S&CIHE KC Announces New Sub-Community

Clare Cady - KC Chair

September 11, 2014

Announcement of NASPA S&CIHE Knowledge Community Sub-Community on Students Who Experienced Foster Care or Homelessness

Summer 2014: The NASPA Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Education (S&CIHE) Knowledge Community is pleased to announce the launch of a new sub-community - Students Who Experienced Foster Care or Homelessness Youth. Spurred on by a gathering of over 60 NASPA members at the 2014 NASPA conference in Baltimore, NASPA members John Emerson with Casey Family Programs and Maddy Day with the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University worked with S&CIHE Chair Clare Cady to identify how this new interest group could find a home within an existing Knowledge Community. Increasing awareness of the support needs of students from foster care and homeless youth is a natural fit within S&CIHE as these students are independent at an early age and face many barriers to successfully navigate higher education successfully.  This new sub-community closely aligns with the mission of S&CIHE and allows for a diverse group of student affairs professionals to bring their much needed expertise to this topic. As KC Chair Cady states, “one of the goals of the S&CIHE KC is to ‘raise awareness of the myriad ways class and socioeconomic status (SES) affect students, staff, faculty, and administration in Higher Education.’ Inclusion of this sub-community is an excellent step towards achieving our goal.”

NASPA has recognized the need for increased membership awareness of the support needs of students from foster care and homeless youth. Two feature articles have appeared in NASPA’s Leadership Exchange that describe best practices, exemplary college support approaches and  policy advances that focus on improving higher education success for these students.

For the past several years, several well attended NASPA conference sessions have addressed how student affairs officers and staff can play an important role in recognizing the unique support needs of these underrepresented students. The new Students Who Experienced Foster Care or Homelessness Youth sub-community members look forward to providing NASPA members with guidance, resources and tools to improve college outcomes for these students. A continually updated resource listing is available to NASPA members.

The new sub-community will begin meeting in this fall to discuss their mission and goals which will include sharing resources and best practices from programs already dedicated to supporting students who have experienced foster care or homelessness. Day elaborates, “Across the country there are over 90 campus-based support models that focus on students from foster care at four and two year colleges. Many of us connect via statewide networks, but this sub-community allows us to share learning on a larger scale.” The need for all college student affairs professionals to address the support needs of students from foster care and those that are homeless is acknowledged by Dr. Robert Palmer at California State University Fullerton, “In order to be successful, these students require services that must be a high priority for student affairs officers and consequently, the university. We have a broad base of university support for our Guardian Scholars Program”.

Emerson and Day have already begun planning a kick-off gathering for sub-community and S&CIHE members at the 2015 NASPA Conference in New Orleans.If you would like to participate or learn more about this new sub-community, please join the KC at www.NASPA.org and contact John Emerson at [email protected] or Maddy Day at [email protected].

See you next year in New Orleans!

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