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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

News

Students learn to manage their own affairs


Students engaged in their community now look for a way to entice other students to do the same.

Friday, students exchanged advice and information with faculty and staff members at the Student Affairs 101 Conference. The conference was intended to give undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate students the opportunity to learn about professional careers in student affairs from UH faculty and staff members.

“At the end of the day what we wanted to do was make sure that individuals were knowledgeable of the profession of student affairs but also understood the academic side of student affairs,” said Daniel Maxwell, associate vice chancellor and vice president of student affairs.

“There’s truly a theory behind the work that we do when working with students.”

The Division of Student Affairs and the Higher Education and Cultural Studies Program worked to put together the conference, which featured three breakout sessions.

“The first one was with practitioners, people who work full time at the University, who work with students, just talking about the profession of student affairs, the kind of work that they do with students on a regular basis, whether it’s discipline, residence life, or student activities,” Maxwell said.

The second session featured a case study exercise facilitated by faculty members Catherine Horn and Lyle McKinney, associate professors of Higher Education and Cultural Studies. During the session, students were asked to complete an exercise simulating a typical situation in a student union where there were questions about freedom of speech and access to space, and competing thoughts, Maxwell said.

“They talked through all that and then the faculty talked a little bit about the theory that goes behind why people may react the way they react. And so, as professionals being knowledgeable of that theory, we then know how to guide and advise students going through different situations.”

Students also got to participate in a networking portion with fellow students, faculty and staff members in attendance.

“The networking part of it — getting to know different people who are working in student affairs — was a good thing to do,” said first year graduate student Celena Flores.

“I think just knowing that there is such a thing — there is such a job and you’re not the only one that has aspirations to do this job. I think all of that was good to see, and it was good to meet other people that are involved in it.”

In the last session during the conference, students enrolled in the Higher Education Masters Program spoke about what being in the program, its courses and what it takes to be academically successful.

“The masters program itself has been a great experience, I think, for everyone who was on the student panel today,” said Franco Martinez, second year graduate student and student panelist.

“Most of us have very diverse positions on campus: We work in student affairs or academic affairs, admissions, financial aid, administrative positions like budgeting or auxiliary services. So the program does a good job exposing you to those diverse perspectives, and it really just makes you a better facilitator or administrator.”

To find out more about the Division of Student Affairs, visit www.uh.edu/dsa.

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