A Seat At The Table: The Unspoken Values And Benefits Of Student And Academic Affairs Collaboration And Partnerships In Higher Education
After almost two semesters as a graduate student at the University of Vermont, I decided that I wanted to do more in my second year of graduate school. It was through conversations with my colleagues that I determined that stepping out of my comfort zone of student affairs and looking into academic affairs would help develop me as not only a student affairs professional but as an educator as well. During the fall semester of 2016, I participated in an independent study where I served as a Teaching Assistant for a university diversity requirement course titled “The Political Economy of Race”. For this course I worked directly with a faculty member in the Department of Economics to cultivate a holistic classroom experience for the students in the course.
Throughout the course of the semester, I was able to witness many different dynamics that were helpful to not only the students but to the professionals in the room as well. Upon completing the semester, I determined that I wanted to do more research and explore the benefits of collaborative partnerships between faculty and staff on college campuses; my focus for this research was to be around partnerships between professionals in student affairs and academic affairs. Although there has not been a lot of research around this particular topic in Higher Education, it is beginning to be studied as colleges and universities are expected to produce more valuable experiences for students.
Through both research and experiential learning, I have found that there are benefits to collaborative partnerships between academic and student affairs in Higher Education as well as drawbacks to these partnerships. I have also made recommendations for future collaborative projects between faculty and staff as well as recommendations for future research in this area. Overall, there is value in the collaboration of student and academic affairs; however, it is the duty of Higher Education professionals to understand that value and work more collaboratively to ensure that students are served holistically.