Introducing Current Philosophical Trends in Higher Education Student Affairs

Introducing Current Philosophical Trends in Higher Education Student Affairs

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Patton and Harper (2009) ask why student affairs must always be either theoretical or practical in nature. Why must administrators always have to pick and choose between practice and theory? With such a vast array of theories to contemplate regarding student affairs in higher education, it is difficult to decipher whether to choose between theory and practice. When a specific theory is over-utilized more than others, tensions build and concerns go unresolved to merely build more issues (Manning, Kinzie, & Schuh, 2013). Manning et al (2013) goes on to state that the one size fits all approach does not satisfy today’s higher education industry. Differentiating theory and practice is a necessary convention due to the multiple types of demographics in today’s student population including differing organizational models, emphasis on degree offerings, and institutional types. The purpose of this paper is to introduce current philosophical trends in higher education student affairs.
Educational Philosophy for Student Affairs Practices
Drawing from substantial national survey data, as well as numerous focus groups, Levine and Dean (2012) place global and national events in the context of contemporary students’ lives and how these events have shaped students’ views and preferences. Focusing on environmental theory, background of individuals and the specific experiences within generations are depicted as being very influential in substantiating the needs for student affairs in higher education. Also drawing on surveys of senior student affairs officers, results analyzed and delineated substantial results. Quite notably, results indicating a marked increase in the rationale of why students felt they benefited from going to college ...


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...rnal of College Student Development, 53(2), 177–191.

O’Keeffe, P. (2013). A sense of belonging: Improving student retention. College Student Journal, 47(4), 605–613.
Patton, L., & Harper, S. (2009). Using reflection to reframe theory to practice in student affairs. In G. McClellan & J. Stringer (Eds.), The Handbook of Student Affairs Administration (3 ed., pp. 147 - 161). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Ribera, T., Fernandez, S., & Gray, M. (2012). Assessment matters: Considering the scholarship of teaching and learning in student affairs. About Campus, 16(6), 25–28. doi:10.1002/abc.20084

Schwartzman, R. (2013). Are students customers? The metaphoric mismatch between management and education. Education, 116(2), 215 – 222.

Stebleton, M., & Aleixo, M. (2011). Reflecting On the Past; Shaping the Future of Student Affairs. Journal of Student Affairs, 11(2), 6 – 26.

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