The Vermont Connection


Student crises are a common issue within higher education. When a student comes to a college campus, it is the duty and responsibility of student affairs professionals to empower them and contribute to their holistic success. Unfortunately, some students fall through the cracks and the result can conclude with a student transferring to another institution, failing their classes, dropping out of college, or in a worst-case scenario, death. Working in higher education requires hard work and heart work. There is an emotional investment in the work that is produced by scholar-practitioners. When unfortunate situations occur that result in a student’s death, it is normal to feel and express emotion. Yet, there is a narrative that indicates showing emotion in the workplace is unprofessional. A common process that individuals go through when death happens are the five stages of grief. Grief involves a mixture of emotions that contribute to the experience of sentience among student affairs professionals. If student affairs scholar-practitioners are not given the opportunity to experience sentience, then the field is at risk of losing valuable talent that centers student development.