The Vermont Connection


Student services professionals are employed across the United States as a key resource to support undergraduate students as they enter higher education. However, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) face unique challenges which not all student services methods are prepared to address. For student services professionals to effectively promote the wellbeing and academic achievement of BIPOC students requires that they receive additional resources and training to avoid deficit thinking and be equipped to assist BIPOC students in their specific contexts. As student services professionals and departments learn to resist deficit thinking, they can intentionally design policy and practice to center the experience of BIPOC students and encourage students' existing skills and resources. Student services structures must connect students with a variety of supports, including community centers, faculty, advisors, tutors and peers. These efforts should be unified by institutional leadership, to ensure sufficient resources for students and adequate training for staff.