JSAI Volume 2

Volume 2

Editor: Daniel W. Newhart  |  Year: 2016  |  Issues: 1

The scholarship of student affairs assessment reconsidered


Gavin W. Henning

In this article, Gavin Henning explores what a scholarship of student affairs assessment could look like - and how a scholarship base would assist in speaking about our unique contribution to higher education. This article offers an account of the development of our field, a history of scholarship within student affairs assessment, and will form a narrative about what scholarship in our growing area could look like moving forward.

How prepared are students for global citizenship? A qualitative, holistic approach to assessing intercultural competence

Kari B. Taylor

Due to trends in internationalization, today’s higher education institutions are increasingly establishing intercultural competence as a key learning outcome for college graduates; yet, assessment of students’ capacities for intercultural competence at an institutional level remains relatively rare. This conceptual article draws upon the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education to show the value of qualitatively and holistically assessing how students develop intercultural competence throughout their college experiences. Through a detailed example of using a qualitative, holistic approach to assessing intercultural competence, this article offers a concrete way to better understand how prepared students are to meet the demands of global citizenship.

Student affairs, persistence, and the growing need for inquiry

Maureen F. Cochran

Evidence for how Student Affairs contributes to efforts to increased college persistence and degree attainment is abundant and compelling. Still, Student Affairs is not often central in discussions about how to move the persistence dial forward. It is critical for student affairs professionals to engage in inquiry, not only to equitably improve service to students but also to better communicate the impact of the work. This paper provides an overview of the Student Affairs impacts on college student persistence through engagement in high-impact and evidenced practices, calling for increased engagement in inquiry in the interest of better situating higher education to meet student needs.

Phenomenography: A methodological approach for assessing student learning in student affairs

Melissa Rands and Ann Gansemer-Topf

In this paper, Melissa Rands and Ann Gansemer-Topf introduce the reader to a methodological approach, phenomenography, which can be used to document learning in student affairs. Phenomenography explores the variation in how different people conceive of learning experiences. By exploring this variation, student affairs professionals can design assessments that identify learners whose conceptions are more or less comprehensive, to ultimately evaluate a program’s or intervention’s effectiveness and tailor programs to address students’ learning needs. This brief introduction explores the approach’s origins in educational psychology as well as the conceptual foundations of phenomenography as applicable to other disciplines such as student affairs. A detailed description of the rigor of phenomenographic methods, including data collection and analysis, will be discussed. Examples of how phenomenographic research could be utilized in assessment in student affairs illustrate the methodological aspects of the approach and its application. The authors argue a phenomenological approach adds to outcomes-based assessment work by suggesting that meaningful student learning assessments must capture student thinking as well as performance.

The relationship of motivation and presence of stress and anxiety in emerging adults’ career and romantic exploration

Kyra Speegle, Rosemary V. Barnett, Larry Forthun, and Jeanna Mastrodicasa

The domains of love, work, and psychological well-being are of chief concern during emerging adulthood. These interrelated domains were examined through quantitative survey-based measurement that assessed undergraduate students’ motivation, anxiety, stress, career exploration, and romantic exploration choices. Quantitative analyses were conducted to test for correlations and potential moderating and mediating factors. Ultimately, relationships between these variables were clarified. Results indicate variables such as ruminative exploration in romance may relate to stress (r=.180, p=.05). This and other results are discussed with a specific focus on areas for further research and opportunities for collaboration between campus services in university settings. Implications in this area can inform higher education policy and programs as the need for student supports in these domains continue.

Call for contributions for the third edition of the Journal of Student Affairs Inquiry

Student Affairs Assessment Leaders