Student Affairs

Navigating NASPA: An “Insider’s Guide” to the Association


  • Sherry Mallory, Dean of Student Affairs, Revelle College, UCSD
  • Daniel Anzueto, Asst. Dir. Member Engagement/Regional Initiatives – NASPA
  • Grace Bagunu, Graduate Teaching Assistant – University of San Diego
  • Danielle Kleist, Director of Student Life & Services, Washington State University – Tri-Cities
  • Judy Albin, Senior Associate Director of Union and Student Activities – Pennsylvania State Univesity – Main Campus

Some of the things we’ll talk about:

  • NASPA Structure & Knowledge Communities
  • How to volunteer & get involved


  • NASPA = National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • Founded in 1919
  • 15,000 members
  • Volunteer leaders
  • 33 knowledge communities
  • Professional development
  • Publications
  • Research & policy

Leadership & KCs

  • Directors serve multi-year terms
  • Multiple regions
  • Many advisory boards
  • KCs are the gateway to the profession; each has a chair and co-chair elected by KC members for a 2-year term; each has a regional KC Coordinator and representatives for each KC; appointed by the Regional Director; National Director of KCs is appointed by the Chair of the Board of Directors, to represent all KCs on the NASPA Board of Directors
  • KCs are where it’s happening! So much to learn in these groups…get involved and “find your home.”

Volunteering & GAs

  • Loads of opportunities: NASPA is it’s members
  • Registration is a big part of running our events, this is an easy way to help out and meet people
  • Help out a KC member
  • Serve as a conference program reviewer
  • Present at a NASPA conference
  • Serve on an editorial board
  • Visit the engagement portal & “Volunteer Central” on the NASPA web site
  • Attend your regional business meeting
  • Attend a KC business meeting
  • Attend the NASPA Communities Fair
  • Follow NASPA’s SoMe (there’s a ton of ’em)

Next Steps

  • Attend your Regional Business Meeting
  • Attend a KC Business Meeting
  • Attend the NASPA Communities Fair
  • Introduce yourself!!
  • Go to the socials
Student Affairs Technology

Applying the Technology Competency on Your Campus



  • There’s a Google Drive link coming that contains all the information
  • #ApplyTechComp

Pretty good turnout for this session, considering it’s at 8:30 and down in the convention center’s basement ūüôā Got an opportunity to finally meet Lisa Endersby in person and catch up with some #SATech friends. Let’s see what Jeremiah has in store for us…

Lisa introduced Jeremiah and made a few shameless plugs for other sessions at the conference.



  • Competency Background
  • Michigan Tech Background
  • Our Process
  • You and Your Campus

Competency Background

  • Provides a game plan and establishes what we should be doing
  • Tech was incorporated into many different areas in bits and pieces, and talk about a standalone technology competency began in earnest in 2010
  • Special thanks to: Matthew Brinton, Joe Sabado, Josie Ahlquist, Lisa Endersby
  • Established rubric in October 2016! This is a tool that will help members of the student affairs profession to utilize and engage with the competency areas on their campuses.

Michigan Tech Background

  • 7,000 students, founded 1885
  • Our Student Affairs division contains advancement, which is a bit unique.
  • January 2012: a charge from Dr. Les Cook to form a committee to address the 2035 vision of “High Tech, High Touch.” Central idea behind the group to consider how we embrace and push the technology agenda.
  • Technology Advance Committee: multi-member group from all areas of SA and Advancement; research & present seminars/trends and work with professional development committee and leadership team to provide recommendations.
  • Challenge: small surveys work great, redundancy of seminars, needed a plan

Our Process

  • Large doc; how to apply, how to inform, how to standardize?
  • Break down the competency
  • Assess the areas: technical hardware/software; professional dev (networking); technology like SoMe and collaboration tools.
  • We let our IT division know we were planning to do this assessment. Bring them into the conversation!
  • Use your professional networks!
  • Every department has its own SoMe accounts; we needed to figure out what was going on and who was in charge of things. Transition was a concern .
  • How to evaluate? Create a baseline evaluation and rubric survey for all staff members. NASPA HAS DONE THIS FOR YOU!
  • Our survey: questions a user can self-rate; comfort levels; open questions; 50 questions in total including department identification.
  • Our VP helped to hype the survey, including how we planned to use the information to inform increased resources/training.
  • CampusLabs is the backbone of our survey.
  • 39.75% response rate; largely mid-ranged responses; additional areas of professional development needed
  • Wanted to figure out where our people were uncomfortable. It turned out that a lot of our people didn’t know where to turn for help.
  • You can use our assessment for your own campuses, and we encourage you to use it!
  • Next Steps: present findings to SA and Advancement directors; meet with professional dev committee for recommendations; assist in professional development; reassess one year from initial survey.
  • We’re right in the middle of this process…we hope to¬†see improvement next year!

You & Your Campus

  • This is very accessible, and the model we think is useful for any size campus
  • Join TKC
  • Self-assessment:Figuring out what you’re comfortable with is important
  • Training resources: YouTube, knowledge base, ticket database
  • Reach out and ask! People out there have had the exact same problem as you in the past.
  • What to do at the campus level? ¬†Join the TKC; create a committee (does not have to meet on a regular basis), talk to others; use the rubric/create an assessment; training resources; reach out and ask.
  • To get people to complete your assessment, tell them¬†what you’re doing and what they’re going to get out of it.
  • The main thing is to TRY SOMETHING! Now is the time to jump on this!


  • How were the survey results shared with your IT division? How were¬†they¬†received, and did¬†it result in changes in service/collaboration between divisions? Our IT department gets 250 tickets a day, they’ve been able to use our assessment to help streamline some processes and develop some training materials to help improve services.
  • Did you have others in your division who were interested in participating in the competency area? Yes, but we were able to use this assessment and model as a starting point.
Student Affairs

A Social-Psychological Perspective on College Persistence

Presenter: David S. Yeager, UT Austin Department of Psychology

  • Research Affiliate, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS)
  • Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Co-Chair, Mindset Scholars Network
  • Co-PI, College Transition Collaborative (CTC)

Information on the Terry Piper lecture series

Opening Remarks by William Watkins, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at CSUN

  • This is the sixth annual Terry Piper lecture!
  • Deepen understanding of factors that lead to student success
  • Terry Piper served as VP from 2001 until he passed in 2010
  • Terry was on a mission to put students at the center of what we do every day. He was an intentional and collaborative leader, a trendsetter and someone who wanted to make CSUN an exemplar in becoming a learning-centered campus. Dr. Piper was at the center of all the conversations around this movement.
  • Student success is not just the work of faculty members in the classroom, but all of us who work on this campus.
  • Our CSU system has focused on student success this year, in particular, through Graduation Initiative 2025 to help more students graduate – “make it to the finish line.”
  • We need to look beyond barriers students may experience

Remarks from Provost Yi Li

  • I appreciate how many people are in attendance today! This is important because it takes our entire community to support our students.
  • I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Yeager speak last year, along with several of my colleagues, and I was extremely impressed with his research in advancing our knowledge of student mindset, their ability to be aware of their place in the campus ecosystem, and their value, self-worth and potential for growth.
  • Dr. Yeager’s message is not just theory…it includes practical advice on how to address students who are having challenges. In general , we are not encouraging when having difficult conversations. We tend to use punitive language that frequently leads students to give up…the exact opposite of what we want students to take away.
  • CSUN’s initial work using Dr. Yeager’s recommendations is very promising!

Dr. Yeager’s Presentation

  • More than 1/2 of your students are first-time college attendees…your institution is a gateway to the American dream for so many people.
  • Your campus is doing great work with developmental math, and you have a willingness to learn and improve, which is critical to making improvements.
  • I’m going to share some insights about our research…some levers you might try pulling in your own work. My hope is that this will help you transform and continue to improve an already great place.
  • Our findings came¬†through research and work over decades

“Solutionitis” – doing something – anything – to and for students

  • Mentoring, cohorts, accountability, choosing major, placement, career planning, video games, etc. These solutions may work for some students in certain situations, but are they coherent?
  • Most of these solutions did not “move the needle” in the desired direction, and in some cases falsely led to conclusions that students have a lack of ability and shouldn’t be in college to begin with.
  • Approach to doing things with more rigorous and faster: you need to keep standards high, but improve the supports for students
  • The questions students ask themselves when they encounter adversity can heavily influence their college success trajectory.

The College Transition

  • Self esteem typically drops during the first semester; it’s hard initially, but it improves over time.
  • When the student’s self esteem falls, we need to ask attribution questions: “Is this normal,” and “does it get better?”
  • These are the same kinds of questions our veterans ask themselves.

Belonging Uncertainty

  • The persistent worry that “people like me” don’t belong and cant succeed here.
  • It’s not just the questioning, but the questions themselves. Ambiguity can lead to answers that lead to concrete attributions, i.e. if you’re looking for certain answers, you’re gonna find them.
  • This is a recursive process that can gain momentum and ¬†spiral downward.
  • It’s typically cumulative, beginning with bureaucratic hassles. Dr. Yeager provided flowchart examples for math and engineering pathways, which was pretty funny ūüôā
  • Another bureaucratic hassle: web forms that delete your information! What does it MEAN that the form is frustrating. If you’re surrounded by advantages, than this frustration doesn’t portend anything significant…it’s just annoying. If you’re NOT in this position, the annoying form could be significant to you in other ways.
  • 1st generation students aren’t walking around asking whether they don’t belong, but when they encounter difficulty they may interpret it in a negative way.
  • What can you measure in high school that will impact retention? High belonging uncertainty is a big factor (particularly among 1st gen and minority students).
  • Belonging is something with traction that you can focus on
  • CSUN 2015 – 2016 survey: what is the best predictor of first-year, full-time enrollment for Fall & Spring?
    • Belonging
    • Extracurricular involvement

Pre-Matriculation Mindset Intervention

  • Difficulties are normal, and can get better with time if you take steps to become socially and academically integrated.
  • Growth mindset and social belonging
    • Give if/then behaviors to do
    • Give theory and meaning in advance, not proscriptive steps to follow
    • Make surveys as brief as we can
    • Read about the brain: struggle – “getting smarter,” not “dumb.” The brain is a muscle that needs exercise.
    • Read statistical results of a survey of upperclassmen
    • Read stories from diverse upperclassmen
    • Write your own story to comfort next year’s freshmen (“saying is believing”). This is an invitation to a community.
    • Freshman Orientation Website
    • On time degree completion in one of our studies: tripled and even quadrupled when the interventions mentioned above are done: 16% growth mindset only, 20% social belonging only, 20% mindset & social belonging.
    • UT Austin study showed a 20 %- 40% reduction in the achievement gap

Post-Matriculation Moments of Psychological Friction

  • How many events are students experiencing that threaten their success?
  • Common student frustration factors:
    • Faculty members’ beliefs that only students with exceptional brilliance can succeed: “If it’s not easy for you, you’re in the wrong major”
    • Losing interest in pre-req courses
    • Frustrating web sites and other bureaucratic hassles
    • Stigma of remediation and probation
  • What can be done to slow decline and psychological friction?
    • Mentor’s dilemma: how to simultaneously criticize and motivate. Many do this via the “shit sandwich,” i.e. provide a useless compliment, followed by the gut punch of criticism, followed by another useless compliment.
    • High standards & achievement that show you respect students. Example: a Post-it note given to students a couple weeks in advance of a writing project, “I give criticism because I have high standards, and I know you can meet them.” was quite effective.
  • Relevance matters: help students¬†see and construct the relevance of classroom activities.
    • Select a topic covered in class
    • Write a one paragraph essay that applies the topic to your life or to the life of someone you know (control: just summarize)
    • 3-5x per semester

Think about the “belonging uncertainty” pipeline and fix the leaks!


Student Affairs Technology Uncategorized


Hey y’all! Here’s my “MEGA POST” for my stint at the 2016 EDUCAUSE national conference in Anaheim from October 25 – 28.

Tuesday, October 25

Wednesday, October 26

Thursday, October 27

Friday, October 28

  • [ KEYNOTE ] Because I Said I Would
Student Affairs

Dr. Estela Bensimon – Making Race Talk Routine


Welcome message from Dr. William Watkins

  • This is the fifth annual Terry Piper lecture!
  • It’s our pleasure to host development and enrichment programs such as this, and it’s wonderful to see such a turnout.
  • Shout outs: ¬†Cheryl Spector, Shellie Hadvina, Ben Quillian, Frank Stranzl, Randy Reynaldo, Abraham (didn’t catch last name – sorry Abraham), Matt Perez, Meryl Simon, Shelley Ruelas-Bischoff, Michael Clemens
  • Purpose of this lecture series: ¬†gather faculty, staff, and administrators to acknowledge our work together and interconnected responsibilities for student learning and success.
  • Terry served as VP of Student Affairs at CSUN from 2001 – 2010.
  • Terry’s mission: ¬†to forge and amplify the work that we all do in support of student success: ¬†we ALL have a role in helping our students make it to the finish line.
  • Terry would want us to remember the amazing work of Dr. Jose Luis Vargas, who passed away late last month.

Forward by CSUN Provost Dr Yi Li

  • Though I did not know Terry, his legacy at CSUN is deep and it influences my work.
  • One outcome of Terry’s legacy are multiple collaborations between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs; this lecture series is just one example of that.
  • US Census Bureau: ¬†“majority minority” is a coming reality for the United States. ¬†By 2018, 45% of all jobs will require a higher education…so our work is incredibly important.
  • CSUN has already arrived at this point! ¬†It is important for us to lead the way for our sister campuses, and campuses across the nation.
  • Dr. Bensimon is a Distinguished Professor of Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education and Co-Director of the Center for Urban Education, which she founded in 1999.
  • Race, empathy and student success are the themes of Dr. Bensimon’s work. ¬†Recommendations based on¬†her work have been implemented at over 40 campuses across the country.
  • Dr. Bensimon spent a few moments thanking the folks who helped make this event happen.

It’s important for us to mobilize our power on behalf of others…we have so much more power than we realize: ¬†social networks, authority to make change in our institutions, and more.

Has much changed between 1964 and 2016? ¬†Sometimes it’s hard to see…

Why is Race Talk So Difficult?

  • We’re fearful we’ll say the wrong thing, we’re afraid of being called a racist.
  • Fear of conflict is an obstacle to discussing and addressing racial/ethnic inequity.
  • In higher education, we’re overly polite at times (collegiality)
  • Shared a comic to highlight disparities in the accumulation of generational differences
  • “The Diversity Agenda” makes it easier to NOT talk about race. ¬†The history of the word is tied to the 2003 Supreme Court decision about the University of Michigan (could race be used as one of the admissions criteria? ¬†Answer: ¬†yes).
  • Diversity Misunderstood and Misused: ¬†Chief Justice Roberts asks: ¬†“Why does diversity matter in a physics class?”

Details of Racial Inequality

  • Wealth gap is real.
  • Mortgages are the primary means of wealth for the middle class; mortgages are denied to black and latino families than whites.
  • Black and latino students are more likely to attend poorly funded school. ¬†On average, these students are shorted $733
  • Affluent schools have AP courses, which helps students with access to advance more quickly.
  • Grad rates at CSUN: ¬†4 year 14%, 6 year 48%, 8 year 55%
  • Aggregate data doesn’t tell the whole story! (Will need to see if the slides will be made available…I’ll post if I find it).
  • Detailed slide of CSUN’s Student and Faculty Representation by Race/Ethnicity, Fall 2014. ¬†Big takeaway: ¬†white students are the minority (26%), and white faculty are by far the majority (65%). ¬†However, this “is fairly typical and not something for us to feel too bad about.”

Language Used To Talk About Race

  • Avoid ambiguous term like At Risk, Non-Traditional, Minority, URM (Under Represented Minority)
  • The CSU does this a lot and I really think it shouldn’t. ¬†People don’t identify themselves like this, neither should we. ¬†I to personally agree with this in a big way
  • Caucasian, European, American; why are these terms not ok? ¬† A German Anatomist (Johann Friedrich Blumenbach) who was into racial classification identified these “races” as a measure of Christian perfection.

The Meaning of Equity

  • Diversity != Equity
  • The antidote to diversity, rooted in civil rights principles.
  • Redistribution of resources to provide for those with the greatest need
  • Financial aid is a form of equity.
  • Racism is created by structural inequality.

Structural Racism

  • Important to recognize and name it
  • Institutions are molded to certain values and certain people. ¬†They have historicity associated with them.
  • “Neutral” often masks structural racism
  • We need to be equity-minded to help be more systemically aware; need to focus and put the emphasis on the institution.
  • Understand inequity as a dysfunction of structures, policy, and practices
  • Question assumptions and take action to eliminate

Example:  Euniversity of Wisconsin Eau Claire

  • Honors program was 100% white
  • Criteria: ¬†ACT test scores
  • NOW: ¬†they use multiple entrance criteria

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine

  • Faculty experience the institution differently
  • A series of slides highlighted the differences between perceptions of campus racial climate, depending on your own race
  • We typically think that “Student Commitment + Student Effort = Student Success”
  • Cultural practices may not exist in some schools and households
  • Inequitable outcomes != emerge from deficits in: ¬†motivation, direction , engagement, effort, discipline, study skills, time, commitment. ¬†NEED TO REFRAME THIS
  • We need to focus on what we can control within the institution. ¬†Require new: ¬†institutional structures, cultures, practices, routines
  • We need to look to the data to notice racial inequities. ¬†Go course by course, section by section! ¬†This is hard work, and sometimes there is fear by faculty that it may unearth uncomfortable facts.
  • Essential Equity Practice: ¬†Disaggregate > Report > Set Goals.
  • Report the state of equity by department. ¬†The numbers that result are manageable!

Can You Make Race Talk a Routine?

  • Yes / No?
  • What will it require?
  • Who will lead it?
  • What stands in the way?

Reactions / Q&A

  • Catherine Stevenson (director of dev math at CSUN): ¬†parallels between developmental education for students and for faculty are profound. ¬†Students can succeed if you can show them what they need to do and then provide “do-able actions.” ¬†How do you help institutions find those practical steps. ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†we use data to inform actions; we train faculty on the protocols to use to help implement those changes. ¬†Example: ¬†work-study students may not have been trained to understand and identify student help-seeking as a cultural practice (some cultures do no encourage reaching out for help and view it as a personal failure). ¬†Another example: ¬†syllabi can be modified to help facilitate learning. ¬†This has been a powerful tool for faculty in reviewing and re-stating pedagogical philosophy.
  • Nicole Olson (graduate student): ¬†I think we can make race talk a routine, but it will require awareness of biases. ¬†Senior administration, departments, faculty and student working groups can help to address this. ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†can you give an example when race was NOT discussed?
  • Catherine, Financial Aid: ¬†I think it can be done, I see it in my own department. ¬†You have to have the courage to talk about it! ¬†My director has done this without fear – we talked about the Mizzou situation, and was a safe space for us all to talk about things.
  • Dr. William Watkins: ¬†have we ever actually talked about race directly on this campus? ¬†Yes, particularly during CA proposition 209. ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†sometimes laws are made to be broken ūüôā
  • Admissions & Records: ¬†we recently went into full impaction, and race often hasn’t come into play in the discussions we’ve had in A&R (personal note: ¬†this has been discussed extensively¬†among Student Affairs leadership…what this tells me is that we need to do more active outreach on our own campus!). ¬†Dr. Watkins: ¬†we’ve been so focused on the public, we haven’t provided enough education internally. ¬†We’re going to change that right away via internal focus groups.
  • SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) is often a barrier. ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†we have a tool that analyzes the language used on university web sites…and number of clicks it takes to get to certain info.
  • Becky from Library: ¬†if white is preferable to “European,” does this apply to Middle Eastern students? ¬†How does that break down and is it useful when speaking about race? ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†we don’t address that issue specifically, but we’re clear about the basis of research, which is that equity and status in this country have a basis¬†in slavery, racism and economic barriers. ¬†I don’t actually know how Middle Eastern students identify themselves.
  • Vanessa Bustamante: ¬†goals are important! ¬†My studies on gap analysis re: faculty hiring were not easy in Academic Affairs. ¬†When I moved to Student Affairs, my studies opened up dramatically. ¬†Dr. Bensimon: ¬†we’re doing work with CLU ¬†right now. ¬†Another audience member – didn’t catch her name: We cannot have real clear goals on hiring due to proposition 209.
%d bloggers like this: