ERIC Identifier: ED432940
Publication Date: 1999-00-00
Author: Kellogg, Karen
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Higher Education Washington DC.| George Washington Univ. Washington
DC. Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
Collaboration: Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Working
Together To Promote Student Learning. ERIC Digest.
In the colonial colleges, the faculty was responsible for the intellectual,
social, and spiritual development of students. As faculty found less time to
focus on the social and personal development of their students, student affairs
professionals emerged to fulfill that need. Increasingly throughout the history
of American higher education, the gap between the roles of faculty and student
affairs professionals has widened (Bloland et al, 1994, 1996). The incorrect
perceptions and lack of knowledge about each other's jobs, the alienating and
confusing jargon, the increased specialization and the financial competition
between these two groups has led to misunderstandings between faculty and
student affairs professionals (Knefelkamp, 1991; Kuh et al, 1994; Love &
Love, 1995). The need for integration of these roles, and an attempt to change
the culture of learning from separatist to seamless, has been a recent focus of
higher education administrators.
THE NEED FOR COLLABORATION
In the 1980s, higher education
researchers began focusing on the necessity for increased collaboration between
student affairs and academic affairs. Although the traditional literature about
student affairs assigns student affairs professionals the responsibility of
students' social and emotional development and faculty responsibility for the
intellectual development of students, it has become apparent in recent years
that the academic side and student affairs side of campus must work together
(Bloland et al, 1996; Kuh et al, 1994; Kuh, 1996).
The entire academic community must work together to place more of an emphasis
on student learning and to create a seamless learning environment between in-
and out-of-class experiences for students. In a seamless learning environment,
students will have opportunities for learning both in the classroom and
out-of-the classroom through co-curricular activities. Students will work with
and get to know faculty and staff while taking courses and participating in
non-classroom learning activities. All of these learning experiences will
contribute to personal growth and development in students. In order for seamless
learning to become a reality, increased collaboration and cooperation between
faculty and staff must exist so that the communication and organization of
learning activities is enhanced (ACPA, 1994; Bloland et al, 1996; Hyman, 1995;
Kuh et al, 1994; Kuh, 1996).
"According to the Student Learning Imperative (ACPA, 1994), ... "students
benefit from many and varied experiences during college and learning and
personal development are cumulative, mutually shaping processes that occur over
an extended period of time in many different settings. The more students are
involved in a variety of activities inside and outside the classroom, the more
they gain. Student affairs professionals attempt to make 'seamless' what are
often perceived by students to be disjointed, unconnected experiences by
bridging organizational boundaries and forging collaborative partnerships with
faculty and others to enhance student learning."
Student affairs associations and researchers have written extensively about
the need for collaboration. The National Association of Student Personnel
Administrators (NASPA) (1997) has published as two of their seven Principles of
Good Practice for Student Affairs that administrators should "engage students in
active learning" and "forge educational partnerships that advance student
learning." Likewise, the American College Personnel Association (1999) has
listed as two of their eight trends for the next century, "Learning and Teaching
in the 21st Century" and "Collaboration and Partnerships." In a combined effort,
the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), ACPA and NASPA (1998) have
published the report, "Powerful Partnerships: A Shared Responsibility for
Learning." This report contains ten principles about learning and collaboration
and provides examples of institutions that have found success through
Higher education administrators hope that this increased collaboration will
better fulfill the institution's mission, improve retention, and improve the
total college experience for students (ACPA, 1994; Hyman, 1995; Kuh, 1996).
Student affairs researchers and
administrators have urged student affairs professionals to focus on enhancing
student learning within the entire university community a return to the original
mission of higher education. The Student Learning Imperative (SLI) (ACPA, 1994)
discusses several assumptions and characteristics that student affairs
professionals should keep in mind as they create educational activities that
foster student learning. Many of the tenets of the SLI focus on the necessity
for faculty to collaborate with student affairs professionals to make student
learning a campus-wide priority.
George Kuh (1996) used the tenets in the SLI to develop six principles to
guide institutions to integrate the curriculum and extra-curriculum: generate
enthusiasm for institutional renewal; create a common vision of learning;
develop a common language; foster collaboration and cross-functional dialogue;
examine the influence of student cultures on student learning; and focus on
systematic change. The common element in each of the six principles is
campus-wide collaboration. This collaboration is crucial to creating common
goals with which to provide a seamless learning environment for students.
MAKING COLLABORATION A REALITY
Once an institutional
decision has been made to foster collaboration between faculty and student
affairs staff members, a joint goal setting and planning meeting can take place
(Eickmann, 1989). As working relationships develop, staff and faculty can begin
to bridge the gap and create purposeful activities for students (ACPA, 1994).
Several institutions have been successful within their collaborative efforts.
Some programs and activities that have resulted from collaboration include:
*University 101 -- this introduction to college courses can be team-taught by
faculty and staff (King, 1993). *First Year Experience/Freshman Interest
Groups/Faculty Fellows faculty and staff are assigned to specific residence
halls where they participate in activities, presentations and discussions about
campus-wide events and issues (Hyman, 1995; Phelps, 1993; Schroeder & Hurst,
1996). *New Student Orientation -- faculty and student affairs staff can play a
major role in orienting students to campus (King, 1993; McAuliffe, et al, 1989).
*Outcomes Assessment -- faculty and student affairs staff each use their
expertise to design and implement an assessment plan to measure satisfaction,
attitudes, and other items (Banta & Kuh, 1998). *Service Learning -- by
adding a service learning component to classes, faculty and student affairs
staff can assist students in learning (Knefelkamp, 1991). *Annual Week/Month
Events -- typically, student affairs staff work with students in planning
diversity, women's, health and other annual programs. Faculty can add a new
perspective if they are included on these planning teams (McAuliffe et al,
OUTCOMES OF COLLABORATION
Comprehensive research has not
yet been conducted to ascertain the outcomes of the focus on student learning
and the increased collaboration taking place on campuses all over the country.
However, there are many desired outcomes, some of which include improved
cognitive, interpersonal and organization skills; self-discipline,
self-understanding, and responsibility for self and community; increased
leadership and citizenship; academic success; and retention (Bloland et al,
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