About Student Affairs

Student affairs is a critical aspect 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 just happen in a classroom. Opportunities for teaching and development exist everywhere and at all times on campus and it’s our job to seize these moments. And as student affairs professionals our job is to foster and promote these interactions. Encouraging an understanding and respect for diversity, a belief the worth of individuals, and supporting our students in their needs are just some of the core concepts of the profession.

At NASPA, we understand the importance of this work and provide opportunities for our members to continue to expand their knowledge and skills.

Seminal Documents

  • Task Force on the Future of Student Affairs, 2010
    In this report, the Task Force on the Future of Student Affairs considers current trends that will have a dramatic impact on higher education in the United States for the foreseeable future and outlines the implications of those trends for student affairs. We begin with a look backward at our past, seeking lessons from our foundations to assist us in moving forward. Click here to download.

    Download the Report
    Download the Appendix
  • Learning Reconsidered, 2004
    Learning Reconsidered argues for the integration of all of higher education's resources in the education and preparation of the whole student. The publication re-examines widely accepted ideas about conventional teaching and learning and questions whether current organizational patterns in higher education support student learning and development in today's environment. This landmark publication builds upon historical student affairs statements that focus on student affairs as a profession and is a critical resource for every student affairs professional. Co-sponsored by ACPA - College Student Educators International.

    Purchase from the Bookstore
    PDF Download
  • Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for Learning, 1998
    This report outlines 10 principles about learning and how to strengthen it. Each principle is illustrated by a set of exemplary cooperative practices between student and academic affairs in order to promote higher student achievement.

    Download the Report
  • Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs, 1998
    A joint effort between NASPA and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), this document outlines seven principles of good practice for student affairs, along with inventories designed to offer student affairs educators another tool to use in the creation of positive learning environments for students.

    Download the Report
  • Reasonable Expectations, 1995
    This paper discusses what institutions and students can reasonably expect from one another to enhance learning productivity. Expectations are divided into five areas. For each of these areas, a pair of complementary propositions is presented expressing the reciprocal expectations of institutions and students followed by questions to help determine whether these expectations are being met.

    Download the Report
  • A Perspective On Student Affairs, 1987
    Written in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1937 Student Personnel Point of View, this statement is intended to promote a greater understanding of student affairs among leaders in higher education.

    Download the Report
  • The Student Personnel Point of View, 1949
    A revision of the 1937 report that presents a new formulation of the philosophical basis for student personnel work and details the elements in a comprehensive institutional program.

    Download the Report
  • The Student Personnel Point of View, 1937
    Published after a two-day conference of the American Council on Education, this landmark report clarifies the field of student personnel work and the relationship of student personnel work to other administrative and instructional functions.

    Download the Report

Our Professional Values

We believe that the student affairs profession should be held to the highest standards possible. Without these high standards the people who matter the most, our students, will suffer. To that end, NASPA has worked tirelessly to encourage higher education institutions and student affairs professionals to not just accept, but embrace the concepts outlined in the documents below.

CAS Statement of Shared Ethical Principles

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is a collection of over 35 associations representing a wide range of higher education activities. The CAS Statement of Shared Ethical Principles, released in 2006, represents an attempt to better articulate the shared principles of its member organizations.

Standards of Professional Practice

Endorsed in 1990 by the NASPA Board of Directors, the Standards of Professional Practice are an agreed upon set of ethical and professional standards. We hope that our members use these standards in developing their own codes and guides them daily as they continue their work.

  • Professional Services
  • Agreement with Institutional Mission and Goals
  • Management of Institutional Resources
  • Employment Relationship
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Legal Authority
  • Equal Consideration and Treatment of Others
  • Student Behavior
  • Integrity of Information and Research
  • Confidentiality
  • Research Involving Human Subjects
  • Representation of Professional Competence
  • Selection and Promotion Practices
  • References
  • Job Definitions and Performance Evaluation
  • Campus Community
  • Professional Development
  • Assessment

Professional Competencies

In August 2015, the NASPA Board of Directors and the ACPA Governing Board approved the Professional Competencies for Student Affairs Educators in order to assist in designing professional development opportunities with more focused outcomes and curriculum. This is an update to the 2010 document which helped to define a set of competencies so that professionals will be better able to determine which opportunities are best suited to fit their development needs.

This set of Professional Competency Areas is intended to define the broad professional knowledge, skills, and, in some cases, attitudes expected of student affairs professionals. It’s expected that as a student affairs professional you have the ability to meet the basic outcomes of each area, regardless of how you entered the profession.

Additionally, if student affairs professionals desire to grow in a particular competency area, they can examine expected learning and skills in the intermediate and advanced levels. In the next week, each new competency area will have its own page outlining the foundational, intermediate, and advanced competencies on NASPA's website. In the meantime, please download the PDF document that is linked above.

The ACPA and NASPA Professional Competencies Rubrics Task Force has revised the rubric document to complement the update to the professional Competencies.  The revised rubric document is available for review here.

Voices of Student Affairs

What is Voices of Student Affairs?

The "Voices of Student Affairs" series will rotate on the NASPA website reflecting student affairs professionals sharing their voice on why student affairs is the profession for them. From graduate students to new professionals, faculty members to senior student affairs officers, all these individuals are united with one common theme, a passion for our profession and the institutions and students we serve. We invite you to submit your voice of student affairs and answer our rotating questions. Please see below for the current question to which we are requesting answers.

Current Question: Why did you choose a career in Student Affairs?