"Student Affairs is committed to the education and development of the student as a whole person. In accordance with the college’s academic mission, Student Affairs challenges and supports students as they develop the skills and competencies necessary for effective leadership, the pursuit of life-long learning and global citizenship."
Student Affairs Guiding Principles
Education of Students
All of our actions in the division should be processed through the lens of a fundamental educational mission, so that our objective is to help students develop as whole persons. This means, for example, that while we may discipline students for violating college policy, we set sanctions that have the objective of helping them learn how to do better.
Emphasis on Compassion
Our guiding principle in treating students as whole persons is to maintain fundamental respect for the student's situation, whatever it may be. Such an approach requires a disposition of compassion, whereby we try to put ourselves in the student's shoes and respond in a caring way.
Respect for Each Other
To provide an education to students we have to recognize our own position as role models for them. As such, we should place a priority on mutual respect for one another as our fundamental principle in working together as colleagues. Such an approach provides a strong role model for students and also improves our own working environment.
Set High Standards for Students
Part of providing a role model involves setting standards for students that convey consistently high expectations. So we need to think about the messages we are sending regarding expectations. For example, our discipline system should be set up in such a way as to insist on high expectations while maintaining our posture of compassion. Survey data showing students' perceptions of our system as being lax should give us concern because of our need to maintain high standards.
An educational mission that foregrounds compassion and role modeling must necessarily involve a lot of face time with actual students, through one-on-one meetings and through other contexts where we can show them our priorities. Such an approach is expensive because of the inherently time-consuming nature of such interactions.
Counseling and Mentoring
The approach should naturally foreground counseling contexts and situations that favor mentoring. Pursuing a peer mentoring programs for example fits very well with our priorities as long as we take care to train the mentors to model the priorities we value. But we need also to provide a strong professional counseling and mentoring environment.