Increasing sense of belonging through meaningful involvement
Belongingness, the feeling of connectedness and the experience of mattering, is not limited to the students we serve. Student affairs professionals continuously need to satisfy their own sense of belonging as circumstances change. This post will introduce you to a new student leadership program that promotes sense of belonging and illustrate my own journey for belonging in the profession.
NASPA Priorities for HEA Reauthorization
While there is much to celebrate in our national landscape of colleges and universities, years of state disinvestment and the diminishing purchasing power of federal grant programs have resulted in noticeable signs of wear. Our federal policy has failed to keep up with today’s more diverse student body, including many adults shouldering responsibility for not only their own education, but also that of their children, resulting in a system of financial aid and regulations that are ill-suited to meeting the needs of either today’s students or the American taxpayer. The reauthorization of Higher Education Act (HEA) presents an opportunity to correct that course and fulfill both the promise and the responsibility of the federal government to today’s students. In this post, NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds provides background on HEA and identifies priorities for NASPA in reauthorization.
Threats to the One-person, One-vote Principle: Gerrymandering & the 2020 US Census
Though not articulated until the 1960s, the one-person, one-vote principle is considered foundational to our representative democracy, echoing in the minds of many the desire of the founding fathers to create a nation “of the people, by the people, for the people”. With the 2020 Census looming, and subsequent mandatory redistricting in all states with more than one congressional district, concerns around ensuring both a complete and accurate census and fair and balanced electoral districts are rising. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds explains the relationship between the decennial census and the redistricting process and highlight current threats to ensuring fair representation for everyone in the United States.
The Well-Balanced Nudge: How to Impact Behavior without Limiting Choice
From slicing apples to sending texts, education professionals have drawn from a growing suite of behavioral insights to design interventions that positively influence student behavior. Nudging can take on a variety of forms that range in strength and scale, but with such an adaptable concept comes the need to prevent confusion or unintentional misuse in practice. While behavioral interventions are rightfully discussed for their potential to achieve large-scale change at low costs, it’s also worth underscoring the importance of implementing nudges with fidelity. Ethical nudges should be designed with the intention of benefitting those being nudged, and they should never be misleading, coercive, or restrictive. As illustrated in a satirical cartoon from the Behavioral Scientist magazine, a “gentle tap of good sense” falls neatly in the center of the nudge continuum, whereas “feather of statistical insignificance” and “bat of paternalistic overreach” lie on opposite ends. In this post, NASPA's Research and Policy Associate Alexa Wesley offers a few suggestions for ways student affairs professionals can strike the right balance on the nudging scale.
When Hashtags Follow Gun Violence
The NASPA Enough is Enough Campaign Against Gun Violence was created 10 years ago after the late Dr. Zenobia Lawrence Hikes, then Vice President of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech, gave the closing address to the NASPA Annual Conference in Boston in 2008. Her speech called on student affairs practitioners to heed this warning and, with a fierce urgency, stem the tide of this growing societal violence. Once again, we must renew our commitment and support to our future students whom are acting with a fierce urgency and demanding changes in our laws. As students around the country prepare to join with the peers for March For Our Lives events, Dr. Scott Peska, reflects on the last 10 years and offers suggestions for moving beyond hashtags to support our current and future students.
3 Things SA Pros Should Know About “Smart” Nudging
How can student affairs professionals leverage their resources and knowledge of human behavior to advance student success at scale while maintaining personalized connections with students? With access to more data and technology than ever before, campuses are implementing digital nudging interventions that are designed to fit intuitively with a student’s lifestyle. Through the combination of behavioral science and data analytics, these “smart” nudges go beyond reminders about assignments and deadlines. Similar to how companies like Netflix predict TV shows or movies that “you might also like” based on consumer data and algorithms, institutions can improve the quality of the student experience through personalized nudges delivered electronically and informed by student data or real-time responses. In this post RPI Research and Policy Associate Alexa Wesley discusses how smart nudges can provide students with guidance and messages of encouragement relevant to their specific concerns and circumstances.