of academic and degree progression of two-year institutions. They are also charged with reducing entrance barriers and inappropriate academic stereotypes at four-year institutions. The National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education (2011b) stated:

The nation’s system of higher education is often described as a pyramid in which the foundation layer consists of students attending open-enrollment institutions, including students who matriculate in community colleges, technical institutions, and proprietary institutions offering two-year degrees or certification in targeted employment skills. Further up the pyramid is a substantial cohort of students in public regional universities as well as in less selective independent liberal arts colleges. The next stages of the structure include students in state flagship research universities, and finally students enrolled in the nation’s most selective independent colleges and research universities.

As it tapers toward the top, the pyramid comprises an ever smaller number of institutions with selective admissions that enroll the nation’s highest-achieving students, who in many cases are also the most advantaged students in terms of educational and socioeconomic background. What may be less clear from the image of the pyramid itself are the different expenditures made to educate students at each tier of the structure. In fact, the dollars expended per student in the lower tiers of the system are substantially less than the dollars spent to educate students in the upper strata. From the standpoint of meeting the nation’s need for a better educated and more highly skilled population in the coming decades, the higher education pyramid as it now exists would need to be inverted. (p. 2)

Unquestionably, privately funded higher educational institutions have been in the education business far longer than most publicly funded institutions. As a result, they generally have the economical means to selectively choose which caliber of students they desire to admit; and by choosing their student body, they oftentimes are able to avoid addressing more diverse and complexly challenging student learning pedagogical issues. This is simply not the reality for our public sector.

The junior college movement actually began with its founder William Rainey Harper in 1892 when he divided the upper and lower divisions at the University of Chicago, named the lower-division departments in 1895 “junior colleges,” and created an associate degree for its graduates in 1899 (Witt et al., 1994). Between 1929 and 1939, the Great Depression and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) allocated funds to communities and helped to firmly establish the existence of junior colleges (Witt et al., 1994).

The relatively recent arrival of public higher educational institutions within the past 75 years has indeed provided educational access to the masses of the American people. The United States’ movement toward open access and ultimate creation of a plethora of two-year colleges also brought with it the quest and complication of determining the best means to educate the tremendous number of students who require remedial education. The goal of providing all Americans with “the critical knowledge and skills that allow graduates to function as thinking, engaged, and contributing members of society throughout life” (National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education, 2011b, p. 2) has also unavoidably spawned the widely debated and equally academically complex issue of “who,” “how,” and “where” this responsibility should be placed.

Since the beginning of the junior college movement, there seems to have been a general consensus among the two- and four-year sectors to retain the association of experiential and research learning with four-year colleges. As a result, remedial, English as a second language, and general education learning were delegated as primary responsibilities of the two-year colleges. Additionally, this responsibility was further compounded by the fact that state and federal funding mandates their mission includes servicing and adapting to the needs of all students (Witt, Wattenbarger, Gollattscheck, & Suppiger, 1994).

Unfortunately, these practices have more now than ever thrust community colleges into the remediation arena, and in some cases, have required them to serve in roles, which were formerly held by our secondary schools. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education expands upon this by stating (2011b):
The element that tends not to figure substantially in the visions and strategic plans of institutions is a concern for measurable improvement in learning. The more typical strategy is to focus an institution’s imagination, energy, and resources on becoming more selective, more attractive to the best students and faculty, rather than on configuring the institution to educate the student body of the future.

Even less likely to appear in the aspirations of most four-year public and independent higher education institutions is a goal of working constructively with regional K–12 schools to foster a better understanding among students of the advantages that result from a college education, and to help students and schools identify the middle and high school courses and the habits of mind that best prepare one for college-level study.

Discussion Questions

The results of these student learning practices have forced both academic and student affairs professionals to partake in some currently ongoing and fiery pedagogical conversions. As a seasoned administrator in this field who is firmly committed to professional development, I have come to understand that many of these concerns surround the following issues:

  • Why are two-year colleges’ retention and graduation rates so low?
  • Does at least half of our general public still have the intellectual capacity to continue their studies past their high school education?
  • Are retention and graduates rates being fairly defined for the two-year sectors?
  • Are students who transfer from two-year colleges adequately prepared?
  • Do faculty within two- or four-year colleges truly know how to teach?
  • Are all higher educational institutions responsible to teach all students?
  • Should faculty know how to teach diverse educational groups before they can earn the title professor?
  • How can technology be used to increase student success?
  • How can colleges work more effectively with high schools to prepare students for college?
  • Is there a point when students must receive advisement services to support them in their educational success?
  • To what extent do environmental factors hinder transfer student success?

In the world of academia, obtaining answers to these challenging questions can be a time consuming and comprehensive process. However, the mere discussion and ultimate resolution of them oftentimes leads to some enhanced and transforming educational experiences for the country at-large.


Transfer students are a major constituent group of higher education institutions. The added value they bring to the educational environment is historically rich and profitable. Their road traveled throughout their transfer process is oftentimes filled with barriers, obstacles, and financial challenges. Colleges must make an investment in their success by ensuring that faculty and staff can systematically make conscientious efforts to help ease transfer students through their transitions.

Maintaining our national educational commitment to access is unquestionably a daunting process. Increasing our nation’s competitiveness in a global economy by increasing the educational preparedness of all its citizens is vital to our continued national strength; however, it is no small undertaking. Yet, the literature firmly indicates that it is not only our nation that should make a sound investment, but it is also critical towards ensuring our country’s continued success.

Transfer Issues Workshop

Given these tough issues affect our professional responsibilities daily, the Commission for Academic Affairs Administrators and the Commission for Student Development in the Two-Year College co-hosted a one-day drive-in workshop on March 23, 2012 at Jefferson Community and Technical College located in Louisville, KY. This workshop was intended to help us address ongoing transfer, remediation, articulation, and pedagogical teaching concerns. During this conference attendees participated in conversations surrounding: (a) articulation issues between the community college and the four-year institution, (b) policy issues between the institutions, (c) overall preparation of the students for academic work at the four-year institution (d) dual program agreements, (e) dual scholarship and research opportunities, (f) two-year/four-year collaborations in preparing our students for academic scholarship, (g) faculty who teach at both two- and four-year institutions, (h) academic challenges of teaching students at diverse educational levels, and (i) grant opportunities available for two-four year college collaborations.


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Students at the Four-Year Institution.  Community/Junior College Quarterly of Research and Practice, 16(3), 276-91.

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develop the capacity for a comprehensive database to assess student progression? Indianapolis, IN: Lumina Foundation for Education.

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the Transfer Student. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

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definitions. In T. Rifkin (Ed.), Transfer and articulation: improving policies to meet new needs (pp. 35-43). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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About the Author

Paulette Brower-Garrett serves as Director of Academic Advisement & Evening & Weekend Services at the College of Staten Island/CUNY. She served as an ACPA Directorate Member with the Commission for Student Development In The Two Year College from 2009-2011, and as their Advisory Board Member during the 2011-2012 academic year. Also a National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) member, she has over 25 years of advising experience and has taught as an adjunct faculty member and presented at various national and regional conferences. Ms. Brower-Garrett has a BA degree in Botany (Drew University), MS degree in Counseling (Seton Hall University), MA degree in Social Sciences and MBA in Finance (William Paterson University) and is a Pi Lambda Theta member.

Please send inquiries to Paulette Brower-Garrett at [email protected]

The opinions expressed by Developments author(s) are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members, Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

Creating A Culture of Inclusion: Shifting the Disability Frame

Creating A Culture of Inclusion: Shifting the Disability Frame

Melanie V. Thompson
Northern Illinois University

The use of Universal Design (UD) within higher education has primarily been directed towards students with disabilities. In recent years, research has proposed that UD is beneficial to a wide range of students, including but not limited to students with disabilities.  Students not speaking English as their first language, students who are non-traditional in age, and students with varied learning styles may all benefit from the infusion of UD within higher education.  In light of the far reaching potential for access and inclusion that is associated with UD, the ACPA Standing Committee on Disability (SCD) has proposed that UD become a standard framework for designing learning environments within ACPA and for individual member use.  Over the course of the next several months, the SCD will be spotlighting the use of UD from various perspectives within higher education including: (a) a disability resource provider, (b) a faculty member, (c) an individual with a disability, and (d) a student affairs professional.  The first article, from the Chairperson of the SCD will provide an overview of a UD framework and demonstrate the applicability of UD to disability resources within higher education.

Disability literature abounds with pleas to incorporate Universal Design (UD) within higher education (see Burgstahler & Cory, 2008; Higbee & Goff, 2008).  Currently, there is little reference to UD outside of disability-related research and writing.  Among disability scholars and practitioners, there is belief that the infusion of UD within higher education would improve the engagement and retention of all students, not just students with disabilities.  A handful of federally funded grant programs have set out to prove this.

By infusing UD into education, college students benefit from flexibility, adaptability, and tolerance for error in a supportive learning environment.  By changing the frame through which disability is viewed, institutions can continue to move forward including disability as a tenet of diversity.  Research asserts that as faculty and staff within institutions of higher education include components of UD in and out of the classroom, students with disabilities will have a decreased need for some types of accommodations and encounter fewer barriers. Disability Resource Centers may also benefit from increased use of UD in higher education; using UD may allow more opportunities to concentrate on barrier reduction and individualized problem solving since less time may be devoted to addressing short-term, temporary accommodations.

In light of support for the infusion of UD within higher education, the SCD has proposed to ACPA leadership that a UD framework be utilized within ACPA.  For example, UD could be used to inform the design of professional development, the web site platform and content, and membership materials.  Four SCD members have crafted this Developments series, “Expanding the Frame: Applying Universal Design in Higher Education,” to exemplify the intersections of a UD framework. Professionals in different roles within higher education have each written a part of the series. In the first of this four-part series on UD, I will provide an introduction to UD and discuss how my role as the director of a disability resource center is impacted by the use of a UD framework.  As you read through the series, I invite you to question how you could include UD in the work you do.  How could you inspire others to use UD?  Also, how does UD benefit students on a regular basis, whether those students have disabilities or not?

Universal Design Framework

Ronald L. Mace initially conceptualized UD as “the designing of all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life” (Center for Universal Design, 2010).  Well-known examples include curb cuts, closed captioning, and automatic door openers.  UD has subsequently been applied to education, which has been referred to as Universal Design of Instruction (UDI or UID) (see Burgstahler & Cory, 2008; Campbell, 2004; McGuire & Scott, 2006; Mino, 2004). Roberts, Park, Brown, and Cook (2011) would assert that there is no meaningful distinction between these two terms.  UD has also been applied to learning under the term Universal Design of Learning (UDL) (see Morra & Reynolds, 2010; National Center on Universal Design for Learning, n.d.).  Throughout the SCD UD series you will see reference to UD, UDI, UID, and UDL reflecting each author’s preference.

The Center for Universal Designlocated at North Carolina State University (see promotes the following seven principles of UD: (a) equitable use: the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities; (b) flexibility in use: the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities; (c) simple and intuitive use: use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level; (d) perceptible information: the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities; (e) tolerance for error: the design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions; (f) low physical effort: the design can be used efficiently, comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue; and (g) size and space for approach and use: appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.  These principles are the foundation for UD, regardless of the context applied to.  To apply UD principles to instruction, Burgstahler (2008) suggests adopting the following process: (a) identify the course; (b) define the universe; (c) involve students; (d) adopt instructional strategies; (e) apply instructional strategies; (f) plan for accommodations; and (g) evaluate.

When UD principles are applied to instruction, the result is termed Universal Design of Instruction (UDI or UID), which McGuire and Scott (2006) define as “a framework for faculty to use in planning and delivering instruction and assessing of learning outcomes.  The underlying premise is a value system that embraces heterogeneity in learners and espouses high academic standards” (p. 125).  When UD principles are applied to learning, the result is termed Universal design for Learning (UDL).  The National Center on Universal Design for Learning (see promotes the following three principles of UDL: (a) multiple means of representation; (b) multiple means of expression; and (c) multiple means of engagement.

Regardless of the terminology used, the overarching premise of UD is to be proactive in design and identify multiple ways in which the end goals can be met. The forthcoming articles in this UD series will further demonstrate UD principles. For those wishing to learn more about the principles of UD, recommended readings include Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice (Burgstahler & Cory, 2008), Rethinking Disability: Principles for Professional and Social Change (DePoy & Gilson, 2004) and Making Good on the Promise: Student Affairs Professionals with Disabilities (Higbee & Mitchell, 2009).

UD and Disability Resource Centers: One Perspective

In the fall of 2010, I completed research with 58 faculty and staff in which nearly half (44%) of the respondents reported having had no prior training regarding disability, limited awareness of opportunities to consult regarding accessibility concerns, and limited knowledge regarding barriers faced by students with invisible disabilities (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic medical conditions, and mental health diagnoses).  How could I expect faculty and staff to engage as advocates and allies for inclusion and barrier reduction if they were not aware of barriers, were not aware of consultation resources, and were not aware of the types of disabilities impacting a large percentage of students with disabilities?

During that same research, 35% of the respondents indicated they did not agree that disability was a component of diversity.  One major impetus supporting UD within higher education is the diversity of the student body.  Again I questioned how to identify and develop disability advocates and allies if over one-third of faculty and staff respondents disregarded disability as a tenet of diversity.

Since inclusive environments for diverse students increase retention rates (Lombardi, Gerdes, & Murray, 2011; Merisotis, 2008), I have found it imperative to identify ways faculty and staff can create inclusive environments for individuals with disabilities.  UD principles have been one way I have attempted to do so.  When sharing UD principles with others, whether during consultations, departmental meetings, or through university committee work, I often get an “a-ha” reaction in which the principles of UD are described as “common sense.” Another reaction I have received is that a UD framework may positively impact customer service.  While not an expected reaction to sharing UD, this customer service idea was an “a-ha” moment for me as well, and has positively impacted how I talk about UD within our Center, with staff, and with colleagues.

I have found select constituency groups willing to collaborate and proactively build inclusion for individuals with disabilities, particularly when invested in the outcome. This, I find, is preferable to demanding that groups conform because of legal, federal mandates. Framing UD as a customer service philosophy has resonated with some of these constituency groups.  I am not asserting individuals with disabilities are customers; however, I am saying in order to be student-centered, customer service may be viewed as essential.  If UD principles seem like good customer service principles for some, then using this analogy will remain as one of the many tools I employ to advocate for inclusion of individuals with disabilities.  I share this example more to demonstrate that engaging folks in a conversation about UD can be framed in myriad ways; I have found that finding what is salient to my “audience” goes a long way in building support for infusing UD into higher education.

The current college student population includes more non-traditional age students, veterans, and second-language learners.  Today’s students also represent a range of social, economic, and cultural backgrounds.  As an educational framework, UD is likely to help this range of students, including students with and without disabilities. UD is particularly valuable for students who have invisible disabilities and/or those who do not want to disclose their disabilities. Given the stigma often associated with disability, educators should not be surprised that many students choose not to disclose (Marshak, Van Wieren, Ferrell, Swiss, & Dugan, 2010).  Unfortunately, without disclosure, access to formal support and accommodations is typically unavailable within institutions of higher education.  By providing greater access to the widest range of students through UD, institutions and educators may reduce the need to disclose for some students.

As a disability resource provider and administrator, I have spent countless hours each semester working individually with faculty, staff, and students to resolve accommodation-based concerns.  Faculty have expressed frustration when students do not request accommodations until several weeks into the semester.  Some faculty have questioned the necessity for accommodations when students have requested them midway through their courses.  Staff have voiced frustration when students have not disclosed a disability until experiencing a barrier.  This frustration has frequently been linked to the cost of an accommodation needed to remove a barrier, which may not have been sufficiently budgeted for, if budgeted for at all, and has been linked to disappointment in the result of contributing to the exclusion of students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities have articulated frustration in having to do more than students without disabilities to experience a level playing field, in having to disclose personal information, and having to argue, advocate, and fight for legally protected rights.  Proactively applying a UD framework often can reduce all of these frustrations, simply by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment.

It was stated earlier that increased use of UD may benefit disability resource centers by allowing more opportunities for consultation on barrier reduction and individualized problem solving because less time would be devoted to addressing short-term, temporary accommodations.  Research (Lovett, 2010) has proposed that some accommodations provided on a semester or term basis could be reduced through the use of UD.  For example, some faculty have begun allowing extended time for all students to complete quizzes and exams, or have started to use assessment methods that are not constrained by a set amount of class time. Research (Ofiesh & Hughes, 2002) has suggested that students who do not need extended time do not do any better with extra time.  Conversely, research has also suggested that students who do need extended time and are not allowed it do worse than they would have done with extended time (Ofiesh & Hughes, 2002).  McGuire and Scott (2006) provided examples of how faculty can apply UDL in the classroom, including posting lecture notes online, sharing rubrics and/or models for written assignments, giving students formative feedback on writing assignments, and using varied instructional strategies (e.g., lectures, videos, guest speakers, group activities).

Next Steps

Next steps will vary depending upon individual roles within higher education and familiarity with UD principles. A good starting point is to identify the model of disability you personally embrace. Knowing how you frame disability will allow you to make informed decisions about including UD. Other next steps may include identifying advocates and allies that embrace UD; working with faculty/staff development centers to create trainings on UD; infusing UD into mission, vision, and program objectives; reviewing program requirements and physical locations for barriers; providing alternate format of materials; ensuring that online materials are accessible; and reviewing syllabi for inclusive/accessibility statements.


Burgstahler, S. (2008). Universal design of instruction: From principles to practice. In S. Burgstahler, & R. C. Cory (Eds.), Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice (pp. 23-45), Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
Burgstahler, S., & Cory, R. C. (Eds.). (2008). Universal design in higher education: From principles to practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Campbell, D. (2004). Assistive technology and universal instruction design: A postsecondary perspective. Equity and Excellence in Education, 37(2), 167-173.

Center for Universal Design. (1997). What is universal design? Retrieved from
Center for Universal Design. (2010). History of Ronald L. Mace. Retrieved from

DePoy, E., & Filson, S.F. (2004). Rethinking disability: Principles for professional and social change.  Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Higbee, J.L., & Goff, E. (Eds.). (2008). Pedagogy and student services for institutional transformation: Implementing universal design in higher education. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Research on Development Education and Urban Literacy. Retrieved from

Higbee, J.L., & Mitchell, A.A. (Eds.). (2009). Making good on the promise: Student affairs professionals with disabilities. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Lombardi, A., Gerdes, H., & Murray, C. (2011). Validating an assessment of individual actions, postsecondary supports, and social supports of college students with disabilities. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48(1), 107-126.

Lovett, B.J. (2010). Extended time testing accommodations for students with disabilities: Answers to five fundamental questions. Review of Educational Research, 80(4), 611-638.

Marshak, L., Van Wieren, T., Ferrell, D., Swiss, L., & Dugan, C. (2010). Exploring barriers to college student use of disability services. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 22(3), 151-165.

McGuire, J. M., & Scott, S. S. (2006). Universal design for instruction: Extending the universal design paradigm to college instruction. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 19(1), 124-134.

Merisotis, J. P. (2008). Where do we go from here? Reducing inequities and today’s changing demographic. The New England Journal of Higher Education, 22(5), 27-29.

Mino, J. (2004). Planning for inclusion: Using universal instructional design to create a learner-centered community college classroom. Equity and Excellence in Education, 37(2). 154-160.

Morra, T., & Reynolds, J. (2010). Universal design for learning: Application for technology enhanced learning. Inquiry, 15(1), 43-51.
National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (n.d.). [Web site]. Retrieved from

Ofiesh, N.S., & Hughes, C.A. (2002). How much time?: A review of the literature on extended test time for postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 16(1), 2-16.

Roberts, K., Park, H-J., Brown, S., & Cook, B. (2011). Universal design for instruction in postsecondary education: A systematic review of empirically based articles. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24(1), 5-15.


About the Author

Melanie V. Thompson, Ed.S., NCC, LPC, LMHC, is the Director of the Center for Access-Ability Resources at Northern Illinois University. She also serves as the 2011-2013 Chairperson of the ACPA Standing Committee on Disability. 

Please send inquiries to [email protected]

The opinions expressed by Developments author(s) are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members, Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

A Tribute to Developments Columnist Robert M. Hendrickson

A Tribute to Developments Columnist Robert M. Hendrickson

Jason Lane
State University of New York, Albany
Jeffrey Sun
University of North Dakota

Robert M. Hendrickson, or “Bob” as many of us know him, started writing the Legal Issues column for ACPA Developments in the early 1990s.  For the last twenty years he has provided student affairs practitioners with insights and explanations of how the courts have defined the legal rights and responsibilities of students and offered sage advice to administrators.  He writes his last column in this issue of ACPA Developments; turning his pen over to the next generation of legal scholars, he plans to spend time with his family, and most importantly his grandchildren, whom he cherishes.

Bob has had a long and distinguished career as a scholar and an administrator.  He grew up in North Dakota and will commonly regale anyone around him with stories from the stoic state.  He earned a bachelor degree in zoology from North Dakota State University and graduate degrees in higher education and student personnel (with minors in law and business/sociology) from Indiana University.  His academic knowledge was augmented by his significant professional experiences.  He previously worked as a residence hall director and assistant dean of students at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, later serving as an assistant dean of students at Northwestern University. He began his faculty career as an associate professor at Montana State University then joined the faculty at the University of Virginia.

In 1984, Bob discovered his new home – State College, Pennsylvania.  He joined the faculty at Penn State, falling in love with the people and the local region. It would be the place he would spend the rest of his career.  Over the course of the last three decades, he served as the Professor-in-Charge of the nationally ranked program higher education program; head of the department of educational leadership and policy, and associate dean of the Penn State’s College of Education. Of course, his leadership skills are in high demand, so even after stepping down from the associate deanship two years ago with the hopes of returning to the faculty, the College called him back to service as the interim director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education.

Throughout Bob’s career as an academic administrator, he remained active in the Association for the Study of Higher Education and the Educational Law Association.  He also published numerous articles on legal issues in higher education. His most well-known publication is The Colleges, Their Constituencies, and the Courts, published in 1991 and 1999.  This book served as the primary legal resource for many higher education law classes and as a handy reference guide for practitioners.  As he brings his career to a close, he offers one more book to capture lessons learned as a former administrator with: The Handbook of Academic Administration (Stylus Press), which he is co-authoring with three of his former students.

Regardless of how busy Bob might have been, he always had time for his students.  He directed many doctoral dissertations, several of which won outstanding dissertation awards. His former students have gone on to serve in faculty and administrative positions throughout the United States and in foreign countries; several are presidents of colleges and universities.   He is more than an advisor; he is a mentor, a colleague, and a friend.  He is the person who always has a smile and is willing to share a laugh. And, he has left an indelible mark on all he associated with over the course of his career.  He has been a positive and lasting influence on the field of higher education, on Penn State, on his students, and on his readers.

Bob, we wish you all the best with your retirement and we look forward to hearing your many more stories as you spend time with your family and friends.  We will miss you, but we will never forget you.

Dr. Robert Hendrickson is a Professor of Education in Higher Education and Director and Senior Scientist in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Hendrickson holds an Ed.D. in higher education with a minor in law from Indiana University. His research and teaching interests include legal issues, organizational theory administration and governance, and faculty employment issues. He has published a number of articles, monographs and books. For the past 6 1/2 years he served as Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Research & Faculty Development within the College of Education. During his tenure as Associate Dean, six graduate programs were ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. News rankings and research awards grew from $4 million in 2001 to $18 million in 2007. Prior positions include Head of the Department of Education Policy Studies for eight years and Professor-in-Charge of the Higher Education Program for nine.

Commissions Corner

Commissions Corner

Laura A. Bayless
Coordinator-Elect for Commissions
Saint Mary’s College of Maryland
Heather Shea Gasser
Coordinator for Commissions
University of Idaho

This issue of Developments highlights the work of four Commissions and one Task Force:

  • Academic Support in Higher Education
  • Commuter Students and Adult Learners
  • Recreation and Athletics
  • Student Involvement
  • The new Task Force for Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Take a moment to read these brief articles. We expect you will find resources to assist in your work on your campus. Commissions and Task Forces produce a number of important professional development opportunities, ranging from webinars to publications to in-person training opportunities. It is never too late to become involved yourself: contact any Commission Chair for information about how to make a difference in ACPA and in the field through work in Commissions.

Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education

Adrianna Guram, Chair

The Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education (CASHE) provides support and professional development opportunities for individuals in higher education institutions who work within the areas of academic support. These areas include (but are not limited to) academic advising, developmental education, and college learning centers. Our mission is to inform professionals in academic support services of issues and trends impacting student academic success. Professionals who affiliate with CASHE regularly engage students by providing direct services to assist students in achieving academic success.  Based upon the CASHE mission statement, the commission members keep a pulse on topics of concern specific to their professional niche. Discussions within this context pertain to serving special student populations, including academically at-risk students, international students, and first-generation college students and sharing specific techniques or best practices related to providing academic support.

To enhance the role that academic support professionals play in the daily lives of our students, CASHE is committed to highlighting best practices across the spectrum of academic support units.  We supported programs at the 2012 ACPA Convention, prepared a “virtual” book club with our membership in 2012, and looking ahead at the possible creation of an Institute for Academic Support.

We encourage individuals to join our group on Facebook to connect with current issues and topics, connect via LinkedIn, and to read our quarterly newsletter for updates on the Commission and scholarly writing by our members.  We invite you to become active in the Commission through one of our various opportunities for involvement.  Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Adrianna Guram.

The Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners

Margaret Langford

The origins of the Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners trace back to the growing interest in commuter students and their special needs that emerged during the early 1970s.  ACPA’s Commission II (Admissions and Orientation) agreed to host the Commuter Task Force in 1975. The Association officially created Commission XVII (Commuter Programs) at the1978 ACPA National Convention. At the 1988 ACPA National Convention, the Commission added Adult Learners to their title, and action that clearly indicated that adult learners, a significant constituency within the overall commuter student population, are an integral and vital part of the Commission’s overall advocacy, networking, and education efforts. During the summer of 2002, the current name, Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners, was formally adopted.

The Commission for Commuter Students and Adult Learners (CCSAL) provides a network of contacts and support for professionals serving commuter students and adult learners. Opportunities for learning about effective programs and services, encouraging original research, sharing data, and discussing the needs/concerns of these populations are a large part of the Commission experience. The mission of CCSAL includes

  • Providing a network of contacts and support for those serving commuter student and adult learners;
  • Providing a forum for discussing and advocating on behalf commuter and adult student needs and concerns; and
  • Promoting the generation and sharing of data, research, services, and programs, which effectively enhance commuter and adult students’ development.

Here’s what we are working on now:

  • Sponsored Programs: If you were at the 2012 ACPA Convention, the CCSAL Sponsored Programs had some great information on how to serve commuter students and adult learners, including our annual offering “More Than A Place to Park.”
  • Commission Awards: Congratulations to our Award winners! A list of award winners is available on the CCSAL Web site.
  • Convention Showcase: The CCSAL table at the Convention Showcase had information on what we’re doing and how you can get involved.
  • E-Newsletter: Want to get published? Consider writing an article about serving commuter students and/or adult learners for our e-newsletter.
  • Directorate Nominations and Elections: CCSAL welcomed new directorate members this spring. Check out our website to meet them.

Want to get involved? CCSAL is always happy to welcome new members! You can find more information on the CCSAL Web site. You can also contact the CCSAL Chair, Gerry Elizondo.

Commission for Recreation and Athletics 

Mike Fulford, Chair

The Commission for Recreation and Athletics (CRA) is a fairly new commission (established in 2009), but, in a short time, this commission has been very engaged in the profession and serving its members and ACPA. CRA’s mission is to provide ACPA members with opportunities for professional development regarding issues of importance in campus recreational sports and inter-collegiate (varsity) athletics. In addition, acting within the ACPA governance structure and with the ACPA International Office, CRA assists in positioning ACPA to be an informed voice on campus recreation and athletics issues, as those issues intersect with student affairs and with the strategic objectives of ACPA as an association.

Since its inception, the commission has aligned its focus with the association and the unique lens in which it operates within the areas of campus recreation and athletics.  These areas of focus involve three goals:

  • Offer professional development opportunities that explore the impact of participation in recreational sports and athletics on students.
  • Create and disseminate knowledge, contribute to existing ACPA publications/materials, and develop additional professional development publications/materials and opportunities that expand the knowledge on campus recreation and intercollegiate athletics in support of informed and effective practice.
  • Develop professional competencies that articulate the knowledge and skills needed by student affairs professionals who serve in or address issues in campus recreation and/or athletics.

CRA’s membership has been busy over the past two years.  CRA members have spent significant amount of time working to develop a thought paper and support the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) to challenge the development of policies in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) that will have a negative impact on the ability of institutions to earn revenue through hosting basketball camps. The issue is on-going and CRA is a vocal participant in these discussions as a representative of ACPA.  The leadership of Scott Hirko, past Chair of the CRA, has allowed the CRA to have a presence in these conversations and while the CRA’s thought paper was being developed.

In addition to developing the infrastructure of the commission, another project includes working closely with ACPA and NIRSA to make the upcoming co-located 2013 convention in Las Vegas a huge success. This has been a great opportunity for two associations to prove that collaboration is possible at the highest level and to bring professionals in campus recreation closer to their colleagues in other student affairs functional areas.

As CRA grows, we would like to encourage interested professionals to become involved in our Commission. Members may run for positions on the Directorate, help with the new awards process, assist in the development of the inaugural ACPA Institute in collaboration with NIRSA that is slated for Fall 2012, and submit sponsored programs for the annual convention.  As a newly established commission, this is a great time for ACPA members to get involved and obtain experience in a leadership role with CRA.

If you are interested in the Commission for Recreation and Athletics, additional information about the commission is available on the Commission Web site.  Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Mike Fulford.

Commission for Student Involvement 

Marlena Martinez Love, Chair

One of ACPA’s oldest entity groups, the Commission for Student Involvement (CSI), exists to support and advance the work of student affairs educators who promote student engagement, foster change, and encourage students’ development through activities in four focus areas: community service/service learning, leadership education, clubs and organizations, and fraternity and sorority affairs. While CSI is known to many as the “fun commission,” we also mean business!

The Commission continues to enhance the ACPA member experience by offering top-notch educational programs, exploring ways to integrate CSI values and ACPA action (like the 2011 Dress for Success Drive), and advocating co-curricular learning that is equally important to what students learn inside the classroom. CSI has an active listserv, an invaluable benefit that engages members in resource sharing and brainstorming on a variety of topic areas. Through our awards and recognition programs, CSI is able to support new research about our four focus areas and acknowledge campus best practices that shape the field.

CSI commits to providing a year-round professional development experience and engaging members through volunteer, educational, and networking opportunities. Volunteer opportunities exist for professionals at every level and range from participating in dial-a-dialogues, to working on CSI’s focus areas from serving in an elected CSI leadership role, to publishing in a variety of commission venues. While Convention programming is a major component of our activities, CSI also actively engages members outside of the Convention period to enhance the overall experience and improve services to ACPA and to our field.

The Commission has undertaken a number of major initiatives this year, including streamlining our online elections process, revamping the leadership structure for Directorate and Leadership Team operations, enhancing our social media presence, creating a mid-year meeting, developing real and virtual resources to best meet the needs of our members, and drastically rethinking the way we approach the work of the Commission. After 50 years of growing and learning as an ACPA entity, CSI is entering an exciting new phase of existence. Made possible through the vision and dedication of incredible volunteers, CSI members have created a Task Force to rethink, retool, and reimagine our purpose and to chart the course for a reinvigorated path forward. To learn more about the evolution of CSI and how you can help shape our shared future, please visit the Commission Web site  or contact CSI Chair, MarlenaMartinez Love.

Many seasoned ACPA members get their start in CSI and many new members join our efforts every year. For many, CSI is their home within ACPA. Whether you are a first-year graduate student, a mid-level manager, or seasoned faculty member, we welcome you to join in the conversation and be a part of CSI’s evolution. If you are interested in the Commission for Student Involvement, additional information about the commission is available on the Commission Web site.  CSI also is active on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Please direct questions to the Commission Chair, Marlena Martinez Love.

Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness Task Force

Kathy Adams Riester, Interim Chair

College and university professionals are often challenged to develop new areas of expertise as issues arise across the country and on our own campuses.  Many of us have had to work quickly to develop behavior assessment/management teams, critical incident response teams, continuity of business plans, and pandemic plans to address issues of safety and violence on campus. ACPA has created a new Task Force on Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness to help assist you with these new demands.  The purpose of this Task Force is to provide ACPA Members with knowledge and skill development in the areas of Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness on college and university campuses. Additionally, the Task Force will be an informed voice on issues, concerns, and best practices in these areas for the field of Higher Education.

The Task Force on Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness kicked off its inaugural year at the ACPA Annual Convention in Louisville.  There will be two sponsored programs: one that focuses on combining student and staff behavior assessment and management teams and the other on emergency response to natural disasters on campus.

Additionally, the Task Force was at the Convention Showcase on March 26 and held an Informational Meeting on March 27.  Future plans include the creation of a clearinghouse of Campus Safety and Emergency Preparedness resources.  The Task Force will also develop trainings to allow professionals at various levels to add skills, knowledge, and resources that are appropriate for their level of responsibility. If you have any questions and/or are interested in getting involved, please contact the Interim Chair of the Task Force, Kathy Adams Riester.

Managing Internationalization: Strategic Initiatives or Reactionary Programming?

Managing Internationalization: Strategic Initiatives or Reactionary Programming?

Jason E. Lane
State University of New York, Albany

The purpose of the Global Affairs column is to discuss issues pertinent to the student affairs profession that arise out of the growing interconnectedness in the world. This column will provide readers with information and insights about the changing nature of the profession and some of the factors contributing to those changes. The use of the term “globalization” is meant to describe the growing interconnection of nations, people, economies, politics, and education and is not meant to reflect a particular ideology or belief structure. The column will explore both the potentially good and bad aspects of a real phenomenon.

Discussions regarding internationalization within higher education tend to focus on curriculum development, study abroad opportunities, research collaborations, and development of joint or dual degree programs. Rarely are the role and responsibilities of student affairs practitioners discussed in the global context; yet, many students are directly influenced by the work of such individuals.

In December 2011, I attended a conference about internationalization of higher education at the University of Lund in Sweden.  Co-hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Nordic University Association, the conference—The Strategic Management of Internationalization in Higher Education—was based on the premise that internationalization is an increasingly important aspect of many higher education institutions and that more attention needs to be given to how to effectively manage international engagements and internationalization processes.

While participating in the meeting, I wondered how, if at all, internationalization is managed within student affairs. The conference focused on institutional and governmental levels of strategy and there was no mention of student affairs (or related) activities. This was not altogether surprising, as the focus of the conference was mostly within the European context, where formalized divisions of students affairs, like those often found among colleges and universities in the United States, are still in the formative stages of development, if they exist at all.  However, I did begin to wonder the extent to which the traditional responsibilities of student affairs professionals are considered within the context of internationalization in higher education. Moreover, to what extent are student affairs leaders managing, or merely reacting to, the forces of globalization?

According to the International Association of Universities third Global Survey of Internationalization of Higher Education, the top reason institutional respondents provided for engaging in internationalization of activities was to “improve student preparedness for a globalized/internationalized world” (Egron-Polak & Hudson, 2010, p. 64). In implementing this goal, most respondents focused their internationalization strategies on study abroad experiences and internationalizing the curriculum. It seems that preparing students for a globalized/internationalize world should incorporate those in both academic and student affairs.  It is often through the co-curricular experience that students develop skills related to leadership, teamwork, and communication—all of which could benefit from the addition of international perspectives. In fact, given how few students actually study abroad, student affairs practitioners can play an important role in helping students who do have the interest or ability to study abroad to gain an international perspective or expand their intercultural understanding.

So, if institutional administrators are not actively engaging student affairs departments in internationalization strategies, then to what extent are student affairs divisions actively pursuing their own internationalization strategies? And, are the internationally-oriented aspects of student affairs part of a strategic vision, or merely reactions to specific events or external pressures?

Given the large number of demands that already exist on student affairs practitioners, many have likely not had the time or passion to think comprehensively about a divisional strategy for internationalization. In many colleges and universities, internationally-focused student affairs engagements are often isolated events that are spear-headed by a “champion” of the cause or sponsored by specific student clubs with a specific cultural or national focus.  Unfortunately, we have yet to see many student affairs division that embrace a global perspective on their work in the same way that many of embraced concepts such as diversity and social justice. In fact, in the September/October 2011 issue of About Campus, several authors described how study abroad experiences can enrich the student learning experience, and I commend the editors for taking a more global perspective in this issue; however, I was also interested in how leadership development programs, student activity offices, college unions, residence halls, and other more traditional student affairs units help students gain a more global perspective.

My purpose here is not to set forth a manifesto for internationalizing student affairs divisions—rather, I hope to raise awareness of this topic and suggest a general process that student affairs practitioners might use to internationalize their functions and help the institution prepare students for a globalized/internationalized world.  Despite the level of institutional commitment, the world in which our students will be working and living is increasingly “flattening,” as Friedman (2005) has often pointed out.  Those in student affairs can play an important role in preparing students to be successful in this flat world and also raise campus-wide awareness of the importance of internationalization.  However, it is important for those in student affairs divisions to have a general agreement about internationalization and how it can be integrated into their own activities. Too often, internationalization is viewed as a separate function to be handled by certain offices (e.g. study abroad), rather than broadly integrated across several divisions.

First, there needs to be a shared understanding of the intent and process of internationalization among student affairs professionals.  One of the more commonly accepted definitions of the term is “the process of integrating an international, intercultural, and/or global dimension into the purpose, functions (teaching, research, and service) and delivery of higher education” (Knight, 2006, p. 2).  Again, student affairs is largely ignored; however, for our purposes, we can easily amend the definition to be more relevant: the process of integrating an international, intercultural, and/or global dimension into the purpose and functions of student affairs. Such a definition provides a broad understanding of the process; however, each institution will likely embrace this concept in different ways, even though the administrative teams need to have a shared understanding of the concept.

Second, student affairs professionals should inventory what internationalization activities currently exist within their divisions. Before laying out a new agenda of internationalization, it is important to understand what internationally oriented programs currently exist. Such an inventory serves as a way to determine the current breadth of programs offered, identifies existing strengths and priorities, and can highlight weaknesses and holes in student programming. There are often several different international experiences available to students on a campus, but there is not always a central accounting of these activities. At some institutions, the international office may play a significant role in coordinating such information, but that is not always the case.

Third, practitioners should understand the institutional goals for internationalization. What strategies or priorities does the institution have in regard to internationalization? Do the goals include bringing more foreign students to campus or to send more domestic students abroad?  Perhaps the institution is seeking to develop “global citizens” or a “globally competitive workforce.” At other institutions, the priorities may be part of an institution-wide strategic plan or a related vision document.  Increasingly, institutions are thinking more comprehensively about internationalization, and student affairs divisions should be part of this process. But, even if students affairs does not have a seat at the table while strategic plans are being drafted, it does not mean that they cannot help the institution to achieve its goals.

Finally, student affairs practitioners should develop goals and action steps aligned with institutional goals that support a broad internationalization of the division’s functions and activities. In developing these goals, it is important to remember those students who do not have the interest or opportunity to study abroad.  How do divisions extend internationalize efforts to these students? How can student affairs divisions internationalize existing programs?  What new programs might be developed? What opportunities exist to partner with academic affairs as a means for enriching the overall learning experience of students?

These steps are meant to generate discussion and conversation about this topic, which, I hope, will eventually lead to strategic planning and goal setting.  Several student affairs units have already begun to think about such things and simple searches on the Internet reveal examples of how some student affairs divisions have attempted to deal with this topic. If you are part of a division that is already embracing internationalization, consider how you can help move the agenda forward. If your division is has yet to have these conversations, then I encourage you to initiate such conversations. The questions above, or in some of my previous columns, might help “break the ice.” If you are an aspiring student affairs professional, I would encourage you think about how you might incorporate an international perspective into your future work.

Discussion Questions
These discussion questions are drawn from the International Association of Universities questions posed above.

  • How can the internationalization efforts within student affairs support Knight’s (2006) definition of internationalization?
  • How could the definition of internationalization be broadened, if at all, to better reflect institutional efforts?
  • Does your student affairs division have a shared understanding of internationalization of higher education?
  • If you were a student affairs administrator, how would you seek to foster an international perspective among your staff?


Egron-Polak, E. & Hudson, R. (2010).  Internationalization of Higher Education: Global Trends, Regional Perspectives. (IAU 3rd Global Survey Report). Paris: International  Association of Universities.

Friedman, T.L. (2005). The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Knight, J. (2006). Internationalization of Higher Education: New Directions, New Challenges. (IAU 2nd Global Survey Report). Paris: International Association of Universities.

About the Author

Jason E. Lane is Director of Education Studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, associate professor of educational administration and policy studies, and a senior researcher with the Institute for Global Education Policy Studies at the State University of New York, Albany.  He is member of the governing boards of the Comparative and International Education Society and the Council for International Higher Education and is an Associate of the International Association of Universities. His most recent books include Multi-National Colleges and Universities: Leading, Governing, and Managing International Branch Campuses and The Global Growth of Private Higher Education, both from Jossey-Bass.

More about the author and his research on cross-border education can be found here. Please e-mail inquires to Jason E. Lane. The opinions expressed by Developments author(s) are not necessarily those of the Developments editorial board or those of ACPA members, Governing Board, Leadership, or International Office Staff.

Going Beyond Legal Obligations: Be Guided by Fairness and Justice

Going Beyond Legal Obligations: Be Guided by Fairness and Justice

Robert M. Hendrickson
Pennsylvania State University

When Dixon v. Alabama (1961) was decided, I was a junior in high school, and at the time, I had no idea of the revolutionary nature of this case.  What I learned as I began to study legal issues in higher education was that this decision was a watershed case that brought the courts through the college gates and established a new constitutional relationship between students and colleges and universities.  This new constitutional relationship resulted in the courts exploring the applicability of certain constitutional rights to college students.  These rights, commonly discussed in higher education judicial circles today, included due process, privacy, equal protection under the law, gun control, and freedom of speech, press, and religion. These areas, and many others, have been the topic of discussion in APCA Developmentswhere legal issues have been explored and implications for practice were presented for student affairs practitioners.

This is my last contribution to Developments, and this fact has resulted in some reflection on how far we have come in protecting student’s rights while creating a safe, healthy, and diverse educational environment that promotes student development and growth.  It has resulted in a personal retrospective of my own experience as an administrator responsible for enforcing institutional policy while protecting student’s rights, all the time trying to utilize professional and ethical standards.  It is not just a question of what is legal, in many cases, but what is fundamentally fair and just.  Our standard ought not to be whether we are operating within what the law requires but, rather, how do we conduct a fundamentally fair and just process where the rights of both the accused and the accuser are protected.  Applying that higher standard of being fundamentally fair and just is tested directly in Title IX cases of sexual assault.

Particularly difficult are those cases that involve alcohol and acquaintance rape. These cases usually involve alcohol consumption and questions of whether the sexual involvement was consensual.  These cases are complicated further by the fact that they may involve criminal activity (i.e., rape), but often we elect, as an institution, not to report a potential crime to police.  Though there may be good rationale for not reporting this criminal activity, whether this is educationally and developmentally sound practice remains unclear.  Are we actually enabling irresponsible behaviors because students know they will be protected by the institution and not be held responsible by the outside world for their actions?  The 18-year-old adult not enrolled in college would face criminal prosecution for similar behavior.  Are we being fair and just to all students by protecting a handful from criminal prosecution?  An actual case may help to understand how these issues play out in sexual assault cases.

Last fall, as I was beginning to think about this final column in ACPA Developments, I saw an article in the September 6, 2011 issue of  Inside Higher Education (IHE) entitled, “New Scrutiny for Sex Assault Cases”.  I thought this would be the perfect topic on which to write because it addressed issues that require administrators to go beyond basic legal requirements to provide a fundamental fair and just process for all parties.  Little did I know at the time how prophetic this choice was and how sexual assault would affect me professionally, as well as the University to which I have given 28 years of my life.  As the reports of child abuse unfolded at Penn State, my reaction was a variety of emotions and a tendency to hide from this topic.  Sexual assault involving campus constituencies, regardless of whether it’s abuse of students or children, raises similar issues.   In time, however, I was able to move beyond the sorrow and anger I was feeling and realized that understanding the legal and ethical requirements in sexual assault cases will help to understand policy and practice that can be applied equally to cases of child abuse.  What follows is not a discussion of the situation at Penn State, where legal process and investigations will determine guilt, dysfunction and remedies to be applied in the future.  However, the resolution of sexual assault cases in recent years can provide student affairs administrators with some guidelines to a fundamentally fair and just process in resolving these cases.

In Doe v. University of the South 687 F. Supp. 744 (E.D. Tenn. 2009), after an encounter on August 30, 2008, between the plaintiff Doe (a male student) and a female student, the female student filed a complaint with the University alleging rape.  The University’s Title IX sexual assault policy and procedures requires that a student be notified within five class days after a complaint has been filed.  The Dean appoints an investigator who interviews students and witnesses involved  and, where possible, obtains written statements.  The accused and accuser are each asked to provide written accounts of the incident and each is provided with a consultant, one character witness, and a 24-hour notice of the hearing date and time.   On September 17, John Doe was asked by the Dean’s office to attend a meeting with the Dean of Students on the morning of September 18.  That morning, he was informed of the charges, given statements of witnesses, informed of the hearing scheduled for September 19, 2008, and told to bring a character witness to the hearing.  Doe was quizzed on his written statement by the appointed investigator before the hearing.  Doe did not hear the hearing investigator’s oral testimony and was allowed in the hearing only during his own and his character witness’ testimony.  He was informed later that day that he was found guilty and given two options: suspension for one semester with the assault remaining on his record or suspension for two semesters with no record of the assault and the option to reapply for admission.  He was informed of the right to appeal but was told the Vice Chancellor might increase the punishment and the complainant might file criminal charges.  He accepted the two-semester suspension but appealed the decision. The Vice Chancellor upheld the original decision.  Doe never reapplied for admission but sued in federal court.

As IHE reported, the case was tried before a jury in Federal Court and found that the institution was negligent in the application of its sexual assault policies.  John Doe was awarded damages of lost tuition.  Further complicating this case was the fact, revealed during the trial, that the female had medical issues requiring medications to control mood, narcolepsy, and these had been combined with consumption of alcohol at levels higher than she had experienced before.  The hearing committee ignored any information about her medical condition and alcohol consumption. The statement she gave to the committee was erroneous because she claimed that she had no alcohol for four hours prior to seeing Doe.  The hearing committee had acknowledged that Doe thought the sex was consensual and that the committee lacked information about alcohol consumption and her incapacitated condition.  In these cases sometimes, institutions will not consider certain facts in order to protect the victim.  Other institutions seem to go out of their way to protect the accused.  The difficulty in a “he said – she said” case is finding that balance between both the rights of the alleged victim and the accused.  Although I could not find the specific counts of negligence by the University found at trial, there are a number of process issues that appear to have been ignored as the institution seemed to have rushed to get this situation behind them.  In this case, it appears not handing the case over to the authorities may have actually been detrimental to the accused student.

In April of 2011, the Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights issued a letter providing guidelines for institutions to follow in enforcing Title IX regulations involving sexual harassment and sexual violence. The statistic on sexual violence are that “1 in 5 women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault in college” while 6.1% of males are victims of similar sexual violence (p. 2).  The letter set out specific guidelines that institutions should follow in assessing their policies and procedures surrounding sexual harassment and assault.  The letter describes a grievance procedure that institutions should implement to handle these cases and provides that institutions are allowed to use disciplinary procedures in place of a grievance procedure for cases of sexual violence (p.8).  The letter argues that the standard to prove guilt used in Title IX grievances be “the preponderance of evidence” (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred) (p. 11).  OCR objects to the “clear and convincing” language (i.e., it is highly probable or reasonably certain that sexual harassment or violence occurred) (p. 11).  I would argue that the “preponderance” standard should be applied where sexual harassment is at issue.  However, I would recommend that in cases of sexual violence that the institution’s disciplinary procedures be followed judiciously and the “clear and convincing” standard be applied as proof of guilt.   Using this standard will achieve balance of a fundamentally fair and just process that protects the rights of both the victim and the accused.

Sexual assaults involve violations of laws and are considered criminal acts.  I realize there is a desire to protect victims when acquaintance rape involves students on college campuses.  The result is that, many times, there is a tendency to handle these cases within the institution because either the victim requests confidentiality or the institution bases its decision on the concepts of in loco parentis.As a result no criminal charges are filed.   Are we enablers when we insulate students from responsibility for their actions?  Many of these cases involve excessive alcohol consumption. Are we enabling excessive alcohol consumption by insulating college students from criminal prosecution for sexual assault?  Is the college or university an enclave where the community is a protected environment for experimentation? Is the extension of this rationale what resulted in Penn State’s failure to report alleged sexual abuse to civil authorities?  The jury is still out on that question, but perhaps we need to rethink policies were we are handling criminal activity internally instead of reporting it to appropriate authorities. This may be legal but is it fundamentally fair, just and educationally sound?  Making distinctions between what is legal and what is fundamentally fair and just may be helpful in leading to educationally sound policy and practice.

From One Dupont Circle: Quarterly Update

From One Dupont Circle: Quarterly Update

Gregory Roberts
ACPA Executive Director

Welcome to Spring 2012!  It is difficult to believe that we are already well into the year 2012.  This is a milestone year for the Association, as we will honor our profession with 88 years of service from ACPA.  What a contribution to student affairs and higher education!  If you would be interested in planning the 90th Anniversary Celebration of ACPA in Indianapolis, please share your information with me.

Since my last column there hasn’t been much happening on the national scene as Congress was in recess for much of that time.  The tax issues still remain on the docket and ultimately, the impact on states and public higher education has yet to be seen.

I am pleased to announce several significant discussions that are taking place with international colleagues in Canada, Kenya, Barbados and Qatar as a result of recent visits and discussions with student affairs educators in these countries.   The field of student affairs is growing and the value added components to a holistic education is being recognized world-wide.  We must continue to remain open to differences and new ways of enhancing student learning across multiple venues and cultures.  The key word for the future is “global”.  With access to technology, our country is an influential member of our growing interconnected world.

I had the honor of representing ACPA at a Gulf Conference in Doha, Qatar at Education City and found the reception to be outstanding.   We have several members working at the Qatar Foundation and providing guidance to the education system as related to student affairs/services.  There is tremendous interest in advancing the total educational experience of students, and ACPA is pleased to provide our support and assistance as this initiative develops.  Many thanks to Denny Roberts and his staff for a job well done.

Were you one of the many who participated with our MeetUps, or our open discussions with Heidi Levine and myself, involved in outreach with past ACPA presidents, state presidents, Foundation Board members, and  faculty?  If not, we invite you to watch for additional opportunities.  We want to hear directly from you about your involvement with the Association.   The initial feedback from these conversations was the foundation of two recent meetings of the Governing Board as we began the strategic planning process for the next “cycle” – 2013-2018.

Small working groups are taking the feedback and working to further develop strategic priorities for the Association that will be the basis of our strategic plans. Watch for ongoing information in the Presidents blog and in eCommunity each week.

Recent outcomes of the many volunteer hours from our members include:

  • Approved Credentialing Program
  • Institutional Leadership Councils
  • International Advisory Council
  • Generativity Revisited Resource for Grad Prep Programs
  • Humanitarian Award to Muhammad Ali

You can read all the details of the list of activities on the Web site in our weekly eCommunity. By the time you read this, I hope to have met you during the ACPA Convention in Louisville!

Until next time,