Maximize Your Student Affairs Operation

In an era of limited resources, student affairs divisions are seeking creative, credible, and affordable means to evaluate their functions, effectively tell their story, and strengthen student services. Engaging student affairs staff in a guided self-assessment can be a powerful tool in showcasing strengths, identifying areas for enhancement, and guiding strategic planning. Through the P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E.S. self-assessment, NASPA Advisory Services can assist your division in doing just this.
Learn how Stonehill College used P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E.S on their campus in “Maximize Your Student Affairs Operation: Organizational Reviews Assess Strengths, Opportunities for Functional Areas” by Eric Grospitch, Frank Sanchez, and Joseph DeSanto Jones from the latest edition of Leadership Exchange. 

“Transitions are often difficult for indi­viduals and organizations. Student affairs leaders know the importance of their work, but how are the complexi­ties of this work conveyed to a new president and academic colleagues? How do senior-level student affairs professionals transi­tion into the vice president for student affairs (VPSA) role and get up to speed with as little disruption or inter­nal politics as possible? How do long-serving VPSAs refresh and rejuvenate the ongoing work of their divi­sions? In each case, organizational reviews can help provide answers.

Types of Reviews

When approaching organizational reviews, it is impossible to create a one-size-fits-all model as campuses are so diverse. Institutions and student affairs divisions range in mission, history, resources, and portfolios, and are subject to a host of internal and external pressures. A deep dive into either the entire division or individual program and service areas could be helpful for any student affairs leader, but where do they start? There are four common types of reviews:

  • Functional review. Program and service area reviews are based on standards. The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is an excellent example of self-assessments for individual program and service areas meeting established standards. CAS has developed 44 sets of functional area standards for higher education programs and services.
  • Acquaintance review. Leaders may “phone a friend”—a generally informal approach of peer-to-peer support from student affairs colleagues.
  • Consultation review. Professional consultants may include both retired and current senior-level student affairs professionals.
  • Professional association review. Program reviews occur through respective functional area associations such as the Association for College and University Housing Officers, NODA—Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education, and the American College Health Association.”

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