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EAD 874: Student Affairs in Collegiate Settings
Fall 2001

Dr. Kristen Renn
428 Erickson Hall
Office Hours:
Tuesday 12:30-3:30 pm
or by appointment


This course serves as the first in a sequence of two intended to introduce Student Affairs master's students to the profession of student affairs in postsecondary education in the United States. It introduces students to the foundational philosophies of the profession, examines the integration of student affairs functions and administrators in higher education, explores the variety of roles student affairs professionals play on college campuses, and seeks to develop an understanding of institutional cultures and the professional's role within those cultures. The course also introduces students to the function of a scholar in the practice of student affairs. Readings, class materials, and assignments are designed to help future student affairs administrators understand the ways that college environments affect the educational experience and personal development of diverse student populations. Course assignments are designed to introduce students to essential research and communication skills (oral, written, electronic) for successful student affairs practice. Student affairs administrators will serve as guest speakers, introducing their functional areas and discussing the nature of the issues confronting them as practitioners.


Barr, M. J., Desler, M. K., & Associates. (2000). The handbook of student affairs administration (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Blimling, G. S., Whitt, E. J., & Associates. (1999). Good practice in student affairs: Principles to foster student learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Coursepack, available at the first class for you to copy, readings indicated with an asterisk in syllabus. Note also that many of these readings are available in full-text online and the syllabus indicates that you are expected to locate and print your own copy.


Amey, M. J., Reesor, L. W. (Eds.). (1998). Beginning your journey: A guide for new professionals in student affairs. Washington, DC: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. [available directly from NASPA for $20/members or $35/nonmembers; see the NASPA website, under "publications" for information]


Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). 2001. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. [known generally as "the APA manual," this is a brand new edition and includes how to cite electronic sources]


If you do not already have ready access to the Chronicle of Higher Education, you may want to consider getting your own subscription. If you already subscribe but do not receive the daily electronic news updates, you may want to activate this service now (it is free to Chronicle subscribers; go to the website to get instructions on how to get the daily news service).

The Chronicle maintains an excellent website that is free whether or not you subscribe to their newspaper. Some of its links are restricted to Chronicle subscribers, but most are not.


www.apastyle.org/index.html (APA style manual home page)
http://www.acenet.edu (American Council on Education)
www.naspa.org (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators)
www.acpa.nche.edu (Association of College Personnel Administrators)
www.chronicle.com (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
www.aahe.org (American Association for Higher Education)
www.ashe.missouri.edu (Association for the Study of Higher Education)
www.aera.net/divisions/j (Division J: Postsecondary Education of the American Educational Research Association)
www.Studentaffairs.com (a private site with excellent links, including instructions to sign up for listservs related to student affairs)
www.Higher-Ed.org (a private higher ed resource site; links to many useful and interesting higher ed sites)


  • Readings and topical assignments

You should prepare at least three comments or questions on each assigned reading (i.e. three per article, chapter, etc). These questions and comments will form the basis for class discussions. They can be typed or handwritten. Periodically I will assign an exercise or other preparation to be done prior to the next class session. These assignments will form the basis of class discussion and group work. Because readings and topical assignments are critical to active class participation, your grade in this area will be reflected in your participation grade.

  • Active participation in class discussions (20%)

Active participation requires attendance, preparation (through readings and topical assignments), and willingness to contribute to discussions in a variety of group configurations (pairs, small groups, entire class, etc.). Absence from any session will result in a deduction in your grade in this area, at a rate of 2 percentage points for any session missed in whole and 1 point for any session missed in part.

  • Student Affairs Program Diversity Training, Friday, 9/14, 9 am - 4 pm (10%)

This training is a mandatory part of your academic program and attendance is required. Make arrangements with your assistantship or other employment to be available from 9 am to 4 pm on this day. Following the training, you will write a 5-page paper reflecting on what you learned during the day (paper grade is included with other papers, see below).
Note: Participation in this program is ungraded (i.e. treated on a credit/no credit basis).

  • Professional association presentation (5%)

In class you will sign up to present the mission, history, and activities of a professional association in higher education/student affairs. Your assistantship supervisor or another mentor may be able to suggest an association that is of particular interest to professionals in your field. Bring a one-page handout for classmates that includes highlights of the association's mission and activities, the association's website address, and information on how to join. You will give an informal oral presentation in class about your chosen organization. This presentation should be similar in format to a presentation you might be called on to make at a departmental or area staff meeting. This assignment is due on 12/5.

  • Group project (25%)

In your year-long base groups, you will be assigned an institutional type from which you are to create a philosophy, mission, and organizational schema for the provision of academic and student affairs services at a fictional institution. You will present your project in oral form to the class on 11/28, when you will also submit a written document to me. The group will receive a single grade for the project. Your work in the group forms the experiential basis from which you will write Paper III, reflections on groups and group work

  • Three 5-page papers (10% each = 30%)

- Paper I: your reaction to diversity training: Due in class 9/19.
- Paper II: synthesis of three research articles on topic of your choice: Due in class 10/17.
- Paper III: reflections on groups & group work (based on group project): Due in class 12/5.

  • Three short essays, in memo form (1-2 pages each) (10%)

-Memo I: Self and course objectives: Due in class 9/5.
-Memo II: Midsemester self and course evaluation: Due in class 10/3.
-Memo III: End of semester self and course evaluation: Due in my office by noon on 12/12.
Note: These memos are ungraded (i.e. treated on a credit/no credit basis).

In class, you will receive more explicit instructions for completing these assignments. Please ask if you have questions regarding how you will be evaluated in this course.

All papers should be double-spaced in 12-point font (times or palatino) with margins of 1-1.25 inches.

All citations and reference lists should conform to the style manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition).

Note on absences, late assignments, and re-writes:

Class attendance is required and is included in the class participation grade. Nevertheless, students may occasionally need to absent themselves from class meetings for reasons of illness, family, or work. In fairness to students who attend and participate in every class session, an absence for any reason will result in a reduction in the absent student's class participation grade. This reduction is on the order of 2 points (of total for all assignments) per class missed. For example, if you miss one session but are otherwise present on time and actively contributing, you would receive 23 of 25 possible points for participation (out of the 100 total points for the course). For the purposes of this policy, being late to class or leaving early for any reason constitutes partial absence and will result in a 1 point reduction in accumulated points toward your final grade.

Whenever it is possible, advance notice of absences is appreciated. An email message or phone call to someone who will be in class (instructor or student) is generally adequate to keep us from worrying about you. If you were unable to contact someone prior to the missed class, please contact me as soon as possible afterwards to learn of any assignments, announcements, etc.

Absence from class to observe a religious holiday, to serve jury duty, or to participate in required military service are exceptions to the above policy. If you anticipate being absent for any of these reasons, please make arrangements with me in advance and there will be no deduction in your grade.

All assignments are expected at the beginning of the session noted on the syllabus. Unless prior arrangements have been made with me, late submissions will not be accepted and will result in a grade of 0 for that assignment. Grades for late submissions that are accepted may be reduced.

You may revise and submit any individual assignment (i.e. excluding the group project) for re-grading. You will receive the higher of the two grades for that assignment.

Evaluation of assignments:

Assignments earning an "A" grade will be of excellent quality, reflecting critical thinking, creativity, and mastery of course material. They will be well organized and clear. They will be free of errors in syntax, grammar, and APA format. An "A-" grade might result from minor deductions in any of these areas.

Assignments earning a "B" grade will be of good quality, reflecting a solid grasp of the course material and clear, well-organized writing style. They might contain some errors in syntax, grammar, or APA format, but will not be seriously flawed. A "B-" grade might result from more significant reductions in these areas.

Assignments earning a "C" grade will be of acceptable quality, reflecting familiarity with course material. They might contain weaknesses in organization and errors in syntax, grammar, or APA format. A "C-" grade might result from more severe weaknesses.

Assignments earning below a "C-" are unacceptable and will receive no credit.

Course grades:

The grading system at MSU is on a four-point scale, with course grades reported in half points (4.0, 3.5, 3.0, 2.5, etc.). Any grade below a 3.0 is a sign of serious problems for continued graduate work and merits discussion with me and/or your academic advisor. For the purposes of assigning a final grade, the following table applies:

94-100 points = 4.0
88-93 points = 3.5
81-87 points = 3.0
74-80 points = 2.5
73 or fewer points = 0 (no credit for course)

A note for students with disabilities:

If you require any accommodation or services, please inform me or contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (www.msu.edu/unit/rcpd), 120 Bessey, 353-9642.

Additional MSU resources:

- The Graduate School (www.msu.edu/user/gradschl.), 118 Linton, 355-0301
- Learning Resources Center (www.msu.edu/unit/lrc), 209J Bessey, 355-2363
- Ombuds' Office (www.msu.edu/unit/ombud), 129 North Kedzie, 353-8830
- Writing Center (http://writing.msu.edu), 300 Bessey, 432-3610

Course Schedule:

August 29

Overview of course, introduction to student affairs administration

September 5  (Disputed) Goals, purposes, & environment(s) of postsecondary education
Library orientation
**NOTE: Meet at library lobby at 12:40 today**

Readings for today:

- Barr, et al: chapters 2, 4, 5, 6
-* Gibbs, A. Changing Government Roles Relative to Higher Education [locate at http://www.acpa.nche.edu/seniorscholars/trends/trends9.htm]

Assignment due: Memo I, self and course goals

September 12 Historical & philosophical contexts of student affairs administration

Introduction to using APA format

Discussion of Academic Honesty

Readings for today:

- Barr, et al: chapters 1, 3

- Good practice: preface and chapter 1

- *Nidiffer, J. (2001). Advocates on campus: Deans of women create a new profession. In J. Nidiffer & C. T. Bashaw (Eds.), Women administrators in higher education: Historical and contemporary perspectives, pp. 135-156. Albany: SUNY Press.

- *Laird, E. (2001, July 31). Internet plagiarism: We all pay the price. Chronicle of Higher Education, B5. [locate online, read, and bring a copy]

- *MSU policy on academic honesty [locate, read, and bring a copy]

September 14 Student Affairs Program Diversity Training, 9 am to 4 pm

- location TBA

September 19 Contexts, continued and The Student Learning Imperative

Readings for today:

- Good practice: chapter 2

- *ACPA. "Student personnel point of view" (1937-1949)

- *Mueller, K. H. (1961). College personnel work as a profession. Reprint from Student personnel work in higher education, Houghton Mifflin

- *ACPA. "The Student Learning Imperative" [locate on ACPA website under "publications"]

-* Komives, S. R. The changing nature of work in higher education [locate at http://www.acpa.nche.edu/seniorscholars/trends/trends6.htm]

Assignment due: Paper I, reflections on diversity training

September 26 The educational environment of "involving" colleges

Readings for today:

-Good practice, chapter 3, 4

*Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25

* Kuh, G. D. , et al. (1991). How involving colleges promote student learning and development. Excerpts from Involving colleges , Jossey-Bass.

October 3 Creating academic & student affairs partnerships

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapter 23

- Good practice, chapter 7

- *Blake, E. S. (1979). Classroom and context: An educational dialectic. Reprint from Academe, September 1979.

Assignment due: Memo II, mid-semester self and course evaluation

October 10  Organizations & administrative decision making

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapters 7, 8, 10

- Amey, M. J. (1998). Unwritten rules: Organizational and political realities of the Job. In M. J. Amey & L. M. Reesor (Eds.) Beginning your journey: A guide for new professionals in student affairs, pp. 5-20. Washington, DC: NASPA. [from optional text; if you decided not to purchase the book, please make arrangements to have a copy of the chapter]

Bring to class: an example of an administrative decision in which you were involved or which affected you

October 17 Assessment, planning, and research in student affairs

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
- Good practice, chapter 5

Assignment due: Paper II, synthesis of research articles

October 24 Fiscal & legal issues; Dr. Pat Enos joins us to discuss practica

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapters 18, 19

- Good practice, chapter 6

October 31 Ethics, conflict, & crisis

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapters 20, 21, 22, 24

-*ACPA Statement of Ethical Principles and Standards [locate on ACPA website]

-*NASPA Standards of Professional Practice [locate on NASPA website]

Bring to class: an example of an ethical issue you anticipate facing as a professsional

November 7 Fostering multicultural campus communities

Readings for today:

- Good practice, chapter 8

- *Gardner, J. W. (1989). Building community. Reprinted from Kettering Review, Fall 1989

-* Tatum, B. D., Calhoun, W. R., Brown, S. C., & Ayvazian, A. (200)). Implementation strategies for creating an environment of achievement. Liberal Education, 86 (2), 18-25. [locate full text online via ProQuest, etc]

-*Hurtado, S., Milem, J. F., Clayton-Pederson, A. R., Allen, W. R. (1998). Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity: Educational policy and practice. Review of Higher Education, 21 (3), 279-302. [look up from RHE website: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/rhe/]

-*Trosset, C. (1998). Obstacles to open discussion and critical thinking: The Grinnell College study. Change, Septembe/October, 44-49.

Assignment: participate in at least one activity on campus that causes you to be outside your own cultural communities; be prepared to discuss this activity and your reaction to it in class

November 14 NO CLASS - KR at ASHE Meeting


November 28 Putting it together; Group project presentations

Readings for today:

- Good practice, chapter 9

Assignment due: Group project presentations

December 5 Professional development; the future of student affairs

Readings for today:

- Barr, chapter 26, 28, 12

- *Barr, M. J. (1990). Making the transition to a professional role. Reprinted from The new professional: A resource guide for new student affairs professionals and their supervisors, NASPA.

- Reesor, L. M. (1998). Making professional connections. In M. J. Amey & L. M. Reesor (Eds), Beginning your journey: A guide for new professionals in student affairs, pp. 53-66. Washington, DC: NASPA. [from optional text; if you decided not to purchase the book, please make arrangements to have a copy of the chapter]
Assignment due: Paper III: reflections on group & group process


Assignment due: Memo III due in my office by noon
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