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AVP: Leading from the Unique Role of Associate/Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

Supporting the Profession Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs AVP or "Number Two" Mid-Level
December 2, 2015 Amy Hecht Dr. Jason Pina

In today’s higher education environment, the associate/assistant vice president for student affairs (AVP) position is garnering heightened attention as student affairs is called upon to respond to a growing number of complex challenges. The AVP role has become increasingly common in student affairs organizations and affords an opportunity to influence both the division and the greater institution in profound ways.all

AVP: Leading from the Unique Role of Associate/Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs provides a wealth of leadership and management strategies for new and veteran AVPs, as well as midlevel managers considering a transition to an AVP position. Recognizing that AVP responsibilities can vary widely based on institution type, the book begins with a set of core competencies relevant across all types of AVP roles and structures. The authors present an integrative picture of several fundamental proficiencies that are critical to an AVP’s success in the first year and beyond, including:

  • Preparing for and negotiating during the interview process
  • Navigating the first 90 days
  • Managing up, down, and across the organization
  • Balancing responsibilities with strategic objectives
  • Redefining professional development
  • Building relationships and navigating politics
  • Managing human and fiscal resources
  • Developing work–life integration

This informative text also offers specific guidance for AVPs who have served in the role for a number of years. Chapters examine ways to maximize the position, opportunities and challenges inherent in both single- and multiple-AVP structures, and how to take the journey from an AVP position to a vice presidency. Worksheets and assessments are included to help readers in their professional journeys.

The AVP position is one of the most significant and challenging roles in student affairs. To be optimally effective, AVPs must understand the nuances of the job and commit to the pursuit of excellence within the role. AVP is an essential resource that provides senior-level student affairs leaders with a strong foundation of strategies and information to build on for sustained success.

Praise for AVP: Leading from the Unique Role of Associate/Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

“I wish this book was available earlier in my tenure as an AVP. It contains invaluable information and is a must-read for current and future AVPs!” —ART MUNIN, Assistant Vice President, Illinois State University

“Outstanding AVP performance is inextricably linked to the vice president for student affairs’ success in connecting the divisional vision, mission, and goals to those of the institution. Long overlooked in the literature, this timely discourse on AVPs is masterfully arranged by Hecht and Pina and professionally told through the eyes of those who have set the bar for high-level performance in the position. While each AVP role is uniquely situated to its respective institution and division, the competencies required of those serving in these positions are demonstrable and learnable. AVP provides the requisite information needed for immediate and sustained success for those serving in senior student affairs officer leadership roles.” —DANIEL J. PUGH SR., Vice President for Student Affairs, Texas A&M University

“In a time when the AVP role is as critical to campus life as the vice president role, this essential handbook helps to better define the AVP position and provides sage advice to guide current and aspiring AVPs through the many nuances of the job. Included are helpful worksheets, like the AVP Productivity Planner and AVP Self-Assessment, to assist in day-to-day and long-term planning. I wish I had this book when I started!” —GIGI SECUBAN, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

“This compendium is jam-packed with critically important and practical advice and real-life narratives that demystify what it takes to succeed and thrive in the AVP role. Relying on relevant research, interviews with AVPs and senior student affairs officers, and a diverse and experienced cadre of contributing authors, this book is a must-read for aspiring AVPs, those already in the role, and sitting vice presidents who take seriously their responsibility to mentor, advocate, and grow professionals whose work in colleges and universities has profound and lasting impact, both on their institutions and the students they serve.” —KAREN WARREN COLEMAN, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services, The University of Chicago

“Hecht and Pina have done an incredible job of curating some of the most authoritative voices on the sometimes ambiguous role of AVP. The inclusion of a philosophical orientation to the work, along with practical skills and strategies for success to help maximize the role, create an edition that adds to the limited literature related to this role in our profession. This manuscript is a must-have for any sitting or aspiring AVP.” —T.W. CAUTHEN III, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, The University of Georgia

“Hecht and Pina have enlisted a cast of impressive practitioners to pen this critical resource. The AVP role is uniquely positioned to influence change, encourage others, and facilitate organizational success.  This book provides pragmatic ideas and strategies aimed at helping aspiring and current AVPs move from the murky middle to a place of empowerment and influence. The authors cover all the important elements—the interview process, transitioning to the role of AVP, learning your VPSA, reframing politics, and work–life integration. And don’t put the book down after reading the last chapter—the appendices provide great tools for everyday practice.” —BRANDI HEPHNER LABANC, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, The University of Mississippi

“As a vice president for student affairs, I continually rely on my AVPs for crucial leadership within my division and across my campus. I am so grateful for this new NASPA publication that blends practical resources with personal perspectives and lessons learned to help seasoned, new, and aspiring AVPs navigate a rapidly changing world.” —PENNY RUE, Vice President for Campus Life, Wake Forest University

"This book fills a huge void in the student affairs administrative leadership literature. With AVPs ascending to their roles from different areas of student affairs and higher education, this timely publication provides a common text/framework for transitioning and growing into the AVP role. The publication explores AVP-specific competencies and leadership-based issues and questions that are critical for achieving success as an AVP. The book also does a great job of examining longevity in the role and provides invaluable insights for consideration when making the transition from AVP to VPSA." —SALVADOR MENA, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Rutgers University–New Brunswick


Hardcover| 2016 | 248 pages

ISBN: 978-0-931654-84-8

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