Student affairs is a critical component of the higher education experience. The work done by student affairs professionals helps students begin a lifetime journey of growth and self-exploration.
Student learning doesn’t only happen in a classroom. Opportunities for teaching and development exist everywhere on campus, and it is the responsibility of student affairs professionals to seize these moments and promote positive interactions. Encouraging an understanding of and respect for diversity, believing in the worth of individuals, and supporting students in their development are just some of the core concepts of the student affairs profession. NASPA understands the importance of student affairs work and provides opportunities for our members to continue to expand their knowledge and skills.
To understand the field of student affairs and the role of the profession in promoting student learning and development, it is important to examine the historical roots of the field - once known as student personnel administration and now referred to as student affairs - and reflect on the mutual influence exercised between institutions of higher education and the broader society. The documents included here provide an excellent reading list for those interested in tracing the development of the student affairs profession and seeking to identify both foundational themes that have stood the test of time (for example, the value placed on developing the whole student articulated in the 1937 Student Personnel Point of View) as well as more recent professional developments that reflect emergent priorities (e.g., the 2015 ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators). The foundational and guiding documents compiled on this webpage do not simply serve to remind us of our history; they are also intended to be living documents that can be used in our current institutions and associations to teach the principles and values of the student affairs profession.
Here are a few suggestions for incorporating these documents into individual and organizational professional development efforts: